Retail Online Integration: Cognizant’s Retail Consulting Experts Write About ‘Me and Now’ Omnichannel Merchandising

“In the world of retail, buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) is fast becoming mainstream. In fact, personalization and BOPIS are among key shopper expectations and drivers of customer satisfaction, according to Cognizant's 2014 Shopper Experience Study,” write By Steven Skinner, Senior Vice President, and Steven La Schiazza, Director of Retail Consulting. “Increasing digitization is opening up newer avenues for personalization.” Excerpts:

“BOPIS for omnichannel fulfillment represents a strategic advantage in that it improves shoppers convenience by enabling them to own the item “now.”

A single view of the customer, sales and inventory are foundational enablers for a retailer’s omnichannel merchandising strategy. The need is to merchandise the right “me” products to the right sales channels “now” at the right price. Processes across the enterprise, from planning through supply chain, will need to be integrated and data will need to be consolidated and available to derive actionable insights.

We’re witnessing a profound transformation propelled by social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) technologies. Retailers must move quickly to embrace the change enabled by SMAC because competitive advantage, market leadership and profitable growth are at stake. Optimizing the SMAC stack will enable retailers to rise to the needs of the next generation of shoppers.

Consumer demand has altered the breadth and depth of assortments. Product flow may need to be adjusted to meet unexpected changes in demand.

Retailers need to optimize upsell/cross-sell opportunities when the customer is in-store or shopping online. Retailers need to monitor the source of the social media trends and build “stylist” suggestions to create a total look. This will increase basket size and complementary purchases.

The customer experience can be enhanced by adding mix-and-match suggestions based on applying predictive analytics to customers’ historical purchases as well as offering complementary products and services to meet customers’ anticipated needs.

Promotions need to be real time, updated to optimize the most current purchasing trends. Financial planning and open-to-buy need to be proactively evaluated and managed to account for unexpected changes in demand.

Tighter integration across the retail value chain, from product lifecycle management and merchandising through supply chain execution, will be required to support the next generation of the customer experience.

Improved predictive analytic capabilities and operational process excellence will be required to support more customer-centric planning and execution. Technology will need to be enhanced to support cloud-data analysis driven by the exponential increase of future data volumes generated from websites and mobile devices. More flexible allocation of resources, including assortment and space, will be required to meet ever-changing customer demands.”

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