Evolving to the Next-Generation of Omnichannel Retailing


May 11, 2023 | By Rupkatha B

Evolving to the Next-Generation of Omnichannel Retailing

“Omnichannel was a term that we started using much before the pandemic. But the pandemic helped industries take giant strides in their digitisation journeys,” observed Akshay Jayaprakasan, Associate Partner, Redseer Strategy Consultants.

Indeed, the pandemic fast-tracked digital transformation across industries, agreed Peter Gesper, Senior VP of IT, noon. “For instance, the importance of being able to securely access data at any point in time was something that organisations realised during the pandemic.”

Talking about verticals grocery retail witnessed massive surge in demand for digitalisation as consumers turned to online grocery shopping during the pandemic. “In a matter of months across multiple markets we saw significant growth in online grocery shopping that we had not seen in the past two decades,” stated David Hardiman-Evans, Senior Vice President – Global Business Development, Ocado Group. “Having said that in the post pandemic era as shoppers are back to shopping in stores the need is to offer an equally delightful omnichannel experience in the brick-and-mortar environment through diverse assortment, dynamic pricing, attractive promotions and leveraging data to deliver a great customer experience while driving efficiency, managing inventory and reducing wastage by using tech tools,” he added.

The healthcare industry has been another benefactor of pandemic-induced digital transformation. For an industry where the human touch is crucial when people became uncomfortable to have face-to-face interactions going contactless and paperless became non-negotiable, shared Afsal Salu, Co-founder and CEO, BestDoc. “From booking appointments to making payments we enabled many healthcare facilities to adopt and accelerate their digital transformation journey.”

In fact, a study conducted by US-based electronic health records system Epic between March 2020 and October 2022 among 19 million patients found that 61% of the patients didn’t need an appointment with the doctor in the next 90 days following an online consultation. “Going forward, we will hopefully see tailwinds in the online-offline mix in the healthcare space,” Salu opined.

The purpose of omnichannel is to ensure that the line between online and offline is blurred while removing the friction points, stated Darine El Sabbagh, Managing Director, Golden Scent. “For example, we had to introduce home trial kits to reduce friction as well as add more payment options to bring down the number of users opting for cash on delivery.”

The need to offer a similar experience across channels can’t be over-emphasised, Gesper agreed.

Consumers are engaging digitally irrespective of the channel they choose to purchase from having ramifications around pricing, personalisation and product promotions, Hardiman-Evans said.

“For the longest time online was looked upon as the channel where discovery happened followed by research to find the best price and eventually the transaction happened offline. But this is changing and therein offering a seamless experience is so crucial,” El Sabbagh concluded.

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