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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

It's really something that might save the business.

Totally. So what we see now is that retail cannot wait for the customer to come to the store. They have to take the store to the customer first. You take the store there first and then he will come to you. If you wait for him to come to you, it isn't going to happen.

A number of retailers are reporting, who have got robust and solid m-comm strategies, they are seeing 20-30 percent of their revenues coming through that channel and the beautiful part is they start browsing on the application on their mobile phone but they end up transacting in the store. So this is what I call "Clicks and Bricks" and this is absolutely the future of retail.

Retailers will ignore this at their own peril. So the big ones here definitely are the online shopping list to in-store shopping cart, locationing and analytics. It's wonderful.

Now the use case scenario simply is somebody does a shopping list on their mobile phone, they come near the outside of the store, we pin them with a message saying, "Hey Mr. Smith. Welcome. Good to see you again. Today we have ABC on special which is relevant to you individually." So people outside the store get an individual message each. Once they come in, our connected shopper approach also has a scanner built in. So you can use your iPhone or your Galaxy phone or whatever the case may be and then scan the product and this is where you get the richness of the online experience in-store.

So say you are an organic retailer selling organic foods. You can now tell them the farm, you can tell them who the farmer is, you can tell them the expiry date is 48 hours because this product doesn't have the shelf life of a preserved product. If that is not enough, through that same module, they can ping an assistant in-store for help, and add it to their shopping cart. The shopping cart will aggregate all the information into one bar code and they can walk over to the cashier and just hand over their mobile phone. They will scan this and take the ping.

This is possible right now?

This is absolutely deliverable. We showcased and launched this at NRF in January this year. It has been about three years of backstage work so the fact is that all of this has existed in bits and parts but we are the first to build it as a holistic solution. 

So the way this all fundamentally changes the shopper's in-store shopping experience is we've got five parts to purchase. A shopper will typically identify, navigate, discriminate, validate and then transact. So the idea here is now to have an influence on the buying patterns in a real-time influence on the shopping journey in-store. So currently there is hardly any identification. You walk into a store faceless and you walk out of a store faceless and nameless unfortunately but what we do now is we automate the greetings. So the connected shopper can now be greeted individually upon entry. That's how we do the identification bit.


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