A true omni-channel retail solution puts the customer at its heart. Such a solution knows who the customer is no matter how they interact: online, on mobile or in-store. For the user it should be simple and seamless. Unfortunately for retailers, implementing such a system is anything but. As users, we have all been frustrated when the service or information is inconsistent between different interaction channels of the same retailer. We have all asked at some point - "why doesn’t this just work!" Or how about: "why is this TV £50 more expensive here in the store than it was on your website. Answer - maybe the website knew who you were and was applying a loyalty discount but you are a stranger in the store.
From the user point of view it doesn't add up, it should be simple. Instead, it’s frustrating - you are dealing with one outlet, but receiving different and inconsistent service.
Therein lies the problem. Often, when you are dealing with one retailer, you're really dealing with at least two. The online presence and physical store of many retailers have their own people working on them, their own strategies and are sometimes virtually separate entities. This issue is about more than just having the same inventory. This is about recognising the same customer, and their history with you, whenever and wherever they interact.
What's more - you need to recognise that at the point of entry - not exit. It is too late to serve up offers when someone is leaving a physical store or is part way through the online check-out experience. You need to know they are there when they are there and still in the mood to shop.
"We think that the savviest retailers will realise that their user experience has to become as connected as the audience they are trying to serve"
As consumers we have moved on. We are more connected than ever. We're connected with our mobiles on-the-go, we're connected on our tablets in front of the TV and we're connected by improved mobile networks and internet / broadband in our homes. We shop all the time on different devices and we usually visit stores carrying at least one of those devices.
We think that the savviest retailers will realise that their user experience has to become as connected as the audience they are trying to serve. Those that don't restructure and continue to operate in isolation will suffer.
And that's where we think Ensygnia's Onescan App can become an incredibly valuable tool. At its heart, Onescan is identity - based. Online, in-store or on-the-go, and with your permission, it can tell a retailer who you are and what your history is with them. Scan one of our codes as you enter a store, and wait for the offers. Log-in to a mobile or online website and see what they have for you. Encourage your consumers to base their shopping on their identity and Onescan helps a retailer deliver an omni-channel solution that puts the customer at the centre of the business.
"it's about putting the customer first and foremost, making it simple and removing any restrictions and barriers in their way"
Onescan also makes the payment interaction secure, consistent and versatile across platforms. Whether online or in a store, it is just one scan and your payment is complete - and you can choose whether to use a store account, a debit or credit card, PayPal, or a mobile wallet. We are not a payment company, but we allow consumers and retailers to interact smoothly whatever the method of payment. Again, it's about putting the customer first and foremost, making it simple and removing any restrictions and barriers in their way.
An omni-channel solution with Onescan also has huge potential to improve the KYC capabilities of retailers. In the current multi-channel set up many companies have large amounts of data that are not utilised. They are in data silos. Isolated like this they are hard to analyse and don't provide the full picture of their customer base that would allow for them to improve their services.
An omni-channel solution would unify the data stream and solve this problem for retailers. They could track and learn about their customers journeys from start to finish. From that they can improve and even personalise the experience for their customers.
Providing a unified omni-channel experience for customers is no easy task, not by a long shot, but we believe that integrating a solution like Onescan can ease that transition for retailers. Most of all, we believe that omni-channel is about matching the service to the needs of the individual, not of the channel.
By Matthew Taylor 3rd July 2014
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