The greatest potential opportunities in store for omni channel retail market lie in the collaboration potential across the entire supply chain.  At them same time though, the greatest threat to the individual retailers will be realized by ignoring the collaboration desires of the consumer.  This is a very real threat to the retailers because of the technology and tools available to the average consumer.  The consumers now have embraced technology and mobile technology is exploding in the market now.  Mobile technology will have the greatest impact in the next few years will come from consumers’ expansion and use of mobile tools and technology.

This will be an especially large hurdle for retailers to overcome due to the inertia that many established retailers fall into almost as a result of established practices.  This also is influenced by the concept of ‘if its not broken don’t fix it’ which also tends to establish inertia in retailers. We’ve all seen this and even been part of this practice, change is hard and when retailers have established a brand and identity there is a great risk to fiddling with the brand and identity.  Inertia however is probably the worst practice to fall into from a retailer’s perspective.  The challenge with inertia is that you must take steps and plan to avoid, inertia is what happens when you do nothing, so in a very real way this is a natural progression for established retailers and established companies in general.

When a retailer embraces the omni channel retail marketing and fulfillment concepts and practices the retailer is inherently embracing a continuous change, or improvement model.  Omni channel retail is driven by the consumer rather than by the desires or direction of the retailer. The consumer is directing the actions of the retailer based on their shopping needs and more importantly their shopping availability.  As I have previously discussed, the consumer shopping practices are continuously changing based on personal and professional pressures and needs.  These changes are manifested in the consumers’ use of omni channel retailing.  Remember though, the consumer does not think of the channel in which they are shopping, the consumer is simply shopping.

The growth of the omni channel market outlet will increase exponentially as the mobile technology improves and expands in acceptance.  The successful retailers will re-invent themselves on a continual basis to meet the consumers’ needs and practices.  When the retailer embraces the change model that is behind the omni channel outlet they are embracing a challenging path of continuous change and revisions.  This can be a challenge for some retailers because this model also inherently changes the project initiative model from large initiatives that in many cases require a long time to complete to an agile model of continuous smaller initiatives that deliver and revise initiatives in quick time. 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

What types of cross channel services and offerings would you like to see to enhance your shopping experience?  Retailers are focused on maintaining sales volumes through reductions in pricing rather than expansion of sales, or even maintaining sales through creative utilization of eCommerce services. Did you shop over the Gray Thursday / Black Friday period?  What was your experience in stores and malls?