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Omnichannel Retailing: The Opportunity for Retailers

Target continues to builds its omnichannel business. EVP merchandising and supply chain Kathryn Tesija said that Cartwheel — an app the company began piloting in May and launched in June, which allows customers to use mobile phones to find and share deals on Facebook and search for deals while shopping in the stores — already had more than 1 million users who had generated more than $2 million in savings. Among active users of the app, more than 50% had used it to complete multiple transactions. President, chairman and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said Facebook had informed the company that engagement statistics for the app were among the best it had ever seen in an app in beta testing. Currently, the app is among the top 20 in the Apple Store. [drugstorenews.com]

Target understands that this is a mobile channel and treats the customers in a way that is optimized to that channel experience. Customers can shop, make lists, get daily deals, manage their prescriptions, and track down that elusive birthday gift — all without setting foot in the store. And the app has useful functions while you’re in the store, too, like a barcode scanner and coupons. (The in-store is clearly a work in progress — it doesn’t exactly tell you where in store the product is.) Read more about Target’s strategy.

Other retailers are leveraging the multi-device landscape to improve their internal selling tools. Nine West put mobile technology to work, beginning with the 2012 holiday season, by rolling out an in-store iPad app that enables employees to show the company’s Lookbook style suggestions to shoppers, retrieve product info, place orders, and provide training materials. The pilot program was a success on many fronts. It was the best Black Friday ever, sales increased, and the company saved both money and the environment by shifting reams of paper documentation to the iPad. Read more about Nine West’s strategy.

Omni-channel provides a huge opportunity for retailers — one that delivers ROI. Retailers need to begin thinking about mobile as a seamless part of a broader shopping experience to fully harness the power of mobile. Here are five tactics marketers are using to create an integrated shopping experience.

1) Making use of social media

2) Integrating customer reviews

3) Using digital means to personalize the physical shopping

4) Using technological advances in-store for personalized shopping recommendations and relevant offers

5) Merging social and localized coupons, sales alerts, event announcements

Sallie Burnett
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