To understand the new roadmaps and constraints related to transformed e-commerce and Omnichannel retail, the session of ‘Omnicomm Intelligence Series’, discussed the necessary changes and themes basis a roundtable session. The third episode saw debate on topic ‘Increasing profitability by connecting online and offline.’
To serve today’s demanding customers, unified experience across any channel is a must. ‘Connected Retail’ is the next big thing that retailers/brands will need, to shape their current retailing process and boost revenue. The session moderated by Mukul Bafana, CEO & Co-founder, OMUNI discussed about the importance of introducing a connection between offline and online retail. How profitability gets affected by omnichannel retail adaptions, especially in the post-COVID world and how today online-offline together is making a much more significant difference to the businesses. From a consumer point of view, it is necessary to provide them various avenues to shop on convenient terms.
The panelists for this session, included:
- Satyen Momaya, CEO, Celio
- Ankur Bhatia, CEO, Columbia Sportswear
- Manisha Sangani, Director, Just Watches
- Lalit Agarwal, CMD, V Mart Retail
- Kavindra Mishra, MD, House of Anita Dongre
Transition in the Roadmap of Thinking
Mukul Bafana opened the discussion by introducing the panel and asked them to express their observation on the transition of retail and thought process from their brand perspective on grounds of the current scenario. He also asked the panelists to give an overview of the state of Omnichannelisation from their brands viewpoint.
“Definitely we are coming out of a very challenging time, but we are sensing better times for our brand since the last few months. We are seeing a good comeback, as customers are coming back and sales comeback is also significant. During this period, the larger share of the sales has come from the Omnichannel platform. Being a brick-and mortar retailer, we therefore understand the importance of this platform. We started the journey two years back and so far have integrated all our stores and inventory into one platform.
We have been able to focus very highly on omnichannel. We have integrated all our stores and activities. This move has helped us in solving a lot of fundamental issues related to process, inventory, customer experience and profitability. We are seeing a huge customer base coming from areas that we have never considered before, which is a good thing. Lot of new understanding about customers has been generated. We got the benefit. We also experimented with a hyperlocal option which also worked well,” says Lalit Agarwal, CMD, V- Mart Retail.
Kavindra Mishra, MD, House of Anita Dongre says, “We have been omni for a long time. Out of our 250 stores, 120 of them are ‘Live’ through our website. Throughout this phase, we have seen good traction happening. At the end of the day, everything is tailored to the choice of consumers, and it is same for omni or third party market players as well. For brands, omni plays a very strong role, where you are able to give experience to the consumers. Right now, we are going through a very ambitious program, and as a result we are not looking at a single view of the consumer.
The website, backend, PoS, everything is going under a massive upgradation. We are doing heavy investment and it will be functional in within the next two to three months.”
“We had launched our e-commerce site years ago and therefore it was actually lucky for us. Since January 2020, we went pure Omni. We made some smart decisions. We went with Shopify, so integrations could happen faster. We got new chat profiles and took CRM profiles from our offline stores to connect it online.
We did social media marketing and it was very easy to target the right group of consumers, which helped us eventually. We moved from cash business to prepaid. Being in the watch business we gave consumers the freedom to choose where they could complete the purchase. So, these were the positive points across our journey,” said Manisha Sangani, Director, Just Watches.
Ankur Bhatia, CEO, Columbia Sportswear states, “We are still in the process of implementing the full stack of Omni. The pandemic has helped lots of businesses transition digitally and move faster. Brands have implemented a larger chunk of their future digital plans in last one year only. The transition has happened faster for us and now we are doubling up our investments and the focus is towards building capability towards ‘Omni front’. And with rentals being what they are in malls, any additional business we generate from the stores is only going to add to the profitability.”
“We started our blueprint for Omnichannel, 4 years back and we highlighted the things we wanted to adopt digitally. The multichannel act was the first thing we wanted to get on our website. We also wanted to get into the integrity of getting products delivered and also wanted to get the managing returns.
Next, we wanted to focus on converging all these and also wanted to connect the stores. For us this was the starting point of the endless aisle. Over the last two years, we have been able to reduce the inventory by 20-25 per cent and also have grown by 25 per cent in the lockdown period. In the lockdown period, about 28-30 per cent of the sales contributions have come through Omni. There are 30 per cent of consumers who are buying online and picking up from stores. I think it’s also helping the mindset change with both front and back employees, said Satyen P Momaya, CEO, Celio.
Initiatives To Woo The Customer
“We’re getting better performance. But it has to be steady. We have a team that communicates with the consumers, in case of any inconvenience or incomplete purchase. We have been able to streamline that arena and have introduced personalization to offer better support to our customers,” says Sangani.
“For Columbia Sportswear the profitability in terms of our ad spends vs the return has actually been very good,” said Ankur Bhatia.
Profitability in Terms of Inventory
“Currently the cost of savings on the inventory has been good, across all platforms, because we have incentivized the process for our store managers. We had a double edged benefit, if a normal watch is sold offline, through which let’s say they got 1Rs as incentive, here they get 25 paisa. Now if they convert a customer who hasn’t completed the shopping online, we give 50 per cent of the normal offline billing. Second benefit that we have is, training and upgrading the team on every aspect of packaging, inventory and shipping,” says Sangani.
“I think the full price contribution and sales both have gone up. Once we move to a full stack, where everything is in our control related to journey of the consumer. 70 per cent of our business happens through loyalty customer. In coming years, we are hopeful of doing more than 50 per cent of our business through digital channels,” says Mishra.
“I think with or without pandemic and with or without a good merchandising plan, the footfalls or visits to particular stores have been so unpredictable for us that digitally connecting the inventory always has improved the return and profitability for us. So, having a connected inventory definitely has merit irrespective of the pandemic,” concludes Ankur Bhatia.