Omnichannel Challenges and Opportunities

Retail today requires being where customers are. And since customers are omnichannel, retailers must be, too.

During a session on “migrating from multichannel to onmichannel” at eTail West, moderator Jonathan Ricard, SVP, sales and business development, North America, for BrightTag asked panelists from Gamestop, Seventh Generation, Toms Shoes, Williams-Sonoma, and 360pi to discuss where they are on the omnichannel journey and what it takes to move forward successfully. Here, an account of their responses.

What does omnichannel mean to you?

Angela Caltagirone, VP, online marketing, Williams-Sonoma: Omnichannel is about creating an integrated experience for customers and how that drives your vision.

Leah Stigile, VP, global eBusiness, Toms Shoes: Being where your customers are when they want you to be there.

Reid Greenberg, director, consumer, creative, and digital, Seventh Generation: Omnichannel has the social blending, which multichannel doesn’t have.

Jason Allen, VP, eCommerce, Gamestop: It’s about understanding how our customers are shopping and want to interact with us and then delivering than.

Alexander Rink, CEO, 360pi: It’s marketing and responding to customers in real time across all channels.

How are you investing in omnichannel analytics?

Caltagirone: Williams-Sonoma strives to understand which customers use specific channels based on their activities across touchpoints. So attribution modeling is essential. How are we driving transactions? What’s the social impact? How does mobile fit in?

Allen: Gamestop’s loyalty program, PowerUp Rewards, has 25 million members who deliver more than 70% of the company’s revenues. The program allows Gamestop to track those customers’ behaviors, including purchases. “Forty six percent of PowerUp members who visit our site purchase in-store within 48 hours,” Allen said. “That lets us have that discussion about the omnichannel experience.” And it takes the guesswork out of decision making.

Greenberg:  Analytics shows that customers who are Seventh Generation Facebook fans and on its email list have a $25 higher average order value than other customers.

Stigile: Toms looks at conversions and traffic, as well as campaign metrics. For example, it aims to track campaign performance back to sales and ROI. “For our brand it’s not always about dollar ROI,” Stigile said. “We invest in brand ROI, too.”


Greenberg: “We try not to activate campaigns in silos,” he said. Seventh Generation analyzes what channels and devices customers are using, and then aims to be there and be relevant to its customers at those touchpoints. Additionally, the company works to ensure that its shopper marketing efforts are cohesive and that it is present and responsive in social.

Rink: It’s essential that companies have a strong brand identity that serves as the foundation for its marketing strategy and initiatives.

Allen: It’s necessary to step out of a myopic departmental view and show how a decision can make a larger impact on the overall company. For example, Gamestop asked the e-commerce team to think about driving sales across channels, not just via the website. As a result, sales actually grew online.

Stigile: “Luckily, we have buy-in from across the organization for omnichannel,” she said. But the company still takes steps to ensure that cohesion over time. For example, Toms’ annual “One day without shoes” event helps people across all of its customer touchpoints come together around a single message and drive awareness about the issue of some people lacking such a basic as shoes.

Caltagirone: “Make the experience easy for the customer, not just the company,” she said. It’s about using each channel’s strengths to serve the customers who are there at that time. For example, Williams-Sonoma use store associates to acquire customer email addresses. Additionally, don’t think in silos, and have an organizational structure that helps achieve that. At Williams-Sonoma, IT, online marketing, and Web analytics are now a part of one team that looks at what’s best overall instead of for one channel or group. “Making it easy internally makes it easy for the customer,” Caltagirone said.

Greenberg:  Marketing is a 24/7 role. “We always need to know what our customers are talking about and be ready to respond appropriately,” he said.

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