New Omnichannel Challenges For Brands And Retailers

Funan Mall

New omnichannel challenges for brands and retailers, by Chloé Cortinovis, Bienvenue Factory’s Managing Director, Singapore

Omnichannel is more than a hot topic and is becoming central in brands’ strategies. Jack Ma, founder of the Chinese group Alibaba, recently said in a letter to his stakeholders: “Commerce as we know it is changing in front of our eyes.” And it is indeed the face of e-commerce that is now evolving towards the disappearance of the frontier between physical and digital commerce.

This mutation comes with its challenges: the flow of the buying journey, clients’ experience, digitalization of the point of sale, target marketing, data consolidation thanks to new technologies, etc.

Technology is bringing “brick-and-mortar” retail back to fundamentals, that is to say customer relationship, service quality and sales team guidance.

Humans are essential to the proposition of an experience. So how is technology the retail teams’ best ally?

If data and digital solutions exist to simplify uses, they also have demonstrated the importance and added value of a human presence in store. Only 5 years ago, the sales market was still using classic selling techniques – the much-vaunted protocol of Contact; Comprehend; Convince; Close – and product techniques.

Today, selling is more about communications and soft skills: How do I relate to my clients? What link do we build? What experience are we going to share? How will they remember me?

For example, there are some behavioral profiling solutions for sales teams to understand their personalities and better communicate, and to interpret the people they’re talking to quicker so that they can synchronize with them faster.

The results are undeniable, on commercial performance as well as on team management and turnover reduction.

Selling is also a question of culture, openness, and curiosity. The advent of digital has reversed the way we learn; clients are over-informed on brands, products, and novelties, sometimes more than the retail teams. How can you make sure that they stay on top of everything? Mobile training is a great tool and has improved a lot over the past three years.

Thanks to machine learning, applications are able to gather market intelligence, trends, brand and product information, and micro-training and render it as serious games and micro-learning sequences. According to a recent study, 71% of employees that have access to mobile training use it at least 4 times a week for 6 minutes per day, between 8 and 9 am.

What are the sales help tools that perform today?

Clienteling solutions help customers plan their store visits by making appointments, storing contact details, or live checking the availability of a product. For sales assistants, customer data helps prepare for their visit by adapting the store experience to their needs.

Storytelling tools provide further product information (how to wear, combine, collection sneak peek, etc.). Sales assistants can use it to support and complement their pitch. It’s also a great way to introduce the brand – like VR/AR offering very interesting immersive experiences while enhancing the in-store experience.

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