OFF PLANET RETAILING

In the November 1 issue of CIO Magazine there is an article on what the new retail model is and where is it going.

It’s called “Omnichannel Retailing” (put it in your computer’s dictionary, you will be seeing more of it and using it quite a bit in the near future).

The beginnings of this seem to have begun as a way to stop what is called “Scan & Scram,” the practice of scanning a product at the brick and mortar location and then going home and buying it on line at another retailer or at least for the lower, on-line price.

This new process goes way beyond the concept of checking it out on-line and then buying on the net or going to the store.  It combines search, pricing, availability checking, pickup, return and paying before you get there or even adding items on your smart phone as you shop so that at the end of the trip to the grocery store you simply walk out with an electronic receipt and  the items in your bag – no more lines to stand in!

Leaders in the field are Verizon on the equipment/provider side and Sears and, most notably Nordstrom, in retailing.

Soon to come will be the ability to scan a barcode on a product, check for size, color, virtually “Try it on”, price, order, pick it up or have it shipped.

Bloomingdale’s has gone so far as to allow passers-by outside the store “try on” virtual sunglasses to see what’s new and in store.

There are, obviously some major “devils in the details” here; the process must be completely foolproof and easy to use. There must be a minimum of “glitches” that will minimize, wrong items, colors, sizes, etc. causing consumer frustration.

While not mentioned in the article, I envision some challenges in the area of security, but overall Omnichanneling will certainly be the next wave in retailing.  Retailers with Brick and Mortar responsibilities are making the changes necessary to keep up with us and our technology.

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