Adopting an integrated approach to multiple channels is a big challenge for Australian retailers.
Many still see online as a separate function with its own prices and processes. Differential pricing, for example, is an issue. Many stores charge different amounts according to geography, yet the Internet demands uniform national (or international) pricing. It’s an example of old practices that probably need to change as online and mobility play an important role in the retail landscape.
Sean McDonell, National Sales Manager at Salmat, says overseas retailers are further down the road at all this. He reckons you can buy a T-shirt from an overseas retailer and it’ll probably not just be cheaper, they may well deliver it quicker because they have already invested in the backend systems for an efficient multi-channel approach.
Perhaps the biggest shift in the retail space will be the need to form partnerships. He says online retailers will increasingly need to have some sort of physical presence — for example, the ability to pick up the evening meal at your local gym. It’s a natural progression from order online pick-up in-store services taking off in the UK.
The biggest challenge will be measurement. With multiple channels, all playing different roles in the sales and service cycle, how can we really tell the full contribution each channel makes?