Should retailers be making investments in new technology?

by Michael Dattoma

Q: After the past 11 months our e-commerce and omnichannel focus has helped us to survive and get products to customers, but our technology is older and we are doing it all manually. Should we be making investments in new technology for a true digital transformation of the business?

Michael Dattoma: In case you didn’t receive the memo, everything has changed in retail in the past 10 months.

The merging of the digital online experience and the in-store experience has been in the making for many years, but COVID-19 had accelerated this transformation at a 10-times multiple rate.

In fact, Forbes reports that 98 percent of people believe that purchase, delivery, and returns should be easily available across multiple channels. Here are some additional facts:

  • According to a report by IDC Retail Insights, retailers utilizing multiple channels in their marketing and retail saw between a 15 and 35 percent increase in average transaction size, along with a 5 to 10 percent increase in loyalty customers’ profitability.
  • Companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89 percent of their customers, compared to 33 percent for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement. (Aberdeen Group).
  • 50 percent of consumers expect to buy online and be able to pick up in-store (Business2Community.com).
  • The opportunity cost of not being omnichannel is 10 percent in lost revenue. (VendHQ.com).
  • According to an IDC Study, shoppers that buy on multiple channels have a 30 percent higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel.
  • According to a recent survey by Periscope, a unit of McKinsey Solutions, retailers are struggling to move at the speed their consumers want and need. Periscope’s survey found 78 percent admit there is no one brand experience across their channels.

Look, the key to handling any problem is awareness. So, the questions you need to ask yourself are….

  • Is your business providing customers with a fast, easy, seamless experience between e-commerce and your stores?
  • Are you making it easy for customers to find the product they want, across all your channels in real-time, and then have order-fulfillment that gets that product in their hands in a fast and effective way?
  • Are your stores and your e-commerce experience complementing and enhancing the customer experience, making your physical stores a weapon for engagement, customer satisfaction, and loyalty?

Here are some things you may want to think about:

Make 2021 the year that you respond to this new market reality and get your stores and e-commerce on a nimble cloud-based Unified Commerce Platform.

Consider dumping your tired, old, expensive to maintain legacy technology and remove all the bottlenecks in your data flow so that Omni is possible.

There is a path, a journey to this digital-omni transformation… so your retail business can engage your customers like never before, across your physical stores and e-commerce.

This requires a modern approach to modern retailing. No more lines between the physical and digital. It’s one seamless brand experience.

Are you ready to rise to this challenge… to not just survive….but to win your customer’s loyalty?


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Michael Dattoma is the president of The Bart Group Retail Merchant Services in New York. Michael has been consulting with specialty retailers for over 20 years. The Bart Group Retail Merchant Services delivers broad expertise to specialty retailers in areas including cloud point-of-sale and inventory control, unified commerce solutions across all sales channels and elimination of silos, mobile POS, CRM, and clienteling. Michael and his team advocate for independent specialty retailers to help empower them with the resources, tools, and expertise to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Ask Michael about retail technology solutions that reduce costs, improve efficiency and drive revenue. michael@retailmerchantservices.com / www.retailmerchantservices.com.