Retailers Must Reach Out

Retail managers need to change their corporate culture if they want to make the most of all their assets, whether digital or physical. That’s the conclusion of a new study conducted by Retail Systems Research, in partnership with the National Retail Federation. According to the study, “Creating a single brand identity across all channels,” remains the top opportunity for most retailers. The study, titled, “The Cross-Channel Wake Up Call,” focused on how retailers can achieve the goal:

Learn about emerging consumer behavior. The study points to the example of Apple’s iPhone. The transformation of how customers use their phones to get product and retailer information came very quickly. Companies have to stay on top of the latest trends in customer shopping, and not only enable that new behavior, but anticipate it.

Enable a single view of the customer across all channels. At issue here is the tendency of customers to approach a single transaction through multiple channels. They browse the company website for information, then come into a store to shop. They visit a store, but look for more information on their smartphone while still in the building. Successful retailers will understand this behavior and present a common brand identity across multiple channels.

Look to technology to provide the road map forward. Big obstacles to channel integration include a reluctance to change legacy information technology, and to devote the budget required to do the job correctly.

According to the RSR results, “Winners are more aware than ever that misaligned incentives stand in the way of further progress towards process integration to enable cross-channel retailing.”

The study issues a warning: the more profitable customers are those troublesome consumers who cross channels. “Retailers that are not cross-channel are not only leaving a lot of value on the table, but are actively encouraging customers to shop with other retailers.”