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Digital Technology Innovations and Integrations: A Necessary Evil in Omnichannel Retail

Digital Technology Innovations & Integrations: A Necessary Evil in Omnichannel Retail

It’s said that the phrase “bite off more than you can chew” originates from America in the late 1800’s. While details around its exact origins may differ, we can all that this phrase has rung true for all of us at one point or another.

Omnichannel technology adoption shouldn’t be something you put off or avoid, but instead embrace. These solutions can positively impact a retailer’s ability to drive sales both online and in-store, but these transformational projects can be a massive undertaking. For a CMO or CTO, the idea of a new digital project or ecommerce integration can be stressful and conjure painful memories of past projects. Integrating a brand’s commerce channels (web, mobile, in-store, etc.), and getting them to seamlessly work together can be a painful and lengthy process.

More recently, a trend has emerged. Retailers running ecommerce on their website are starting to see mobile traffic outperform desktop—this shift from desktop to mobile isn’t groundbreaking or news to anyone. However, what is concerning for these retailers is that while mobile traffic is outperforming desktop, the conversion rates are severely underwhelming. Regardless of how daunting a task this may be perceived to be, the next (very necessary) step a retailers should take is to improve the mobile experience and streamline the path to purchase—this may include building a progressive web app, native shopping app, or both.

Kicking off a project of this magnitude is no simple feat. The translation? Time and money. Obtaining executive buy-in and budget approvals is just the beginning. The next phase(s) includes project planning, hiring / building out the team, delegating tasks, meeting deadlines, invoices, security requirements for multiple companies, the list goes on. The unfortunate truth is that—more often than not—a digital transformation project (ecommerce integration, mobile website development, progressive web or mobile app build) usually takes longer and costs more than originally budgeted for. Every misstep in execution, every unforeseen issue, bug or error that pops up costs a business, you guessed it: time and money.

Retail IT departments and digital teams have traditionally been forced to build out their web, mobile and omnichannel capabilities in this exact way for years. However, many of these headaches can be avoidable or minimized.

A big mistake retail brands make early on is to roll out point solutions that solve one aspect of the problem they’re trying to fix or experiencing. These disparate technologies may work together with time consuming and risky integrations, or they may not ever reach the full promise of their capabilities. A brand’s omnichannel retail strategy demands and requires a multitude of different elements and technologies that work throughout the entire customer journey, offline and online.

An end-to-end omnichannel platform may not be the reality for every retailer out there today, but it is the answer. For some retailers, they may only be able to update their technologies and improve their digital capabilities a la carte because of budgetary constraints or worse, fear of biting off more than they can chew. One of the universal truths retail brands must now be able to wrestle with is that mobile is the future. It is where the consumer eats, breathes, and lives. If retailers are unwilling to embrace mobile and innovate, then they’ll likely be left behind.

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Marcus LaRobardiere, Marketing Manager

Marcus is a results-driven marketer focused on driving integrated marketing campaigns and programs to meet business goals and objectives. At NewStore, Marcus is the marketing manager, working cross-functionally with the sales and product teams to grow business and manage the demand generation pipeline.

Topics: omnichannel retail

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