Shopping is fun, or at least it should be. But when retailers make it more complicated than necessary, consumers get frustrated and sales suffer.
Inconsistencies across a brand’s in-store and online channels, in things like inventory, prices, and shipping and returns, don’t exist for the benefit of the customer. They exist because the brand is struggling internally with its digital transformation to omnichannel commerce.
At the SAP Retail Forum, Bryan Eshelman, the Chief Operating Officer at ALDO Group Inc., described the challenge for retailers from the consumer’s perspective. He said, “Customers don’t think, what channel am I buying this from? They think, I’m buying shoes from ALDO and don’t want to know that there is a different way to buy shoes from our stores than there is online.”
That’s why ALDO is creating a simple, consistent, and seamless buying experience across the brand.
In the past, retail moved more slowly. Eshelman said it often took longer than a year for retailers to get a product through the design stage and into stores. It was a much more seasonal driven process and cadence but that model doesn’t work anymore.
Fast fashion is taking hold. See it, buy it, wear it now is the new mantra. Eshelman said, “Consumers don’t want to walk into a store in August and see fall goods. They’re in the summer mindset. They have an event this weekend and they want to find a cute sandal to go with their dress, not long heavy boots for winter.”
Eshelman also feels retailers need to get more precise with their inventory. Products need to be available on the customer’s terms. Not just available faster but at the right time, when and where the customer wants it.
To get there, retailers need to break down internal barriers and silos that stifle efficiency and communication. Offline and online distribution channels shouldn’t run as separate businesses. And if they do, the customer can’t know. The customer needs to see one brand wherever they shop. There can’t be friction between the channels. Customer data and shopping preferences need to flow freely between them.
Eshelman said it is also important to get information from retail partners. Integrating data from retailers that sell ALDO brands with data from its own stores will provide additional insight into customer behavior and trends. With that info, ALDO can evolve the assortment of the entire product line to better serve consumers’ current interests.
Data driven decisions help retailers stay relevant and differentiate brand. Eshelman said being the retailer of choice for its brands is key to ALDO’s future. They have to offer an experience and a brand to lifestyle connection that resonates with consumers and drives them to choose ALDO over the competition.
ALDO’s digital transformation, backed by solutions from SAP, gives it the speed, agility, and data needed to win customers and keep shopping fun.
Check out this highlight video of the Eshelman interview:
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