Following this week’s celebration of Customer Service Week, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are being encouraged to tap into and combine traditional and non-traditional retailing strategies to create a seamless shopping experience for customers.
Speaking at a recent Jamaica Business Development Corporation’s (JBDC) Biz Zone webinar, Janine Fletcher-Taylor, manager of the entity’s marketing services unit, said that through omni-channel retailing, businesses are often provided with the opportunity to offer customers a seamless shopping experience.
Citing the measure as a customer-centric strategy, which integrates all channels ie brick and mortar, e-commerce and online selling, she said it has the ability to connect buyers and sellers in a number of different ways, providing sellers the opportunity to sell from wherever their customers are likely to buy. By using multiple channels, omni-channel businesses also have the potential to target and service a larger customer base, positively impacting its sales performance and growth of its overall customer base.
“Unlike single-channel retail where a business has just one retail option, or multi-channel where the business has several parallel retail options, omni-channel retailing combines all the traditional and emerging channels in a seamless operation without diminishing the original experience of retail shopping for the customer,” she said.
Pointing to rise of the digital era which statistics shows has completely revolutionised the traditional shopping experience, further accelerated by the pandemic, the marketing expert likewise pointed to the streamlining of businesses processes as equally important when using this type of retailing.
“The most important thing about omni-channel retailing is the data management system that allows you to interact with the potential customer on any device, channel or information source,” Fletcher-Taylor said.
“That means that whatever systems you have in place, when the customer engages with your first ‘touch point’ you should be able to track and monitor the movement of that customer moving through the system. This, therefore, means that businesses will need to have significant information about customers’ buying behaviour to determine which channels they need to have, what to invest in and how to move goods and services around if they are to offer the ideal shopping experience for customers.
Underscoring the need for retailers to begin thinking like customers, Fletcher-Taylor called on operators particularly in the MSME sector to adopt more customer focused business models, driven by proper omni-retailing channels.
“A lot of times they are making decisions simply based on numbers – how much revenues they can make; how much money they invested; how much profit they can make. If we continue to operate in that way without focusing on what the customer is demanding, then eventually we will become irrelevant in this era,” she stated.