During a recent retail industry roundtable focused on Getting Product Right with Technology, Michael Appel commented that retailers need to become even more relevant to customers with an omnichannel strategy. Omnichannel is critically important today. Let’s talk Omnichannel Retail!

During a recent roundtable, Getting Product Right with Technology, Michael Appel, Managing Director and Head of Retail Practice, Getzler Henrich, was joined by Danielle Schmelkin, CIO of J. Crew Group, and Greg Petro, CEO of First Insight, as they shared retail insights. Michael commented that retailers need to become even more relevant today with an omnichannel strategy by leveraging the most efficient channels and technology platforms to cut through the clutter of ever-increasing noise, advertising, information, and demand for consumers’ attention during their buying journeys.

A comprehensive, customer-centric approach is required even more today, which is what an omnichannel strategy is all about. Adopting an omnichannel strategy not only enhances the customer experience (CX) but also leads to increased profitability, as Michael Appel continued his commentary.

Understanding Omnichannel Retail

Omnichannel retail isn’t new, but its importance has skyrocketed in recent years. It empowers customers with a seamless, integrated shopping experience across all channels with consistent online and offline messaging. By breaking down barriers between physical bricks and mortar stores, eCommerce platforms, mobile apps, and social media, retailers can – and need to – engage with customers at every touchpoint, creating a personalized experience.

Putting the Customer First, Front and Center

To succeed in omnichannel retail, a customer-centric mindset and product focus are paramount because understanding customers’ product preferences, needs, and shopping behaviors is foundational for building a successful strategy.  Through real-time consumer data collection and analysis, retailers gain valuable insights into their customers’ buying journeys and customize their categories and product sets, with targeted and segmented geo data, lifestyle data, and more. This data-driven approach creates personalized experiences that resonate with customers on a deeper level and influences their purchases.

Seamless Integration of Channels

Key to an effective omnichannel retail strategy is ensuring seamless, frictionless integration across all channels. Customers should be able to switch between platforms without any interruptions or loss of information.  For example, a customer typically researches products, browses online, checks availability in a nearby store, makes the purchase through a mobile app, and then picks up the item in-store or curbside. The speed, flexibility levels, and customer convenience enhance the overall experience with a sense of continuity.

Embracing Technology

Technology plays a vital role in enabling a successful, sustainable omnichannel strategy.  Retailers need to invest in robust systems and infrastructure that allow for real-time inventory management, accurate order fulfillment, and seamless data synchronization across all channels.  Incorporating technologies like AI and machine learning, social listening technologies, or chatbots can further enhance the customer experience by providing personalized purchasing recommendations, 24/7 tech support, and a streamlined process throughout the entire journey.

Engaging Customer Experiences (CX)

Creating engaging experiences is at the heart of a customer-centric omnichannel strategy.  By leveraging multiple channels, and merging in-store and digital experiences, retailers can interact with customers at multiple touchpoints, providing value-added services such as personalized product recommendations, virtual try-ons, and interactive content.  Leveraging social media and user-generated content (UGC) helps consumers engage in a community and strengthens brand loyalty, which builds profitability.

Measuring Success and Driving Profitability – Metrics Matter

While a customer-centric approach is essential for a successful omnichannel strategy, it is equally important to measure its impact on profitability.  Retailers must establish KPIs that align with their business goals, including customer lifetime value (CLV), customer satisfaction scores, and conversion rates across all channels.  Monitoring the metrics allows retailers to identify areas of improvement, where and when to optimize strategies, and drive profitability.

In today’s competitive retail landscape, a customer-centric, omnichannel approach is no longer optional, it’s a necessity, a “need to have.” By putting the customer at the center, seamlessly integrating channels, embracing technology, and creating engaging experiences, retailers elevate the customer experience while driving profitability.  The key is in a deep, thorough, and complete understanding of customers, adapting and pivoting quickly to their evolving needs, and consistently delivering value at every touchpoint. With the right strategy and a relentless focus on customer satisfaction, retailers can position themselves as leaders in the age of omnichannel retail.

Listen to the entire Roundtable Getting Product Right with Technology here.

Special thanks to Lauren Parker for facilitating our roundtable.

About Michael Appel

Michael is Managing Director at Getzler Henrich and Head of the Retail Practice. A seasoned executive with more than 40 years of experience leading and advising retail and consumer products companies, Michael has served as interim CEO, interim COO, and financial advisor for many well-known companies including Baccarat, Inc., Laura Ashley N.A., Caswell Massey, Ciro, Inc., MacKenzie-Childs, and Wilkes Bashford. Michael has deep expertise in women’s apparel, accessories, jewelry, menswear, childrenswear and all categories of home furnishings across department store, specialty store, off-price, and direct response channels of distribution. In addition to his turnaround management activities, he has provided strategic advisory, due diligence and expert witness consulting services to retailers, financial institutions, and consumer product companies including Ford Motor Company, Castle Harlan, Whippoorwill Associates (Barney’s New York), and AIG.

About Getzler Henrich & Associates LLC:  Getzler Henrich & Associates LLC, a Hilco Global Company (www.hilcoglobal.com), is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected names in middle-market corporate restructuring and operations improvement and has successfully worked with thousands of companies to achieve growth and profitability. Working with a wide range of companies, including publicly held firms, private corporations, and family-owned businesses, Getzler Henrich’s expertise spans more than fifty industry sectors, from “new economy” technology and service firms to “old economy” manufacturing and distribution businesses. For more information on Getzler Henrich’s expertise, please visit: getzlerhenrich.com.