Interview • 04.02.2015

Multichannel Commerce: Retailers have to reorganise themselves

Interview with Dr. Bernhard Blüthner, Managing Partner, SALT Solutions GmbH

Dr. Bernhard Blüthner: Product assortments, pricing, inventory, customer...
Dr. Bernhard Blüthner: \"Product assortments, pricing, inventory, customer accounts – all of these need to be coordinated and real-time capable across all distribution channels.\"
Source: SALT Solutions GmbH

Established retailers have a tough time developing a suitable multichannel strategy. Mature organizational structures and IT environments that have stood the test of time often stand in the way today. EuroCIS.com speaks with Dr. Bernhard Blüthner, Managing Partner for SALT Solutions, about the need for companies to newly organize. 

Dr. Blüthner, the multichannel buzzword has kept the industry sector on its toes for more than five years. Yet for all that, the number of successful examples can be counted on one hand. Why is that? 

Causing quite a stir are primarily startups that have geared their internal organization, their processes and IT towards multichannel commerce from the beginning. The big companies are just now slowly catching up. On the one hand, this is due to inertia that inevitably characterizes the decision-making processes in mature units: decisions are being deliberated for a longer time; numerous stakeholders are involved in the implementation – oftentimes with diverging interests. 

On the other hand, the existing application landscapes cannot be converted into multichannel commerce with the snap of a finger. Some technologies and systems have stood the test of time for many years and are suddenly supposed to no longer be enough to meet the demands of multichannel commerce? This discovery is only slowly being accepted. 

How can established retail companies respond to this? 

One example we keep coming across with retailers is the organizational separation between the online store and the brick-and-mortar business. They are set up as individual companies with their own management and separate IT systems. Naturally, these separate entities pursue their own goals apart from each other and focus on different measures in doing so. 

However, this is not how multichannel commerce becomes successful. When retailers offer their customers click & collect service for instance, that being the opportunity to pick up an online order at the actual store, the processes between the online store and floor management need to be harmonized with each other. Product assortments, pricing, inventory, customer accounts – all of these need to be coordinated and real-time capable across all distribution channels. 

It is imperative for the management level to provide the foundations of a multichannel strategy – this task must not be delegated into the divisions. This results in new forms of organization that don’t have any “best practices“ yet. 

What might these types of decision-making processes look like in detail? 

Multichannel is not just limited to the operational and organizational structure. The key is that everything is being automated. The role of IT is underestimated in this regard, and it is often integrated far too late. Linking all channels requires the constant involvement of IT in organization and service to stay on top of things in the back-end as well as the front-end. 

When it comes to detailed organization, companies should not chase any hype, but initially determine exactly what fits their corporate philosophy as well as their target group. There needs to be an actual benefit for the consumer, if you would like to promote customer loyalty and attract new clientele. 

From your point of view, what cornerstones need to support a multichannel strategy? 

Pure players are almost unrivaled when it comes to providing fast delivery with free shipping. What’s essential here are additional services with a true benefit for the customer. Consumers do not distinguish between the online and brick-and-mortar store of a brand: all things that are possible online should also be offered in the store and vice versa. The subject of payment can be what tips the scales in a company’s favor. With it, customers are free to use their preferred payment method – and the associates at the store or in customer service always have an overview of open and paid invoices. Multichannel commerce is not an end in itself; you need to be able to manage the necessary investments! 

Interview by Daniel Stöter, iXtenso.com 

More on Multichannel Commerce in retail

related articles:

popular articles:

Thumbnail-Photo: The eye is shopping too!
20.02.2020   #brick and mortar retail #decorative lighting

The eye is shopping too!

Visual merchandising and product presentation at EuroShop 2020

For a successful purchase, it sometimes takes more than just a full wallet. Customers want to be addressed in the store - not only by staff, but also visually. We also took a look around EuroShop in terms of visual merchandising and product ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Book swap as you food shop
05.02.2020   #brick and mortar retail #omnichannel

Book swap as you food shop

Waitrose launches novel way for shoppers to share their favourite books

Whether it’s romance, adventure or a gripping mystery, book lovers can now share their favourite reads with others in selected Waitrose cafés as part of the supermarket’s new book swap initiative. A successful trial in five ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Custom-tailored: new in-store safe shopping journey solution...
13.05.2020   #consulting #brick and mortar retail

Custom-tailored: new in-store safe shopping journey solution

Suitsupply reinvents retail experience including virtual pre-shopping

Suitsupply, the global men's tailoring brand built on radically personal customer experiences, launches new retail journey as stores reopen. The upside of being global, and the staggered timelines of the outbreaks around the world, is the ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Connected Retail Experiences and StartmeupHK Festival 2020...
01.04.2020   #online trading #brick and mortar retail

Connected Retail Experiences and StartmeupHK Festival 2020

New dates for the events announced

Bailey Communications and InvestHK have confirmed today that the Connected Retail Experiences and StartmeupHK Festival 2020, the flagship event of the startup community event has been rescheduled and will now take place during the week of 6th July, ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Innovation in sales!
30.01.2020   #online trading #customer satisfaction

Innovation in sales!

N3XT by MediaMarktSaturn – finding ideas for customers and company

What do customers want? How can you create a more intense and powerful shopping experience? And what new technologies and innovations can help in this endeavor? MediaMarktSaturn has set up its own innovation unit to find answers to these and similar ...

Thumbnail-Photo: What you want is what you need!
07.02.2020   #e-commerce #customer satisfaction

What you want is what you need!

Retail experience – What shoppers want and how to implement

E-commerce has significantly changed how people shop, and push retailers to rethink the role of their stores. With change being a constant and continually accelerating, there is truly only one way to learn what shoppers want and expect their ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Local food: consumers demand it, grocers need it...
27.02.2020   #supply chain management #food retail

Local food: consumers demand it, grocers need it

Forager and ReposiTrak partner to solve it

As shown in a recent survey from Forager, local food is key to grocers' success – and a weak point for many, with 73 percent of respondents either "somewhat" or "not" satisfied with the quality and availability of local ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Basics of how to merchandise your store
27.02.2020   #product presentation #goods illumination

Basics of how to merchandise your store

Retail Consultant Hans Günter Lemke reveals key elements of successful visual merchandising

Retailers face increasing pressure from online competitors. Although brick-and-mortar businesses take in the lion’s share of sales revenues, online shopping will play an increasingly important role in the future. That’s why it is ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Love greetings from the online shop
17.04.2020   #online trading #digital marketing

"Love greetings" from the online shop

With the web-based application ViDGREETS, online shoppers can record personal messages and send them together with their purchase.

ViDGREETS – the name says it all. With this feature, customers in the online shop can quickly pack and send video greetings with their order. Retailers can also use it to send messages to their customers. In an interview, Marco van Eersel ...

Thumbnail-Photo: retail trends 1/2020: focus EuroShop 2020
05.02.2020   #digital signage #lighting systems

retail trends 1/2020: focus "EuroShop 2020"

The current issue with all trends around retail

Would you like to find out about the latest retail trends in technology, marketing, lighting, store design and logistics, browsing page by page? We would be happy to send you our current print edition retail trends on the focus "EuroShop ...

Supplier

iXtenso - Magazin für den Einzelhandel
iXtenso - Magazin für den Einzelhandel
Celsiusstraße 43
53125 Bonn