The WalStreet Fireside Chat series is a quarterly panel discussion offered through the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce. February 28, 2018 expert panelists included Matt McClanahan of Saatchi & Saatchi X, Beth Gregg of ShopperBridge, and Dirk Herdes of Nielsen. (Pictured above L-R)

Bridging the Gaps to Win Omni-Channel

Consumers are overwhelmingly embracing online shopping formats, and as the market speeds toward maturity, retailers and brands need to respond with a sense of urgency to work and think differently about the ways they position their products and connect with shoppers.

While Millennials and Affluent Shoppers are leading the charge in online adoption trends, people of all generations and income levels are participating in digital consumption. Brands and retailers must re-examine the fundamentals to challenge elements of the status quo that hinder their shared purpose: getting products into consumers’ digital and physical shopping carts.

Retailers, brands, and marketers all face unique challenges in bridging the gap between in-store and digital environments. Syncing inventory across multiple platforms; optimizing products for the digital shelf; and tracking marketing ROI across an omni-channel landscape are a few of the immediate hurdles industry leaders are working to overcome.

But with new challenges also come new opportunities. The rise of smartphone adoption has added location data and mobile user IDs into the digital information pool used to identify and track consumer behavior. A new emphasis on data management systems could help brand and retailer teams gain a deeper understanding of the shopper’s “omni-channel” decision journey, but these vast wells of consumer information are too often siloed across teams, presenting a disjointed array of information. Those who are able to connect the dots between data pools to build personalized, adaptable processes are those who will become the leaders in an ever-evolving digital marketplace.

Even the term “omni-channel” shifts in meaning with context. Omni-channel can be used to illustrate cross-platform media consumption, in-store/digital shopping, or a combination of both when applied to a marketing activations. Being agile, collaborative, and innovative enough to embrace all definitions of the word presents exciting prospects for those dedicated to building seamless digital and physical experiences for today’s shoppers.