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  • Writer's pictureEduardo Peñaranda

Omnichannel retail: What are the main operational challenges in physical stores?

It is a fact that the evolution of consumer behavior in a hybrid ecosystem that multiplies both physical and digital points of interaction is representing a revolution in the operational design of physical stores. According to Harvard Business Review, 73% of buyers already exhibit this hybrid behavior.

Most retailers have found it necessary to adopt omnichannel strategies to respond to the challenges that this revolution poses. But what are those challenges?

The first is to adapt to the new expectations and habits of consumers, who demand personalized, agile and secure experiences regardless of the channel through which they interact. Buyers expect that whether they access product information in a digital channel, close the purchase in an online environment, decide to pick it up or make a return at a physical point, order a product in store that is not available for gift shipping, or Whatever the most convenient process for him, that journey is fast, without incident, fluid, consistent and differential.

Take advantage of the potential that data offers to improve decision making, personalize interactions through customer knowledge and analysis, linkage with the brand and loyalty through of optimized communication, as well as the evolution of products and services through innovation aimed at meeting emerging demands and trends.

Simulating blonde woman standing in the fashion store with tableet

Making personalization solutions, customer knowledge, activity monitoring, gamification, internal communication, support for cross-selling suggestions and other data-based functionalities that cover their operational needs available to the store team becomes a fundamental tool to increase retention and satisfaction in store staff.

Consumer demand to incorporate sustainability and social responsibility criteria in retail business models is increasing. Buyers are increasingly aware of the environmental challenges that commercial activity entails, the social impact of their purchasing decisions, as well as the need for economically and labor-sustainable models associated with logistics and deliveries in omnichannel commerce. Services such as Click&Collect, physical points for deliveries and returns, optimizing the management and location of stocks through prediction tools, are some of the options for more sustainable omnichannel logistics.

To respond to all challenges, retailers are facing the challenge of integrating technology into all key business processes. From knowledge and communication with the customer to inventory management, through the digitalization of stores and the optimization of logistics, the retail sector sees a need to optimize processes to achieve operational efficiency and improve the omnichannel experience of its customers. customers. There are multiple technologies available, some successfully tested and others emerging.

The next step in the evolution of technology for store teams in an omnichannel environment will involve avoiding fragmentation of solutions, offering people integrated support for their operational needs, accessible from multiple devices, both fixed and mobile.

Functionalities such as schedule planning, creation, assignment, management and monitoring of tasks, KPI's, performance evolution and gamification, internal communication and training, operational support in omnichannel operations with workflows and knowledge bases, collection and analysis of feedback for operational and business improvements; They will be in the hands of store teams in a fluid and rapid adoption way.

Optimized efficiency in processes, memorable customer experience and an increase in store staff retention along with the adoption of multiple technologies will be the foundations for the response to these challenges in the operational management of physical stores.

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