A successful shift to multi-channel retailing requires a number of changes to the way any traditional retail business functions, primarily in the areas of commercial capability, technical capability, and organization and processes.
- Retailers must develop the ability to differentiate between offering attributes across different channels because they vary in effectiveness and efficiency.
- Modelling capability will be crucial in enabling a deep understanding of the target audience’s channel preferences and their perceptions of service
- Pricing, brand impact and route to market will have to evolve to ensure a seamless customer experience.
- The organisation will have to shift towards developing multi-channel value propositions and commercial strategies.
- The core capability needed is a single customer information view, ideally via a single platform for enterprise wide customer relationship management and proposition development.
- This requires full integration of database and management systems across channels and also with supply chain activities.
- Multi-channel IT architecture requires a channel independent, service oriented and scalable integration of different front-end and back-end legacy systems and 3rd party services. The front-end should support open industry standards like XML and web-services.
- Measurement capability will be vital for monitoring and review channel integration
Organisation and Process
- There may be need for a culture change programme to shift from a product or function focused approach to a customer focused approach
- Where separate channels have their own objectives, management, staff and systems, these may need to be synchronised or even merged if necessary
- Organisational restructure may require a new model that adapts people, processes and technology to meet the coordinated approach to channel management. Strong support from CEO and Management will be required.
- Multi-channel trend analysis on the industry in question will need to play a larger role in the corporate strategy formulation process
- Channel strategy and associated business propositions must be embedded into the basic processes of the organization