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Six ways to satisfy the omnichannel customer

In today’s ever-changing retail environment, adapting to the omnichannel customer is vital. Industry experts discussed their top tips at Drapers Fashion Forum 2018.

Embrace digital

“Shoppers are turning toward digital across all our brands and models,” said Nicola Mathews, brand director, fashion at Pentland Brands.

“Digital is everything. Our customers are doing everything online. You need to merge that digital to the physical store,” added Ismael Gonzalez i Payà, senior retail director, north Europe at Adidas.

Ryan Llewellyn-Pace, managing director of wholesale and retail for the UK and Ireland at Barbour, agreed: “The acceleration towards digital has been coming for a while but in the last 18 months we’re moving towards it faster than we ever have. Understanding what’s driving that change is the biggest challenge.”

 

Integrate bricks-and-mortar with online

“Retailers need a unified commerce platform – and they need to talk to each other in real time,” noted Alan Holcroft, pre-sales manager at POS solutions provider Cegid.

Olga Kutsor, co-founder and CEO of digital retail technology company Mercaux, added: “You need to understand the role of each and decide how you want to treat stores, as a sales channel, a marketing channel or a fulfilment centre.”

 

Bring the brand to life

“Our shoppers have an emotive connection to the brand: you have to understand the shopper, and what they want from you and who you are as a brand,” said Barbour’s Llewellyn-Pace.

Pentland’s Mathews agreed: “Storytelling is essential. You need to engage with your customer and tap into that emotion to lead them to that path to purchase.”

Constanza di Gennaro, chief commercial officer at Wolf & Badger, said: “It’s easier to tell a brand’s story and converse in store but we provide information from the designers themselves online. That content brings the story to life.”

 

A single view of stock is vital

“It was our main problem to keep track of our stores, deliveries and designers’ production. We created our own dashboard from scratch to do this,” explained Wolf & Badger’s di Gennaro.

Cegid’s Holcroft said: “A single view of stock, getting that data and actioning it in real time to fulfil orders is vital.”

Adidas’s Gonzalez i Payà added: “Omnichannel needs to be speedy and seamless. We have to have stock clarity, as for our customer it doesn’t matter where our stock is.”

 

Innovate

“We take considered risks. For us technology is so important in terms of fit, comfort and quality in footwear. If we don’t do it, it is more of a risk,” said Pentland’s Mathews.

 

Invest in people

“When it comes to stores we are all obsessed with the right location, stock and design but we need to think about our staff – they are the last mile. We need to empower the salespeople to provide a store-of-the-future experience,” argued Mercaux’s Kutsor.

Barbour’s Llewellyn-Pace added: “Linking experience to service is important. Shoppers need a reason to go to the store.”

 

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