Omni-channel is one of the most significant trends in the ever-evolving retail industry. In a nutshell, omni-channel involves integrating all physical channels (i.e. offline brick and mortar retail store experiences) and digital channels (i.e. online and mobile app store experiences) into a seamless, unified, and highly personalized customer experience.
Data is the key to achieving these lofty omni-channel goals, from fueling increased personalization to enabling a unified view of the customer journey. As the industry continues to move from pure-plays to merged physical and digital players, the importance of data will only grow.
To become functional omni-channel retailers, sellers must unify their on and offline data collection and reports to move beyond siloed sales. Retailers must move towards reporting holistic customer behaviour captured through all channels. How can they achieve this?
In some cases, dedicated omni-channel retail technology will help, enabling a single view of sales, inventory and customer behavior across channels. In other cases, the overall technology strategy should integrate a more agile data preparation and analytics solution.
Omni-Channel Case Study
In a recent project with an existing national specialty goods retailer, we were able to significantly reduce the manual effort and time spent on data collection/preparation by merging the data from all physical retail outlets with the online retail store. For the first time, this organization had a single unified vision of all sales, inventory, and traffic that updates automatically.
But omni-channel is not the entire picture. Retailers maintain other operational data silos that must also be fused together to enable the organization’s reporting and analytics journey evolution. In short, retailers need to think omni-source to leverage all available data.
For instance, in a recent assignment with an existing pharmacy retailer, we were tasked with enhancing operational reporting and decision-making by supplementing existing financial information from Dynamics ERP with large data sets from Kroll.
The project’s goals were to improve reporting by facilitating automatic refreshing of the required key performance indicators and to drill down to transactional level information. In addition to achieving these goals, reports that previously took several days to generate are now instantly available. Sales, inventory data, and financial information can now be analyzed in detail.
In summary, the prescription for retailers is enabling a unified view of data from all channels. Have you filled your prescription?
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