Digital omnichannel ecommerce must still embrace the role of the traditional brick and mortar ‘store’ or shop as we have always known it.
This core truth was the underpinning rationale for one of NetSuite SuiteWorld 2016’s closing last day sessions Brick and Mortar is Back: Bringing Retail Stores Back into the Fold, delivered by Matthew Rhodus, Director & Industry Solutions Principal for Retail Vertical at NetSuite.
Brick is Back, in Omnichannel
The central proposition warned that if firms aren’t focusing on how to make their retail stores part of the total digital customer journey, then customers will move on.
Rhodus explained that stores are not just showrooms. Having a brick and mortar store actually does improve online sales. They form a crucial part of the upsell engine, which all traders will want to embrace to maximize profits.
A store is not just a store
Today, we must realize that brick and mortar physical stores are purchase points, but they are also to be thought of as ‘instantaneous pickup places’, shipping centers, help desks and return locations, Rhodus said.
Accenture specified in a recent study that 78 percent of shoppers want access to reviews while in store. Further, a total of 49 percent of retailers accept returns of online orders in store. Deeper analysis also found that 29 percent of shoppers want the ability to order out of stock products more easily.
These stats all point to customer happiness and freedom. Once again, Rhodus said, we need to realize that satisfaction and freedom engender customer satisfaction -- and this is key point for the upsell engine to begin.
The disconnect today
The problem in making this all happen is the technology divide and disconnect that pervades. Only 1 percent of the retail industry offers their sales representatives tablets in the store to access customer history or inventory. This represents a ‘stalled’ upsell engine more than anything else, Rhodus suggested.
NetSuite SuiteCommerce InStore aims to address these challenges in stores that do choose to invest and empower their representatives with devices. The technology itself provides retailers with a solution that unifies physical and digital shopping experiences within a single, cloud-based commerce platform.
Retailers can use SuiteCommerce as the backend platform that facilitates different operations at the front end. The technology can be used to customize the front end User Interface (UI) to be tuned to different business models for a firm with a footprint in different world markets.
“It has a very ‘Google-like’ search function experience which can be used for product search, customer record search and other related searches,” explained Rhodus.
User records can detail when a customer first became a customer and what their loyalty status is based upon their purchase behavior. Sales associates will want to be able to process information about individual shoppers ‘live’ i.e. at the actual point of sale in order to be able to serve the customer will all the relevant offers and promotions that are relevant to them.
The art & the science
“The upsell engine can then kick into gear – and we can then see that both the art and the science of the upsell being played out in full,” said Rhodus.
Armed with this data retailers can start to take advantage of NetSuite’s own reviews engine to build a more complete unified single view of not only individual customers, but also the entire customer base.