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In inspecting Omni-channel strategies in improving consumer experience, it is mandatory for the term to be defined. Today, a search throughout the web will give extraordinary results for Omni channel, and in its various spellings, signifying that this is some thing new that the masses are still finding out on. Online retail businesses tend to squander all the interest that was formerly given to offline shops such as JC Penny, even though the latter, own web sites that they use to lure customers. Most bodily stores have made substantial investments in e-commerce operations so that their organizations are supported online. Omni channel came into existence because of such instances. Since it is a new concept, not many firms have been able to take advantage of it entirely. There is limited knowledge of its execution of which these businesses have not yet explored.
Before successfully doing an Omni channel analysis, a few points have to be considered. The first one is that both offline and online marketing strategies are in need of optimization. Secondly, it is essential to provide customer support because, in business, it is all about the customers. They always reward you when they get a memorable experience. Third, a retailer should always try and get a unified view of the customers. Lastly, it is necessary to narrow down your potential customers so that the costs used in advertising and marketing are substantially minimized.
At the beginning of this year, JC Penny reported disappointing results on sales when compared to those made during the 2016 holiday season (Guillot, 2017). Thus, the company announced that they are going Omni channel as one of its strategic pillars that will help it reclaim growth and success. There were doubts concerning this because this retail company has been around for a long while and sometimes implementing change to such environment proves to be a challenge. However, to stay relevant to customers in a modern generation, every retailer is compelled to rethink how they offer their customer experience. The question at hand remains, ‘can an Omni channel strategy save JC Penny?’
According to JC Penny’s CEO Marvin Ellison, Omni channel is not just a new catchphrase that they are using. Instead, it is a strategic process that is meant to make its e-commerce operations in line with its stores. As expected, in the short span that they have used the opportunity offered by Omni channel, the retailer has registered earnings that suggest indeed their new strategy is working. The CEO commented that theirs was a company committed to becoming the highest retailer of Omni channel. So far, they are pleased with the growth curve of the company, and how their functionality has improved. The company was also able to make improvements on their new strategy by facilitating same-day pickup for customers who have made orders online. It is important to integrate both physical and digital aspects of the business because people enjoy physical shopping but also praise the convenience that comes with buying items from the web. Omni channel facilitates a pleasant customer experience that makes the buyers come back for more.
In essence, JC Penny has used Omni channel to save itself from the undertow of companies such as Amazon. Their application of this concept has proven to be effective and more retailers should be compelled to follow JC Penny’s lead.
Sears is JC Penny’s principal competitor as a retailer that is changing the way it sells. Both retailers want to have and to hold the attention of their customers by ensuring that they reach them any time wherever they are and on any device they, are using so that their shopping experience becomes easy. In today’s world, customers seek a shopping experience that integrates the physical world with the digital one where they can touch and feel products and at the same time research more information about the product from reviews coming from other customers. As such, the relentless focus of both Sears and JC Penny remains giving customers super conveniences during shopping. Moreover, both the retailers are sufficiently putting Omni channel into use in their business strategy.
According to a list made by Forrester Research, including the best Omni channel retailers, Sears came on top. The research had evaluated retailers regarding channel consistency, online experience, in-store functionality and in-store pickup. The findings were weighed by customer importance, and convenience and timeliness were heavily considered. Sears had an edge because it had the best in-store pickup services. Regardless, there is still room for improvement (Guillot 2017).
In their new catalogs, Sears has taken an Omni channel approach by completely changing how they look and feel. It aimed to reach out to its older generation customers as well as the modern mom. The images used were bold with less text incorporation but which have very interesting fonts. These catalogs were then distributed to several homes, and they were also made available on its digital platform; the Sears website. The motive was to use this to drive more people to their online market thus encourage their sales
At Sears, shopping is made fun and rewarding. Online capabilities have been brought to their stores, and their capabilities at the store are brought online, something that JC Penny is also trying to integrate into their business. The company has a free-and-instant to join program named Shop Your Way which offers the members with rewards such as e-coupons, reviews on products and e-receipts for a much faster returns and exchanges. Further, they have a new feature “Shop ‘in” on the Shop Your Way mobile application which enables customers to “check in” whenever they are adjacent to Sears stores to save money from unlocking offers and exclusive deals.
Sears have introduced SHOPsears tablets which aids both their associates and customers to find inventory, pricing, and sizes, as well as reviews that have been given to specific products. The introduction speeds the process of checking out products. Most members and customers are taking advantage of this offer because of its convenience. All these strategies have not been integrated efficiently at JC Penny’s, hence making it lag behind Sears.
The Omni channel strategy is working for both Sears and JC Penny in improving their sales. At this rate, both retailers are bound for future successes. However, at the moment, there are still struggles of experiences losses which are not as a result of Omni channel strategy failing, but due to slowness in investing the upgrade of supporting technology.
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Guillot, Craig (2017). Can Blending Online and Physical Stores help Sellers compete? SAGE business researcher. Retrieved from http://businessresearcher.sagepub.com/sbr-1645-96842-2691298/20150817/omnichannel-retail
Kersmark M. & Staflund L. (2011). Omni channel retailing: Blurring the lines between online and offline. Retrieved from https://handelsradet.se/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Omni-channel-retailing.pdf
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