More and more retailers are realizing the benefits of
multi-channel retailing. Leveraging brand equity in multiple
touchpoints has been proven to drive loyalty and interaction among
consumers. With trends clearly showing the Internet as the core
component to pre-purchase research, brick and mortar brands can
ill-afford to take a wait and see approach as it relates to core
Three core enhancements must be executed flawlessly to have true
• In-store associate kiosks
Leveraging the eCommerce store within an in-store environment
solves fundamental out of stock situations, provides a new channel
for up/cross selling, and maximizes profitability per square foot.
• In-store pickup
Incorporating buy online and pickup in-store functionality
eliminates the barrier of shipping in the online sales equation.
With shipping costs being the number one driver to why shoppers
choose to not purchase online - this initiative help reduce key
customer based purchase inhibitors while drive incremental sales
in-store traffic. The solution also provides added convenience and
satisfaction to the consumer, as they no longer have to wait to
receive their merchandise.
• In-store returns
Returning products that were bought online, in-store, can bring
many back-end technology bottlenecks to the radar screen. Forward
thinking retailers must accurately map their order processing and
inventory data to empower service associates with the data they
need to reconcile and close the transaction efficiently at the
Slow processing and a poor return experience will virtually erode
a consumer relationship that was costly to start and maintain.
Getting your organization on board with change
Convincing company executives that these initiatives deliver ROI
may be challenging, but that challenge pales in comparison to what
is faced in your store network. The perspective change within the
rank and file employees in your organization will prove to be your
most daunting task as it relates to these initiatives.
Within all three of the solutions above, the web transaction
integrates with the physical store. The store is the final piece
of the puzzle in all three scenarios, making it the most crucial
element to deliver a proper transaction. If your employees do not
execute properly on this level, the result will be an un-utilized
solution, or even worse, a customer perspective that your
employees are incompetent.
The key is getting your employees aligned with multi-channel
change. This happens by driving two key operational strategies in
conjunction with a multi-channel technology solution.
Store managers must take the lead in understanding multi-channel
solutions, while leading efforts to replicate this knowledge among
Prior to solution launch, be sure to communicate the internal and
external value among the manager base, create a solution handbook
for employee questions, and bring managers in to the home office
for a ½ day workshop to become experts right before the solution
Employees must feel that the web-generated order still has some
benefit to them. To drive accountability, some type of carrot must
be given to ensure that employees have reason to treat the
web-driven transaction seriously.
Because in-store employees receive bonuses for comp sales, create
some type of awards program for efficiency as it relates to
in-store multi-channel solutions. Or provide a piece of all web
sales, distributed on a regional basis.
Understand the dynamics of your employees - how they work and what
motivates them. By closing the gaps in training and incentives,
multi-channel success becomes much closer to being reality.
More extensive coverage on e-Tailing,
Multi-Channel retailing can be found
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