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The promises of “Omni-Channel” retailing

Zafar Anjum | July 16, 2013
Clicks and bricks is the future of retail, says Anand Mehta, the director for Retail Industry at Motorola Solutions for SEA, India, Japan and Korea

Anand Mehta

Anand Mehta, the director for Retail Industry at Motorola Solutions for SEA, India, Japan and Korea

"The proliferation of smartphones and tablets, coupled with the ubiquity of Wi-Fi networks, is urgently demanding a change in retailers' traditional go-to-market model," says Anand Mehta, the director for Retail Industry at Motorola Solutions for SEA, India, Japan and Korea. "The traditional attributes of retail being location, product, price, quality and service are simply a prerequisite now rather than a differentiator. Retailing in the connected world is about understanding the impact of mobile, online and social media."

"This irreversible trend is "omni-channel" retailing. Omni-channel retailing is no longer just a concept and is now best defined as multiple and individually-relevant touch points equipped with unfailing memory and the intuition about consumers' preference available both digitally and physically. This is helped by the game-changing ways in which wireless technology and applications are coming together to form solutions that are empowering sales associates and connecting with the already connected customer with their personal tastes, at their preferred locations, through their preferred media."

To better understand the challenges retailers face today and dissect the promises of omni-channel" retailing, we recently had an exclusive interview with Anand Mehta in Singapore. Here are excerpts from the interview:

Why bother with Omni Channel at all?

There are two trends that you cannot ignore. It's the emergence of mobile devices, principally smartphones or tablets or as the smartphones get larger, the phablets as they are known in the trade.

The fact that now Wi-Fi is ubiquitous, you are constantly connected. So these are just two things and here are some statistics to support them. If you look at mobile devices, the total amount is 40 percent in smartphones and 17 percent in tablets which is 57 percent which far exceeds laptops which is only 39 percent. So the point I usually call out here is that the world is moving fast from what was known as 'e-comm' (e-commerce) completely to what we term as 'm-comm' (m-commerce).

Here are just some statistics to support it. Current smart device sales for 2013 are likely going to exceed 1 billion units. There are more global devices than the global population. Smartphone use is going to exceed two billion by 2015 and more importantly there is a 13 times increase in data traffic being forecasted from this year to 2017. So data is the new voice. It has been and it's only been growing exponentially. The other thing to really give consideration to is also the fact that social technologies are growing at a great speed.

 

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