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Bricks and clicks, online and offline, mobile and good old-fashioned customer service are joining up. If ever proof was needed that omnichannel – a single view of the
customer, of sales and of the brand, regardless of channel – is driving new retailing, then Christmas 2013 was it.
Changes in the way customers shop and behave reached a tipping point and online/offline hybrids like click-and-collect, as well as mobile commerce dominated the Christmas shopping landscape. The clear winners were those who captured the omnichannel zeitgeist, like Next and John Lewis Partnership, whose click-and-collect saw a 61.8 per cent increase in orders on last year.
Amazon also announced a record-setting holiday season, with 426 items per second ordered worldwide on Cyber Monday. Amazon Prime, the annual membership program offering unlimited free Two-Day Shipping, attracted more than a million new customers around the world in the third week of December.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The first six weeks of 2014 has seen announcements from Tesco and Waitrose, entering into partnership with Transport for
London to open grocery collection points at London underground stations. Stores are transforming – with a new innovation store in Preston for Morrisons and
a ‘technology playground’ from Verizon providing just a couple of examples. Apple and Amazon are making inroads into the mobile payment market. And Amazon continues to play the role of retail pioneer, with new fulfilment initiatives that leave many of the high street stalwarts in its wake.
Nowhere is this transformation clearer than in the new talents and capabilities that top teams need to thrive, flourish and steer retail brands to success in today’s market. It is time to remove vertical silos and improve integration through cross-functional teams. Omnichannel’s need for increased collaboration, and shared information from a single, centralised knowledge base, goes right to the heart of organisational design.