Radial enjoyed a successful 2020 NRF panel discussion moderated by Satish Jindel, President of ShipMatrix. Our panel members were Robert Brous, Vice President of eCommerce and Digital at rue21, Bill Woodall, Director of Retail Performance at Hibbett Sports, and Brianne Murphy, Director of Fulfillment at DSW. They generously shared the highlights and challenges of their omnichannel journeys including where they see the future of omnichannel.
While there was a lot to take in, we’ve narrowed down 5 key takeaways:
1. Organizational buy-in and communication structure are paramount to successful omnichannel integration.
When all departments are on board and understand the function of omnichannel technology within their business model, everyone can work together for faster and more efficient integration. Constructing the right communication strategy for each department that assigns responsibilities provides clarity and helps uncover customizations specific to each retailer.
2. Harness business intelligence to drive efficiencies.
One of the challenges retailers are still struggling with is the accuracy of algorithms when it comes to having the correct number of products in-store versus distribution and fulfillment centers. By using business intelligence and machine learning, inventory and the visibility of where it should be will get easier to predict and become more accurate. This, in turn, will lead to greater on-time fulfillment and a reduction in split shipments.
3. Utilize data to drive the right engagement.
Capturing the right data outside of brick and mortar stores helps retailers strategically develop engagement opportunities most beneficial in the eyes of the customer. Our panelist, Mr. Brous, explained how rue21 developed style guides and blogs tailored to helping the consumer discover new products aligned with customers’ tastes and style preferences. They also use images from models with various body types to show how a style will look on diverse body types. The result? Fewer returns and exchanges as the customers can accurately purchase what they want and what fits them.
4. Create a cost-effective solution while delivering fast shipping.
Customers want to know when their products will be arriving, but the actual timing of the arrival is up for debate. In a recent study conducted by DSW, they experimented with offering free two-day shipping during the holiday season and found that not many consumers took advantage of the shipping offer. While they are still analyzing the data, this research will help them and other retailers as they try to maintain profitability while providing omnichannel.
5. Be proactive rather than reactive.
The future of omnichannel is shifting from reactive to proactive as retailers try to get ahead of Amazon setting the trends to become trendsetters themselves. To accomplish this, heavy investment in business intelligence and machine learning is the prediction for 2020.