Omni-Channel Retail - Why It's Shifting
Long gone are the days when selling just in a brick & mortar location are enough. Now, selling online carries similar implications. Social media and our 'must have it now' mentality have forced retailers into a never ending endeavor to bring products to the consumer faster, with more features, for less money. Many retailers, even smaller start-ups that boomed from the Amazon Seller Central world, are moving on. They are missing a key component to their strategy: the power of social media.
Recently, I was having a conversation with a regional leader in outdoor retail space. His empire was coming to an end after a couple rough years, and he & I were discussing strategies he would do differently if he had the chance. Aside from "I'd get out earlier", his thoughts drifted toward sales channels. Omni-Channel retail - A concept that has gained huge attention over the last ten years, is the concept of being able to sell a product in all capacities, both online and in-store. This leader missed a significant piece of the last 3-4 years - social media's impact on both e-commerce AND in-store retail.
Today, a successful omni-channel retail operation looks as follows: A retail shop, call them Rincon, has a small B&M space, capable of selling it's highest margin best sellers. It also has a quality, Shopify-built e-commerce platform, with its entire offering well organized with quality content. The back of the retail operation serves as a small fulfillment center, with software like ShipStation built in to manage freight and customer records. And here's where Rincon has really succeeded - they have dynamite social media and content production.
Every move Rincon makes, they capture it and post to all their social media sites, tweaking gently to create native content (which is favored in each platform). They run competitions, build huge following groups, and on a carefully planned cadence, place products on their posts. They also tactfully drive those followers to their website. Every once in a while, they host an event at their location, and offer steep discounts to drive foot traffic into the store as a thanks to those locals following them.
Rincon has discovered 2020's Omni-Channel strategy, built as such: In-Store / Online / Social Media. It's in these triune points that retail will thrive this year. Don't just survive - thrive.