This blog originally appeared on RetailBiz authored by David Rosen on 9/8/2022.
Before the pandemic, the omnipresent subject of conferences, analysts’ speeches, and media criticism of retail could be summed up in one word: omnichannel. Retailers were focused on selling, marketing, and fulfilling across multiple channels. However, many failed to achieve a successful omnichannel strategy.
Over the past few years, omnichannel has undergone several changes. It’s critical to consider “channel-less retail” or the “everything channel” in a world where relying on historical data could be misleading.
Omnichannel rose to prominence because silos and disconnects between discrete channels compromised customers’ interaction with suppliers: browsing, purchasing, upgrading, delivering, and returning all came with challenges. These silos and disconnects made it difficult for customers to access their channel of choice, whether a customer service representative, a brick-and-mortar store or a website.
Omnichannel was seen as a noble pursuit, so retailers created multiple entry points. But these multiple channels led customers to one destination: an underlying mess where inconsistency of look, feel, and experience reigned—and where switching between channels was problematic.
Retailers must focus on productivity and experiment with new methods of offering consumer access without hassle. They need a system similar to the serverless computing paradigm used in IT, where the hardware is managed by someone else. In a nutshell: the friction of business infrastructure needs to be removed so retailers can provide the simplest possible processes for buyers to interact as they please.
Retailers who fall behind in the digital transformation stakes find themselves at a significant competitive disadvantage to those ahead of the game. When COVID stay-in-place orders were introduced, wreaking havoc with global supply chains, organizations realized reinventing themselves was nowhere near as complicated or time-consuming as they had imagined.
Art galleries became virtual, theatres became streaming media entities, and restaurants became grocery stores and delivery services. With most of the world’s population in lockdown and shopping online, delivery of physical goods became a key real-world component of the omnichannel shopping experience.
As consumers’ online purchasing grew, so did their expectations of the experience. This put pressure on retailers to lift their game—to offer more flexible, customer-friendly delivery options. The winners in this game offer the smoothest experience to customers, putting them in the driver’s seat to mix and match channels throughout their buying journeys.
LOTTE Personalizes Its Loyalty Program
LOTTE, Korea’s fifth-largest conglomerate with affiliates in food, shopping, finance, construction, hotels, amusement parks, trade, energy, and sports, has over 40 million members in its loyalty program. The LOTTE loyalty program allows users to earn points redeemed at over 180 brands in the area.
LOTTE struggled to analyze customer behavior, provide better experiences, and build campaigns due to outdated architecture that left the company unable to process customer data and measure performance as the enterprise continued to grow. To create a solution to help LOTTE stand out from the competition, it implemented the TIBCO Connected Intelligence platform to create the LOTTE Members Marketing System (LMMS).
With the LMMS, LOTTE gained an omnichannel view of customers in one easy-to-use interface. LOTTE can now view data in real time and respond to changing customer needs to send the right offers at the right time, creating personalized services targeting different segments of members. LOTTE now sends more than 300 thousand messages every hour, increasing customer loyalty and happiness.
The group almost doubled its real-time event processing capabilities, from 8 million to 15 million. The TIBCO Platform sped up time-to-market for new marketing campaigns and reduced operating costs—helping LOTTE become a leader in loyalty programs and customer analytics in Korea through better use of its data.
It’s All About Your Data
Successful retailers develop deeper customer intimacy to streamline and manage the customer journey.
But there’s a catch: retailers can no longer rely on previous behavior patterns to call on what buyers will do next. They must operate because the pandemic changed everything and adapt to a new age of uncertainty. This makes real-time analysis essential, as it can no longer depend on historical trends and behavioral patterns. To win, retailers need to move faster and revise faster than ever before, translating streams of current data and hard-won experience into changing consumer habits.
Increasingly, the formula for success will be data analytics combined with domain and niche expertise. The technology ethnographer Tricia Wang notes that many organizations only pay lip service to get close to customers because they suffer from “reporting overload” and pay too much attention to quantitative data and not enough to qualitative, “thick” data. They are also failing to make sufficient use of tools that can help them, such as AI.
Retailers are not helped in these endeavors by the dearth of data scientists. Still, they need to boost their use of critical thinking: to be more objective about querying facts and insights to discover outliers and why following global, empirical data may lead to a dead end. In a globalizing retail environment, they need to seek out anything that goes against trends, figure out why, and adjust their strategies for new countries, buyers, tools, and channels—such as the metaverse.
Retailers need to be more discerning, more opinionated, and rely much less on hunches. The pandemic has changed retail forever on the sell and buy side. We need to go beyond obsessing over omnichannel and start to really understand and implement it.
TIBCO Connected Intelligence for Retail
Creating hyper-personalized experiences makes all the difference for customers. To really understand and implement omnichannel strategies, watch our hyper-personalized customer journey video to see how the TIBCO Platform can make all the difference for your retail business by using your own data to grow your market share and increase customer loyalty.