LONDON, July 13, 2020
LONDON, July 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Headlines have been announcing the death of the high street for some years now. But in recent times, e-commerce businesses, from giants such as Amazon to pureplay outlets such as Made.com, have been dipping their toes in the waters of brick-and-mortar commerce.
In an article for Business Reporter, Chris Noble, Managing Director of StoreForce, explains that part of the reason is that consumers no longer see online and physical retail as necessarily separate entities, but different parts of the same brand. And they expect their experiences, whether online or in real life, to be as seamless as possible.
But this seamlessness has led to stores struggling to keep up. And with so many brands unable to compete on price, service and convenience have become the key differential. Traditionally, the stages of customer fulfilment were each dealt with at different points, with demand generation, sales and returns processes being handled online, and through physical stores, or via distribution centres, depending on the scenario. But the huge increase in online shopping has led to a concurrent increase in returns, and managers are getting worried about how this will negatively skew their bottom lines.
As channels increase and the customer experience becomes more difficult to manage, says Noble, retailers need to start thinking of their concerns in a more holistic way. "With consumers making no distinction between different channels, retailers need to accurately track and reward demand generation, regardless of the method of fulfilment," he explains. "Stores also need to embrace a wider role in the market and deal with external fulfilment through both click and collect and shipping from store, without an increase in labour budgets."
But the brick-and-mortar store remains the brand ambassador, and if it performs well it can lead to greater success across the board. And by overlapping data on where sales and returns are made and during what period, retailers can work out where to best deploy their resources – ensuring they have their best staff on the floor at peak times, or allocating non-sales tasks to quieter periods, for example. "By investing in technology, retailers can truly embrace unified commerce, by making effective decisions that drive staff performance and deliver the customer experience needed to allow them to compete and thrive in a challenging retail environment."
To find out more, click here to read the article.
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