Q&A with SalesWarp CEO David Potts – Omnichannel Retailing Done Right
As customers expect more from their shopping experiences, retailers need omnichannel solutions that can deliver a consistent omnichannel experience. Retailers must alter their business strategy from a siloed channel approach to a centralized commerce focus. But delivering a true omnichannel shopping experience is challenging. Retailers must integrate back-end and front-end processes and unify various channel operations, all while keeping an eye on consistency and consumers’ needs.
For that reason, we’ve conducted a Q&A with SalesWarp Founder and CEO, David Potts. David is a true subject matter expert in all things omnichannel. Prior to starting SalesWarp, he worked as a Senior VP at SafeNet and as a Director of Wireless Applications at Texas Instruments.
Here, David shares his insights on everything retailers need to know about omnichannel and retail technology that is necessary to survive (and thrive!) in today’s marketplace.
1.) Why is omnichannel so important and how does it impact the ability to deliver to customers efficiently and expertly?
Omnichannel is a retail imperative. Customers want a seamless, consistent, and personalized shopping experience across all channels and devices; they expect to view the same prices, product descriptions and availability, and fulfillment options across all these sales channels.
With omnichannel, the customer should be able to easily order a product online, pick up in store, and if necessary, return the item to a drop-off point. Retailers are still struggling to integrate the various channel solutions into a seamless experience for customers. The right technology can better equip sales associates to handle the complex and demanding nature of omnichannel customer care.
2.) What is SalesWarp’s view on how to manage the integration of the brick-and-mortar store and the online customer?
Think big, start small. Walk before you run. It’s not necessary to start with a technological clean slate. Most businesses can leverage many of their legacy systems and make immediate gains with limited budgets.
The best omnichannel implementations blend the retailer’s existing assets with a robust distributed order management system. This accelerates time to market and reduces costs, rather than a rip and replace approach that requires pulling out significant layers of an existing technology stack and becomes exorbitantly expensive.
With SalesWarp’s distributed order management system, a retailer has a single view of his customer with real-time data insights. This produces better customer engagement and retention. Retailers can simplify and improve their retail operations while leveraging current investments and resources.
3.) When stores, like Macy’s, for example, go down on major shopping days, how does that impact the customer brand loyalty through eCommerce and store purchases?
Customers are picky, impatient, and fickle. They are also empowered with a lot of choices. A poor service experience can have an immediate, negative impact on buyer behavior.
There are lost sales and yet potentially more damaging costs associated with customer dissatisfaction (claims/refunds) and damage to your brand’s reputation. Most retailers recognize the immediate sales loss yet under-estimate the longer term profitability impact as a direct result of the outage.
4.) As we grow as an eCommerce-based society, what three suggestions do you have for companies looking to expand in the space — and retain their existing customer base as well.
You need a distributed order management system, with real-time inventory, integrated customer service, customer attribution, and analytics to grow effectively. Leveraging ecommerce and mobile as an opportunity to grow your business and maintain loyal customers. With the right technology, physical retailers can attract digital shoppers back into their stores and increase overall sales.
5.) How does omnichannel management ensure brand loyalty and a happy customer experience?
Consumers have made it abundantly clear that they will leave retailers behind if retailers don’t step up their customer care to meet their needs. With the right omnichannel tools in place, customers will be less likely to abandon their shopping carts due to a lack of accurate product availability or good shipping options. Customers are also expecting excellent service when they select pick-up in store or ship-from-store options. Your brand should appear consistent, seamless and maintain the same high standards regardless of touch point.
6.) What expectations should retailers have of their system integration so their channels are all talking to each other and the customer experience and the bottom-line costs are in check?
Start small and plan carefully. There are often easy and cost-effective starting points for your omnichannel initiatives that leverage your existing technologies. You can move forward in an incremental fashion with a smart system that helps you grow. Begin the journey with a flexible and scalable distributed order management system that will meet current and future needs.
7.) Ensuring brand loyalty is a large thing in eCommerce, when products are readily available on multiple shopping sites. What are your two best recommendations to enhance and increase brand loyalty through technology?
a.) The ‘last mile’ is a tremendous opportunity for retailers to establish a personal customer connection. With the right technology, you can get the product to your customer (sometimes) faster than Amazon does. How? By using strong fulfillment strategies that have similar costs yet translate into a better brand experience for your customer.
b.) Omnichannel loyalty programs can have a significant impact on customer retention when customers can earn points multiple ways across all their devices. Connecting data across all digital and offline touchpoints throughout the shopping experience and being able to apply intelligent customer management rules will help retailers speed along their omnichannel journey.
Interested in learning more about SalesWarp or omnichannel retailing? Schedule a call today!