Gone are the days when shopping was meant to be a long day searching in the city markets and for retailers, there premises were the only selling stations. With the evolution of Ecommerce, shopping has become a one-click phenomenon.
However, with multi device ownership and permeative connectivity means customers now have, they expect multiple ways to interact and shop. The division between channels is vanishing and a seamless service across online and offline mediums is imperative. This is where omni-channel commerce has came up as a dynamic opportunity for retailers.
At iamWire’s Internet Retail Expo 2014, Prashant Tandon, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Healthkart.com discussed on how omni-channel retail is transforming the consumerism in India.
Prashant started with the fact that retail is a simple business, however in time, it has largely leapfrogged from uni Commerce to omni-commerce, significantly leaving behind the multi-channel stage in India.
“Most retailers were still evolving in e-commerce space; and offline players were not equipped to handle online – So little move towards multi-channel. Retailers needed to be sharp in their preferred channel and before anyone realized, the world changed rapidly. The future is clear – it is connected, it is omni channel & it is about being relevant to every individual consumer,” he said.
With mobile internet being a complete game changer, retail now has some more interesting challenges. First, the consumer today is at the stage of multi-media engagement, demanding more information on the go. Next, is the requirement of bringing in seamless experience across channels and getting data across channels.
However, there are also some key benefits one can get with an omni-channel presence which includes availability of a huge selection, a much larger market, reduced costs, more efficient operations, better customer understanding and increased trust.
When asked about the current state of business from Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities, Prashant said, “T4 sales are 40% of our sales, metros are around 40-45% and rest are in between. T3 and T4 are becoming more and more relevant and growing faster than metros. We see more values as compared.”
Retailers who can thus, best leverage omni-channel data and understand their customer’s needs are the winners. As consumer behavior evolves further, there will be a new dimension of decision-making — ‘continuity’ which will work in tandem with other factors like price, relationship and service.