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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

In the navigation bit when they enter into your store, typically they are lost. They are looking for an assistant or they are looking for a product. That doesn't happen so how do we change this? We make the shopping experience either self-guided or associate guided or a combination of both.

Now our vision very clearly is that in the retail equation you have the store, the store associate, you have the consumer and the inventory. We want all four of these to be seamlessly integrated. It's the only time you can get a closed loop.

So this is how we do it for navigation in-store. You can navigate with your own phone or you can ask for help from an associate. He will come over to you instantly. Now they are looking at a discrimination of their choice so they have narrowed it down some selections and they say, "Is it in stock? Is it the right colour? Does it have my size? Where do I find an associate for help?"

So we eliminate all the questions that could hinder in the retail sale and possibly undo it. So very simply in retail speak, this is stock check and price check. So this can now almost be done by the consumers themselves if they choose or if the product is more intensive in its need for product knowledge, we will automatically introduce a sales associate into the equation.

Then we are moving on to a consideration that wherever we have associates in store, within the store's specific organisation chart, there is a hierarchy. There is a manager, there are backstage replenishment warehouse functions, there are store shelf replenishment functions, there are store sales functions and then you've got cashiering functions. Even the in-store organisation chart of a retailer can be extremely complex. So what we do is we definitely allocate the right device to the right individual so when a customer asks for help, specific to his help request the information goes to the right person.

So another experience we have is we ask somebody and they say, "Hang on this is not my section. I look after toys." So we eliminate all of that. It's a big irritant and it's a big deterrent to closing a sale for a retail store.

Now after the selection they want to compare and evaluate and this is where show-rooming comes in. So they do all their research and all their discovery and selection in the store but they always have more options online. So how do we allow that? We remove the purchase risk. We let them do in-store comparisons on their device whereas traditionally they would have either gone out to do it or done it in-store alone, we are collaborative saying, "Hey Mr. Retailer, this is happening to you. Don't be an ostrich and put your head in the sand. Take it head on and find a way around it."

 

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