Every retailer is different, as is the form that innovation takes. So when it comes to implementing new services or channels, there is no blueprint for success, according to Craig Sears-Black, Managing Director for Manhattan Associates, who here gives his three top tips to become a Game Changer in a world full of omni-channel players.
If retailers take a step back, and really start to think about how they position themselves in the market and challenge themselves on why they are implementing a service, this is where things can really change.
Every bricks and mortar retailer with an online presence claims to be omni-channel, but how many of them offer a service that is truly unified across channels? And how many of those omni-channel service offerings are truly different? Not many. So what can they do about it? Here are Sears-Black's suggested steps:
1. Take control of your own destination
Retailers should have a clear vision of where they currently sit within the market, as well as where they see themselves heading. How many other, similar retailers can provide the same omni-channel services? Are these services what customers really want? Do your online customers behave the same as your in store customers, or is there opportunity for service differentiation?
With answers to these questions defined, retailers can develop a clear roadmap for evolving their existing strategy into something truly Game Changing; something that can transform the retail space as it stands.
2. Fortune favours the brave
Retailers shouldn't trick themselves into thinking it can all be done alone. Recognising their own strengths and weaknesses, and identifying areas that need support from not just one partner, but multiple partners if necessary, can bring something different to the table that may compliment the overall value proposition.
A great example of this is the recent launch of ASDA's ToYou service, which is a strategic project delivered not just by two partners, but five; each of whom contributed to a different part of the large-scale project that, once complete, will open up the industry to a whole new way of thinking about omni-channel.
3. Take a leap of faith
Just as someone can order the same coffee, at the same time, from the same cafe every day, some retailers can also fall into the same routines that may leave them stuck in a rut. It is time to take a leap of faith and dip more than just a toe in the water. With a fool-proof proposition aligned to a clear understanding of the business and the strategy agreed, it is time to launch.
There are many innovative success stories to give enough confidence that the leap of faith is not a leap into the dark. Consumers are always open to new options and retailers who are offering something new, exciting and valued will stand to gain the most.
Stepping outside of the norm is far from straightforward - but it will rapidly become essential. This is not simply about becoming the Game Changing organisation that attracts new customers. It is about retaining share and profitability, and ultimately, it is about staying in business.
"With the need to evolve an existing omni-channel approach and the desire to grow as a business at the same time, the capabilities are endless if embraced. And the stakes are only getting higher - doing nothing is simply no longer an option," concluded Sears-Black.