The number one item that I spend a great deal of time thinking and strategizing about omni-channel convergence. We need to look at consistency with product messages, pricing, and timing of messages and even consider the emotional aspect of how customers relate to each channel. Hopefully, they are getting the same exceptional experience whether they are online with us at landsend.com on their laptop or mobile phone, shopping with us in a Lands’ End Shop at Sears or calling our 800 number and speaking with a customer care representative.
We also think about how social media platforms play a role within the shopping experience. For example, a customer could start an interaction online by creating a shopping cart; share their ideas with friends via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to get their reactions; visit a store to try on the items; then decide to make a purchase they can seamlessly complete with the original shopping cart.
In a seamless, omni-channel experience we’d provide the customer with the ability to pick up the remaining items in another location or have them shipped directly to the customer from a distribution center or retail store.
When Cloud-based systems were introduced, the belief was that it would make many things easier and it has. However, I feel the Cloud is still emerging and hasn’t reached a mature state yet. For many companies, such as Lands’ End, trying to fully implement it across the entire system when there are legacy systems in placeis a big obstacle. There is a need to have the right architecture in place to make a perfect fit.
As a global, multi-channel retailer we are looking at every customer touchpoint, and I would say that today’s technology providers need to adjust their vision to be able to do the same. Retailers are merging their business model to support multi-channel transactions and it’s easier to partner with a provider that can offer the entire package of services, instead of having to pick and choose. Very few offerings are available today on the order/sale transaction side that seamlessly connect in-store (POS), online (e-commerce), and contact center (order capture) under a single platform. Companies are often in a position to stitch these together themselves to create the appearance of a completely seamless customer experience.
The key to success is to be nimble and flexible, as we think ahead to what the customer will want next. The ability to have one single, unique and identifiable view of the customer is critical as technology evolves. It’s more than just tracking transactions, how do we evolve to know their personal fit preferences, what sites have they surfed or what physical stores have they visited; it's a comprehensive understanding of their online and offline behavior. Regardless, we want to make sure we are capturing self-identifiable information to make the experience as personal as possible at the moment and in the future. We acknowledge there is always room for improvement to keep the customer experience evolving as naturally as possible.