How to make unified retail work.
With digital technology changing almost all aspects of our lives, it can come as no surprise that traditional retailing, too, is being turned on its head. The familiar model that funnels customers along a linear path to buying is giving way to an exciting new paradigm of placing the individual at the center of a unified field of purchasing touch-points. So-called omn-ichannel, or unified retailing, promises a seamless experience across a host of coordinated options for customer-retailer interactions including online, in-store, social, mobile, kiosk and call-center. You might buy online and pick-up in store or access an “endless aisle” of goods from an in-store kiosk and have your purchase delivered to your doorstep directly from the manufacturer or wholesaler.
For customers, the possibilities are empowering, even exhilarating. But for retailers, while offering exceptional efficiencies and startlingly more inventive ways of selling, they can also present plenty of challenges and opportunities for stumbling. The key to delivering on unified retail’s promise is to align front-end, customer-facing aspects with all the back-end, behind-the-scenes business processes.
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