Consumers worldwide continue to adopt and use technology in their shopping experience. Faced with rising customer expectations and increasing competitive pressures, retailers now are prioritizing in-store innovation. Many retailers have adopted multichannel implementations, in which mobile, web, and in-store shopping are enabled but not delivered consistently to the customer. The next step in this evolution is an omnichannel strategy, now being deployed by some retailers, which presents a consistent shopping experience across mobile, web, and in-store channels. Omnichannel also enables retailers to integrate back-end infrastructure technologies (e.g., servers, databases, etc.) and cloud-based services (e.g., loyalty programs, personalized recommendations, inventory management, etc.) to improve many aspects of store and enterprise operations.
An omnichannel strategy relies on several core and supporting technologies. The key factors in evaluating any omnichannel-enabling solution include adaptability, scalability, and security of the system and environment. One important technology is mobile point of sale (mPOS). mPOS ties into other in-store technologies to help create a consistent customer experience and into broader enterprise infrastructure (servers, databases, cloud-based services, etc.), providing the opportunity to improve operations.
This paper aims to:
- Summarize the current state of retail’s evolution from multichannel to omnichannel strategies
- Differentiate a multichannel from an omnichannel strategy
- Explain an omnichannel strategy’s key impacts on businesses
- Summarize the technological enablers of an omnichannel experience and provide guidance on how to evaluate new omnichannel-enabling technologies
- Introduce the role of mPOS in the in-store channel and in a broader omnichannel strategy