What Is Omnichannel Retail?
Omnichannel retail is a strategy in which retailers engage customers through multiple digital and physical touchpoints. As customers move across these channels, applications and data move with them. This creates a consistent, on-brand experience from start to finish.
Around 73 percent of consumers use multiple channels throughout their shopping journey, according to the Harvard Business Review.1 When they shop, they use everything from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to websites to social media to mobile apps.
With an integrated omnichannel strategy, retailers can provide hyperconvenient, personalized shopping experiences at every point in the customer journey—whether that customer is shopping online, via their mobile device, or in a store. The idea behind omnichannel is to create amazing and frictionless customer experiences at the exact moment of relevance. Customers are willing to pay more for this treatment—as much as 18 percent more.2
Creating a better experience for customers across all channels fosters greater satisfaction and loyalty. Furthermore, by analyzing the customer journey, retailers can improve their strategies around marketing, merchandising, loyalty programs, and inventory.
Benefits of Omnichannel Retail
A unified omnichannel retail strategy provides a consistent brand experience and accurate information at every touchpoint. Where possible, experiences are integrated with the customer’s activities via other channels. For example, a customer at a beauty store can log into her account at an interactive kiosk to view past purchases and scan in-store items to remember later.
A well-executed omnichannel strategy will eliminate confusing experiences that disappoint customers. For example, a customer who checks the availability of a popular item on his phone and sees that it is available at the nearest store can be sure that it will be in stock when he arrives.
|With the Customer at the Center of an Omnichannel Strategy, Retailers See Major Benefits.
|Customers spend more.
||Globally, multichannel customers spend up to 30 percent more per purchase than those who shop in a single channel.3
|Customers are more loyal.
||One recent survey from Forbes Insights revealed that 65 percent of consumers said a “consistently positive” experience throughout their interaction with a brand would make them a long-term customer.4
|Brand focus grows stronger.
||Multiple digital touchpoints create a stronger brand experience and more meaningful customer service. Customers receive the right message at the right time, in the context of a consistent brand experience.
Customers want hyperconvenience and immersive engagement. A good omnichannel experience blends both.
True Omnichannel Spans Edge to Cloud
The data and applications that customers use to shop span from endless aisle kiosks and point of sale (POS) systems in the store to e-commerce platforms online. A successful omnichannel approach requires the edge and cloud to work together in a way that unifies all platforms, processes, and data sources. For example, when an item is purchased in the store, the retailer’s inventory system should be updated immediately across all platforms, so that customers can see exactly what’s available.
Here are just a few examples of omnichannel experiences trending in retail:
- A customer can buy a product online or from a mobile device and easily pick it up in the store.
- An item placed in an online shopping cart will appear in the customer’s mobile app and in-store platforms, such as POS or sales assist systems.
- A customer can use a mobile app or self-service kiosk to find an item in the store. If it’s not available at that location, the customer can easily find and order it from another store.
- When returning an item, the POS system will accept a proof of purchase from any channel using the customer’s membership details or credit card.
Intel® Technologies Enable Omnichannel Retail
Today, retailers can take their pick from a range of software solutions designed for omnichannel retail. But before any of these solutions can be deployed, retailers must have a way to collect and manage data across their digital and physical touchpoints. Intel provides this foundation with compute, storage, and networking technologies that span edge to cloud. Our technologies power many of the online platforms, POS systems, digital signs, networks, data centers, and sensors that keep retail running today.
|Intel® Technologies Enable Data-Centric Retail in Every Channel
|Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors
||Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors in the data center provide a foundation of computing for online and mobile channels. They also support cloud-based applications like inventory and supply chain software, customer relationship management (CRM) software, e-commerce platforms, and sales assist and clienteling apps. In the store, Intel® Xeon® processor-based edge servers support thin clients, in-store analytics, and more.
|Intel® Core™ and Intel Atom® processors
||These processors deliver performance and responsiveness for retail kiosks, POS systems, and digital signage. Customers can quickly look up inventory, find a gift registry, or connect to their accounts. Rich graphics and high-definition video help deliver on-brand experiences.
|Intel vPro® platform
||PC-based devices built on the Intel vPro® platform offer business-class performance and remote management capabilities. This means your IT team can maintain maximum uptime and manage retail signage, POS systems, and kiosks without being onsite.
|Intel® RFID Sensor Platform (Intel® RSP)
||Intel® RSP helps you deploy multiple RFID readers throughout the store and transform raw sensor information into valuable inventory data so that you know what you have and where it is.
|Intel® Movidius™ VPUs and Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ toolkit
||Intel offers both hardware and enabling software for computer vision applications. Intel® Movidius™ VPUs provide low-power acceleration for computer vision at the edge. The Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ toolkit streamlines the development of vision applications on Intel platforms for scenarios like cashier-free checkout and inventory automation.5
The Future of Omnichannel Retail Technology
Optimizing customer engagement and experiences across channels is an ongoing effort. By deploying technologies that enable seamless interactions across the entire retail enterprise, retailers can meet their customers’ fast-changing expectations and dedicate resources where they will matter most.