Among the trends that most characterize the period we are experiencing, we find that companies put the customers and their needs at the very center of attention: a paradigm shift that we can call omnichannel retail.
You can especially see this aspect both in the customer relations and user experience. It has been mostly established during the recent health emergency period, where the need of extended digitization emerged in all phases of the purchasing process, from the customer retention to loyalty actions.
On the one hand, an omnichannel approach is no longer optional for all the companies that have integrated the various communication channels with the customer into a single offer. On the other hand, in the retail sector, it is vital because the concurrency with the cyber efficiency of large multinational companies is very strong. Brands that want to be competitive on the market need to address this topic and think about building a fluid and continuous relationship with customers, offering excellent customer experience and keeping internal costs low.
The advantages of an omnichannel retail strategy
The different systems, which have been layered over time but are still the main support for customer relationships, hinder the implementation of an omnichannel strategy. On these systems companies have made large investments in the past and they keep relying on their good – although compartmentalized – performances. In these “disconnected” contexts, omnichannel retail needs systemic support that can offer a structural solution to the problems that will inevitably increase over time.
Omnichannel retail, as we have anticipated, allows you to improve the customer experience, by connecting relationships between customers and company and making them consistent and continuous on different channels. It also helps the company to standardize and digitize the purchasing process, preventing certain phases from proceeding at different speeds and in different ways depending, for example, on the channel .
Furthermore, a good omnichannel retail strategy helps improve products’ traceability, guarantee their origin, and therefore make logistics management more efficient. Omnichannel retail helps systems communicate with each other to facilitate the centralized management of data relating to products, customers and sales. With integrated data you can perform effective monitoring activities, facilitate business intelligence, serve the application of advanced analytics and ML/AI algorithms, and develop value-added services.
Mia‑Platform tools to evolve from multichannel to omnichannel
In order to put the concepts of omnichannel retail into practice, first of all, you need to create an intermediate software layer: a middleware that can communicate the different channels with business applications. For this purpose, we find Mia‑Platform Fast Data, a technology that allows you to manage the integration and creation of unique views over your data, in order to feed both internal systems and external channels with updated and organized information.
With Mia‑Platform Fast Data you can have real-time data relating to customer experience. For example to trace conversion paths, analyze already made purchases in order to give targeted suggestions, encourage cross-selling etc.
By integrating real-time data on sales, reversals, returns and other movements of goods, it is possible to improve inventory management and make decisions no longer based on forecasts made on historical data, but starting from information updated in real time, possibly correlated with the location of the goods in order to optimize logistics management. The first beneficiaries are large-scale retailers for which an optimal management of information is synonymous with operational efficiency.
Mia‑Platform gives you the tools to digitize and make all the components of the purchasing process more efficient, even those that often resist digitization: the management of returns and refunds, the integration of store records, the traceability of goods and so on. A similar platform, in fact, associated with technologies such as NFC tags, can be used to certify the authenticity of products and fight counterfeiting, the black market and the gray market. This is the case of URely, an Italian company that has built a product for this purpose by combining Mia‑Platform’s technology and systems for reading smart labels.
In summary, with the creation of a digital layer to support omnichannel retail, it is possible not only to improve customer satisfaction and accelerate ongoing digitization processes, but also to create new opportunities through omnichannel initiatives, with shorter response times and costs. Moreover, it is the first step towards Composable Commerce.