The term omni-channel is everywhere these days. It can sound pretty intimidating and confusing for most. To simplify it, just think of your customers and how they now expect to interact with your brand/store seamlessly across all of your platforms. They expect a smooth and nearly invisible transition from your website to your mobile platform to your stores. Multiple channels to deal with your customer … but you need to think of just one customer and expect they’re already interacting with you across all platforms.
That’s pretty heady stuff for marketers and the folks in IT. But what about all the staff running and working in stores? What does it really mean for them?
Every retailer has different programs, systems, initiatives and tools when it comes to this whole omni-channel thing, so we’ll stay away from specific ideas on how to leverage each of them more effectively.
Let’s think of this from a larger perspective. Just think of how much more knowledgeable, and likely demanding, your customers now are. You’re in the store, and the customer comes in already having been on your website. They’re armed with perhaps more information than you have! Or, they’re in your store using your own mobile app to research a product, track their order and maybe even buy something directly from their phone. You can likely feel your stress going up if you’re in store operations!
What this really comes down to is everyone in the store being BETTER. Better with product knowledge. Better with sales skills. Better with service skills. Better with their ability to manage staff. Better at knowing your customers. Better at knowing everything your company is doing not just in the store but on the web too.
All this requirement to be BETTER means you need to invest more time and effort in training, coaching and communicating. Store staff are now more important than ever before. It’s time every retailer treats them that way.