Omnichannel is all around us and consumers are taking advantage of at least a part of it. At the same time they are being frustrated by the lack of integration between the increasing number of shopping tools they have at their disposal. The gap between identifying what they want to buy in the online world and making that purchase in a store is cavernous. So what does the normal consumer do? They buy online.
We've heard about and talked about the challenges that surround omnichannel markets. Many companies are struggling with understanding the concepts, and that's understandable because it affects nearly every company whether retailer, supplier, or manufacturer, and it creates potential competitors at multiple levels of the supply chain.
Every transaction rung through an electronic cash register creates more than just a customer. It creates a series of data records that tells a story that is important beyond its use as a financial record to the purchaser and the retailer. Properly used, POS data can provide a history, the present state, and a prediction of the future. But those are only possible if the data is collected, stored, and provided to the right people in a timely manner.
Retail store sales transactions are tiny snippets of data that capture the details of customer transactions. It's a simple concept. But the magnitude of the information that can be pulled and extrapolated from those transactions make them one of the most intriguing sources of data in the retail world.
Is ‘omnichannel’ a sea change, or just a clever name for a reality that’s been around for awhile? After consuming dozens of articles on the subject and reflecting on my own experiences, I’d say it’s some of both but predominantly business as usual in the era of ecommerce.