7 Signs Your Retail Business Needs an Omnichannel Makeover

Does your retail business need an omnichannel makeover? If it’s an Australian-based venture, chances are that it does.

In late 2013, Zendesk released a report based on a survey of 7,000 consumers across various countries. Ultimately, the results of the survey show that Australian businesses simply aren’t satisfying their customers when it comes to omnichannel expectations, which may be exacerbated by the fact that Australian consumers were actually more likely to act across multiple channels in the first place.

There seems to be quite a gap here: Australian consumers have already progressed into the retail paradigm of the future, but our local business aren’t there to meet them.

“Many Australian retailers are left flat-footed in the face of the omnichannel revolution, and their inflexible, outdated processes and systems are struggling to cope with the new paradigm,” wrote NetSuite APAC’s Managing Director, Mark Troselj in an article published in December last year. “Meeting the demands of an omnichannel customer requires a commitment to four crucial principles: seamless commerce, order orchestration, new business models and future proofing.”

It is in these comments we begin to see a definition for omnichannel commerce emerge, whereby a retail organisation must be available to transact with and support customers across all viable channels. However, this is much easier said than done, and a truly omnichannel business will need to have this ethos reflected throughout its entire organisation. That means significant – and sometimes expensive change – in the short term, at least.

Ultimately, the move to an omnichannel model is fast becoming a cost of doing business in today’s market. Those that don’t begin early enough, or can’t instigate changes efficiently, will fall behind. Those that take advantage of the slow pace of change in Australia stand a real chance to get ahead of the competition.

Want to learn more about implementing an omnichannel strategy across a highly complex retail organisation? Discover the straightforward steps involved, as well as the short and long-term benefits to be gained, in our upcoming webinar with Hairhouse Warehouse, scheduled for Thursday, July 3 at 1.00pm AEST.

So, is your business in need of an omnichannel retail makeover? According to Rob Hooton, eCommerce Vertical Market Expert APAC for NetSuite, the following questions should serve as a basic litmus test for any business to follow.

  1. Are your store staff constantly called to ask if they have a particular website item in store stock?
  2. Are staff swimming in paperwork from in store customer returns or exchanges?
  3. Do you frequently sell out from your website, when you have stock in store or in a different warehouse location?
  4. Have you experienced major customer service meltdown because your website oversold an item that was both out of stock and end of line?
  5. Do in store staff end up using their personal phones to check if an out-of-stock in store SKU that is out of stock is available online?
  6. Have you ever had no idea if a customer who is in your store has ever visited your website, and even if you knew, your staff feel frustrated that they have no way to tell how good a customer they are?
  7. Are you being frequently ‘showroomed’? Your customers come into your store look and try your products and end up buying online.

If you’ve answered yes to even just a few of the above questions, Hooton says, you may need to look into how to adapt your organisational structure, systems and processes to better align with your customers omnichannel expectations.

None of this is to say that there aren’t any Australian retailers working hard to evolve to modern market conditions. Some are already well on their way to getting this right, however it’s still hard to pick out any clear forerunners.

One potential example is the work that Hairhouse Warehouse has undertaken with NetSuite, which ties together a traditional, national retail footprint across a franchised network of stores, combined with a growing online presence. That such an organisation is taking the necessary steps to change – and are already beginning to see the results – is testament to the fact that any other retail brand in Australia can do the same.

Want to learn more about implementing an omnichannel strategy across a highly complex retail organisation? Discover the straightforward steps involved, as well as the short and long-term benefits to be gained, in our upcoming webinar with Hairhouse Warehouse, scheduled for Thursday, July 3 at 1.00pm AEST.