In recent years, e-commerce has emerged as the fastest growing sector of the U.S. marketplace. Despite the contraction of most businesses during our most recent recession, firms and new startups have continued to enter and expand their presence in e-commerce markets. Analysis shows a high percentage of all shopping today is beginning online and the number of purchases made online is steadily increasing.
E-commerce currently represents a small share of overall commerce, but it is expected to continue to expand rapidly in coming years. As e-commerce grows, so will its impact on the overall economy and the retailers that support Bricks and Mortar (B&M). B&M is considered an important touchpoint, giving the consumer an actual location to interact with the store personnel and directly experience the products.
New e-commerce shopping carts are well outpacing the opening B&M locations creating disparity when it comes to online versus retail shopping. In the next few years we can envision e-commerce having a huge effect on the economy at large through its impact on all business sectors. Businesses and users that are either in the game or plan to jump in, will most likely benefit from a reduction in costs in terms of the time and effort required to search for goods and services or to even complete sales transactions.
This furthers the reduction in costs and results in higher productivity. Continued expansion of e-commerce may also lead to greater competition, cost savings, and changes in price-setting behavior of sellers. So the burning question is… will e-commerce continue to cause a decline in the traditional B&M store model?
It’s apparent that B&M retailers that include and/or evolve to an online presence with an efficient online store front, shopping cart, and a reliable low cost delivery model will have greater opportunities in the marketplace to prosper and grow. Which leads to a new buzz word “Omni channel”: Omnichannel is a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a B&M store.
At primaseller.com we find a good guide as to ‘what is omnichannel’. The writer gives four parts to the definition, abbreviated below:
#1. Seamless brand impact
With a combination of strong and impactful messaging, a keen understanding of their new customers and presence on all relevant channels.
#2. Multiple Customer Touchpoints
A touchpoint is any location, offline or online, where a customer can interact with you. Businesses have the task of not only being present across channels but also of providing enough information across these platforms for the customer to make a choice.
#3. Uniform customer experience
The aim of a retail business in going omnichannel is simple enough – to be present across multiple channels. To get there, you need to put the customer first, with an experience that only you can provide.
#4. Where Customers Are
The starting point for a good omnichannel strategy is considering where your customers are. Sales channels are the most obvious touchpoints- you can have both an offline and online presence, as well as sell in marketplaces. Touchpoints are all points of impact, so your social media channels, email campaigns, CRM systems – all of them come into the picture.
The most successful retailers will not only be those with a B&M presence; they will have a great front-end web presence. However, all the front-end sales and marketing presence becomes trivial if the back-end delivery model to the consumer is not highly reliable and most efficient. Your fulfillment company must be poised and ready to support your back-end fulfillment model for most any type of consumer goods or products.
However, we must not ignore the fact that the final step and perhaps most important step will be delivery. The times when it would take a week or longer for residential delivery are over. We now live in a 24/7 business cycle, in the age of instant gratification. This means accurate, reliable, trackable with shorter transit time is the winning formula of the successful omnichannel e-tailers.
For more information please contact John Bevacqua by phone or email at the following: Office 661-775-0611 or John.Bevacqua@amsfulfillment.com.
About the Freight Freak:
John Bevacqua is the VP of Logistics at AMS Fulfillment. His area of excellence is in creating distribution and fulfillment operations that function as a capable interface between suppliers, retailers, and wholesale distributors. His experience includes developing and leading FedEx/ Kinko’s Distribution Services into the FedEx post acquisition, USA Wireless Technologies, and a top Logistics Management company. He has also worked with third party fulfillment companies, preparing him for his current position with AMS Fulfillment.