With the rising cost of living and ongoing supply chain issues, retailers will need to double down on seamless digital and in-store experiences in order to maintain the record breaking spend of the post-lockdown era. 

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics(ABS), Aussies spent the most ever on retail, with online and in-store sales reaching a new monthly record of $33.1 billion in March. Shoppers are well and truly past the pandemic hump having spent 9.4 per cent more this March compared to the same time last year. Increased spending can be partly attributed to the modern “hybrid” shopper being firmly across the omnichannel, turning to digital and e-commerce platforms to plan and budget before heading in-store to complete the final step in their purchasing journey.

Retailers now have a myriad of opportunities to better understand and reach their customers, and as a result, are recognising the need for a unified view across their omnichannel ecosystems to manage heightened complexities across a dispersed IT infrastructure. 

To deliver the real-time responsiveness and data driven insights needed to deliver an integrated experience across the omnichannel, here are a few ways businesses can bolster their operations:

Embrace unified observability to reduce silos and link IT performance to business results 

Fueled by the rapid adoption of cloud, hybrid working and e-commerce over the last two years, the amount of data generated in-store through to logistics and e-commerce is substantial. Retailers face being overwhelmed by a sprawling tech stack and deluge of data noise, leading to missed IT anomalies and slow response times.

Ensuring key data generated in-store is not locked in silos but accessible to teams across the business is integral. Most point-of-sale systems these days are not only used to ring up purchases but come with metric reporting features giving you insight into profit margins, sales trends, foot traffic, purchase sizes and more. By reviewing these sales reports, managers can feed directly into stock orders accordingly to make reliable decisions, proactively. Beyond this, leveraging data to gain insights into product preferences, consumer taste and habits allows businesses to go one step further, to exceed expectations and build customer relationships. 

Implementing a unified observability approach marries visibility into traditional and cloud workloads with IOT and production systems, allowing businesses to troubleshoot and optimise systems and decisions as a whole.

With the help of a unified observability platform in their call centres, clothing retailer Ted Baker has optimised their contact centre staff efficiency for seasonal events including Black Friday, delivering increased team productivity and better customer care.

Unifying the omnichannel e-commerce experience

Consumers essentially have the retail world at their fingertips, with the smartphone unveiling an unprecedented amount of touch points prior to purchase. With the retail landscape becoming dominated by competitive marketplaces such as Amazon, local retailers must maintain a strong presence online that works in tandem with the in-store experience.

The challenge for IT teams is to deliver a polished, well-informed buying journey. One that is personalised and built for consumers that have a short attention span, lack time, and are looking to stretch their coin. At any sign of a lagging website, an unresponsive add to cart, or a buggy app, retailers run the risk of losing customers, because the completion process for consumers will quickly be put in the ‘too hard basket’. The digital platforms retailers live on need to work harmoniously with the in-store experience. This is evidenced by the increasing popularity of the likes of Click & Collect and home delivery on in-store items, which respond to the consumer’s convenience factor, while still getting feet in the store. 

A true omnichannel journey is one that simultaneously boosts online completions and increases in-store foot traffic. This is the modern e-commerce solution. And with that solution comes a great need to gain a holistic view of the traditional, and non-traditional channels influencing customers. With this data insight, retailers like Ted Baker are able to interpret consumer digital behaviours and further segment their audiences to personalise their shopping experience – all in real-time. 

Adopt emerging tech to analyse trends in demand and fulfill customer needs

To set themselves apart, retailers need to respond in the ‘right place at the right time’. If retailers are not adapting to consumer demand almost instantaneously, they will turn elsewhere.

AI and ML technology has the power to generate the data and insights needed to predict trends, seasonality, and foresee demand, enabling retailers to ensure they have the pipeline to fulfil what’s to come. Algorithms using this data can identify patterns and troubleshoot anomalies ensuring retailers constantly operate in a pre-emptive state.

Through the consolidation of cloud systems with IoT and production systems, retailers gain a 360° view across the entire breadth of their operations. In doing so, these systems, no matter how complex, can be quickly trouble-shooted and optimised as a whole, meaning retailers can be agile in making business decisions that are backed by data.

In an industry reliant on seamless, responsive technology; supercharging digital ecosystems will mean integrating and better leveraging the data generated by pandemic-driven technological tools and platforms. By prioritising a data-first approach, businesses can now more than ever, be agile in their decision-making, optimise existing in-store and offline technology and effectively respond to the needs of customers. 

Richard Gerdis is vice president and general manager for Asia Pacific & Japan at LogicMonitor.