At Wednesday’s (16th May) Ecommerce Future Conference, as part of the “question time” panel, Zia Zareem-Slade, Head of Online at Selfridges, spoke about multichannel commerce – and it’s not a new problem.
Having entered the ecommerce industry around 13 years ago, Zia spoke about mail order catalogue retailers and the issues they had maintaining their core catalogue channel whilst moving online. She said that whilst multichannel seems to be a modern phenomenon, it’s been around for a lot longer than we think.
So we thought we’d take some time to look at what multichannel really means today.
Channels for use
Here’s a short list of the most common channels used by retailers today.
- Online store
- Marketplaces – eBay, Amazon, Tesco
There are only two channels in this list – marketplaces and concessions – which remove the ability for the retailer to collect and use behavioural and CRM data.
The benefits from joining up data from all other areas of your enterprise not only allow you to gain a “single view of the customer”, but generates behavioural data for use in analysis and prediction. For example, knowing that store shoppers buy smaller size clothes than those online means buyers can better predict and place stock levels; trends can be captured and analysed quicker, and so on.
The issue with multichannel
As well as having a single view of the customer, many retailers are striving to have a single view of stock. With the growth of “click and collect” and services like Shutl (where instore stock is used to deliver purchases within an hour of ordering), being able to pinpoint exact locations of stock will really enable the next generation of multichannel commerce.
However, this is difficult to create and maintain. The ever-changing stock levels of a retail store (plus added issues like theft, returns and exchanges) and varying levels of demand call for a completely integrated, predictive stocklevel syetem.
But with a centralised stock system and thought-through multiple channel connectivity, it’s possible to achieve a “single view of the customer”, plus suggest the most relevant items to individuals at the right time. With the fast-growing adoption of instore iPads, a resurgence of kiosks and focus on improving the instore experience with sales assistant attention the possibilities for not only understanding a customer’s behaviour but sharing it amongst all channels become limitless.
We can help
We’re experts in multichannel personalisation and decisioning – if you’re interested in bringing together your multichannel customer behaviour – contact us.