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Omni-Channel Challenge and the Cloud

November 6, 2013

A retail carolYesterday was a long day into night for yours truly, highlighted by a trip to Boston Garden to see the Boston Bruins take on the Dallas Stars, and their former Bruins Star, Tyler Seguin. I went with my pal, Jeff, a marketing big shot for, as he puts it, a “local hockey retailer.” Anyway, we catch up on all kinds of stuff while the boys on ice entertain or pain us, and last night we unwittingly got into a little “omni-channel” discussion. Let me flash back to earlier yesterday. Kronos issued a press release titled, Kronos Survey Shows Consumers Expect Seamless Omni-Channel Experience This Holiday Season.” “Omni-channel? Really?” I thought, as I eschewed yet more biz-jargon, and ignored the article. As players and pucks flew, Jeff and I talked about his challenge of marketing for near 20 “brick ‘n mortar” stores, the web, and mobile. That’s the omni-channel challenge for retailers as I discovered today. The PR talks about the efforts by retailers to provide a great customer experience across multiple buying channels, and the danger of dropping the puck on any of them. There’s also this cool infographic crafted by our awesome Creative department, populated with stats from the Harris Interactive poll. As you can see in the graphic, the top 3 factors that contribute to a positive shopping experience are:

  1. Inventory availability
  2. Speed of delivery & pickup
  3. Sales associate interaction

Which brings me, naturally, to the cloud. As a retailer, I’d want my scarce IT resources focused first on systems that affect inventory availability. Jeff told me that fixing one little thing improving visibility of inventory for his customers doubled sales. How’s the cloud fit in? Well, if you’re a retailer, and move your workforce management system to the cloud, your scarce IT resources will have more time to focus on inventory availability. Like “omni-channel,” cloud is pretty simple when you think about it. If you’re a retailer attending KronosWorks next week, make sure you check out Moving to the Cloud: Your Business Simplified. Panel Marriott, Peet’s Coffee & Tea on Tuesday.

Oh, and Bruins… blowing third period leads and then losing in a shootout when your former star scores is the kind of omni-channel customer experience that’s bad on TV and radio, but even worse when sitting in an $80 seat.

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