The Great Retail Digital Divide

The traditional retail model is being disrupted as consumer expectations and shopping behavior rapidly evolve. A customer journey that remains in only one channel, whether online, mobile or in-store, is no longer the norm. Customers expect to move in and out of multiple channels, including in-store, online, mobile, and social media, and they expect a seamless and frictionless transition from one channel to another. This creates a new requirement for retailers to host a single shared shopping cart that moves with the customer.

Customer expectations are only going to continue to rise, fueled by the upsurge in mobile shopping over the past few years. This is driving demand for increased digital capabilities bundled with personalization in the store. Unfortunately, we are seeing that retailers are not always keeping up with customer expectations. This gap between consumer demand for digital capabilities within the store and most retailers’ current ability to support this is what we call the ‘great digital divide.’ Consumers say that digital influences up to 75% of pre-store visits and is leveraged in 46% of their in-store shopping experiences; however, less than half of retailers deliver on the most important digital capabilities that customers desire.[1]

To support this desired experience and increased capabilities, retailers need a robust order management solution that can serve as the anchor for the single shared shopping cart and operate as the brains of a unified commerce platform.

The success of a unified commerce solution requires a common commerce platform leveraged across all customer touchpoints. The centralized order management system is key, as this is the brains of the unified commerce platform.  It provides the needed customer order visibility, order orchestration and routing optimization across channels, allowing retailers to engage their customers however they choose, and meet and exceed customer expectations.

While there are many challenges to implementing an effective unified commerce solution, the cost of doing nothing is steadily increasing and may mean the difference between success and bankruptcy. Unfortunately, the ‘great digital divide’ is likely to only increase as customer expectations grow.  Customers expect a single cart that crosses all touchpoints and using your OMS as the brains of the operation may be the most effective approach to meet these needs.

If you haven’t already moved to a unified commence platform, now is the time to act. We suggest you start by looking at a unified order management system. For more information on how to bridge the ‘great digital divide’ with an order management system, we recommend reading the BRP Special Report: OMS – The Brains of the Operation.

I appreciate your thoughts on this topic.  Please share your opinions and comments below.

Brian

[1]The Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectationsreport conducted by Incisiv and sponsored by BRP and Wind, stream, 07/24/18, https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-retail-research-report/

Brian is a leading retail IT strategist and architect, having worked as an executive and consultant for many prominent retailers, such as WalMart, TBC, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and ULTA. His experience includes strategy, selection, design, development and implementation of systems and processes across all retail channels. He specializes in the vision and realization of customer-oriented solutions that deliver strategic value and significant competitive advantage.

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