“OmniChannel” is a term many retailers, and those who work with them, think they understand. But David Pullara, a marketing/retail professional at the Schulich Executive Education Centre, believes many don’t truly see how changing buyer behaviours and expectations are impacting traditional retail.
“Retailers who truly have an OmniChannel mindset understand that consumers expect to interact with them whenever and however they want, at any given moment,” Pullara explained. “This isn’t just about putting up a fancy website or having the capabilities to deliver to a consumer’s home; it’s about a retailer really understanding its consumers and being ready and willing to fulfill their needs on their terms.”
“The biggest danger,” Pullara said, “is that many traditional retailers believe they’re acting like an OmniChannel player, and they really aren’t.” He uses the example of one Canadian retailer often mentioned in the media for their digital innovation, but who he believes falls short of what consumers might expect from a best-in-class retailer. “I can look at a digital copy of a flyer on their website, but I can’t do anything else with it… why can’t I build my own custom flyer based on product categories I’m most likely to buy, for example? I can order and pay for the product online, but this retailer doesn’t offer home delivery… so I have to trek out to the nearest physical location to actually get what I purchased. And if my local store is out of that item, I can’t even have it shipped to my closest store for pick-up. That’s not OmniChannel. It’s not even close.”
There are companies that are learning how to effectively compete in an OmniChannel world. Even retailers who can’t yet execute on home delivery are finding ways to keep customers satisfied. One of his favourite examples is his family’s own weekly grocery shopping ritual: his wife pre-orders what they need for the week online from the comfort of the family couch, then drives over to the store the next day with their two youngest children in the car, and simply waits as attendants load the trunk with her purchases. “She doesn’t even have to get out of the car, which is extremely convenient for a mom with a toddler and newborn,” Pullara explains.
The key is for retailers to understand the value they’re actually delivering to consumers, then figure out ways to leverage innovative technologies to enhance their core competencies and exceed ever-increasing consumer expectations.
To help retailers do that, SEEC and Pullara have developed a new two-day program called OmniChannel Excellence: How to Win in the New World of Retail. The course is designed to help retail organizations, business owners, and advisers understand how the best-in-class retailers win in today’s OmniChannel environment and what they can do to successfully compete. The course discusses how eCommerce has changed the retail environment, and how retailers can adopt an omnichannel mindset to effectively compete with Amazon and other giant e-tailers.
More detailed information and program schedule dates are available on the course web page.
David Pullara is a senior business leader with 18 years of diverse and progressive experience in brand management and strategy. He has a passion for marketing, and spent a decade working with four renowned, consumer-centric, Fortune 500 organizations: Starbucks, Yum! Brands (Pizza Hut), Coca-Cola, and Google. David earned both his Honors BBA (marketing) and MBA (strategic management, international business) from the Schulich School of Business at York University.