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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

Now here are further statistics to support. The statistic is 59 percent in Asia Pacific use is through mobile devices for social technologies. This actually exceeds the world. So in terms of social media on mobile devices, Asia Pacific is Number 1 around the world.

Statistics again to support this: There are in excess of one billion Facebook users, 600 million of these access through mobile phones. This is astounding and every 60 seconds there are 98,000 tweets, about 650,000 updates and in excess of 11 million instant messages. The message clearly is that we live in a world of exponentials. Everything to do with technology is growing exponentially.

So now the impact of all this to a retailer is very simply an absolute explosion of data collection. If we think big data was something big last year, we haven't seen anything yet because all the big data stuff that we are talking about is coming out of repositories of databases of businesses that have accumulated that data. But now every smartphone and every tablet is a data accumulation point. Now a retailer is sitting there, scratching his head and saying, "How do I take this explosion of content and make it valuable to me commercially as a business?"

These are just some trends to reiterate. With smart devices, customers have digital options, social networking, wireless data completely explodes, Omni Channel. M2M is a very interesting thing where ultimately devices will be talking to one another intelligently and all will be growing at an exponential rate. So now what this is doing to the retail industry in our view very clearly is changing the core attributes of retail.

Retail traditionally was location, location, location and then product price and of course product price with quality. This is now table stakes. If you don't have a location, if you don't have a product price combined with quality, you're not in the retail game. It's a precursor to get into the industry now.


So what we see is that the three traditional business attributes are being converted into five new attributes. The first one clearly is connecting. The shopper is connected to the Internet or to his mobile device for product information. We need this connectivity to be available to the same shopper in store and we need the same connectivity to be available to the store staff as well. So this far what was happening with the connectivity of the consumer was they were smarter than the seller. So the seller was order-taker. He was fulfilling the transaction and not influencing the sale. So the gap there was the associate was not being as equipped as the customer. So connectivity in that was omni present.


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