Over the last 20 years omni-channel retailing has taken over the retail industry to the point where e-commerce companies like Zappos.com have entered the brick and mortar business and grocery chains like Safeway have e-commerce offerings. Along the way the shift toward omni-channel retailing has also forced the hand of many retailers to adopt new innovations like mobile commerce and click-and-collect in order to remain competitive.
Despite the innovations taking place in omni-channel retailing, relatively few are investing in an omni-channel view of their business. Consider the infographic below from the Retail 2015 Report recently released by Retail Week & Kurt Salmon. It indicates that only 19 percent of retailers they surveyed have a single view of their stock and their customer. What is even more curious is that in the very same survey, investment in different selling channels was voted the most important business priority for 2015.
While some may consider the proportion of retailers invested in an omni-channel view of the business as alarming, I view it as the kind of opportunity to leapfrog the competition that rarely presents itself. Consider the following three recommendations to begin your journey to an omni-channel view of your business:
- Connect the Supply Chain – Supply Chain data is fragmented and rarely lives in one place or exclusively behind the corporate firewall. Modern techniques exist to connect more than twenty supply chain data sources to create a line of sight on global inventory. If you get this right, you are well on your way to becoming part of the 19 percent.
- Empower the Business User – Allow the business user to ask questions of their data that no one has thought of before in order to get ahead of changes in the marketplace. Retail Week reported 67 percent of retailers they surveyed are prioritizing the mobile channel, which did not exist several years ago.
- Enable IT – IT is a scarce resource within a retailer. If IT spends all day everyday working on a reporting backlog that is a mile long, you can bet the innovative work behind connecting the customer with the supply chain is not going to happen.
The good news is the opportunity exists to join the 19 percent of retailers that have an omni-channel view of their business. Many of the world’s leading retailers and wholesale distributors use Qlik to drive omni-channel visibility, including Lush Cosmetics, Design Within Reach, FlipKart, Ted Baker, Purity Life, The Warehouse Group and more.
These organizations have realized firsthand the tight link between the customer and stock for an omni-channel view of the business. Each are leveraging Qlik in a unique way to discover and make connections in their data and using those insights to improve supply chain visibility and omni-channel performance.