3 Steps to Deliver Agile Commerce

The notion of multichannel retail no longer exists, according to Brian Walker, vice president and principal analyst for Forrester Research. The era of agile commerce is here.

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Multichannel Merchant
Multichannel Merchant
Multichannel Merchant
O+F Operations and Fulfillment

“We talk all the time about channels – web, retail, contact center – but this is not really an accurate picture anymore of what retail looks like today,” Walker said during an Oct. 23 webinar with Kalio Commerce.

With the advent of mobile and social, things have changed dramatically, Walker said.

“People are very willing to share that information and a positive or negative experience can go viral,” Walker said. “Therefore, the stakes have really gone up. You can’t just be mediocre anymore.”

Multichannel retail is difficult to execute today, Walker said, because a merchant’s channel divisions often compete against each other for the same customer. “It’s important for retailers, brands, and marketers to understand that and start treating the customer differently in a way that reflects how customers are really engaged today.”

Walker said the term agile commerce was created because of the numerous customer touchpoints that exist today. Walker listed three keys to agile commerce.

Develop a cross-touchpoint integrated customer experience
Start by focusing on a mobile web optimization strategy before including tablets, Walker said. “I’d start with a mobile-friendly experience making sure the site is rendering. You might want to look at responsive design down the road.”

Transform your organization and culture
“That’s the most difficult of all,” Walker said. “Gather your ecommerce and retail divisions in a room and present questions and challenges to reach this goal. Each company will have to find its way here.”

Evolve measurements and metrics
This involves how a company is managing the customer experience and who’s getting credit for what, Walker said. Merchants have to stop obsessing over conversion rates and focus on a holistic model. “Conversion rates don’t measure what impact a mobile solution has on your in-store transactions. Today, there is an over-reliance on the metric of conversion rates. That has to evolve.”

Jim Tierney (jim.tierney@penton.com) is a senior writer for Multichannel Merchant. You can connect with him on Twitter (TierneyMCM) and LinkedIn, or call him at 203-358-4265.