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The NPD Group Blog: Retail Should be Omnipresent, not Omnichannel

According to our friend Matt Powell, well-known author of Sneakernomics over at the NPD data research group, “What we need in sports retail is a customer-centric approach. Brands and retailers are no longer in charge of the conversation or transaction; the consumers are 100 percent in charge, and they demand to shop whenever, wherever, and however they want. In other words, retail must be omnipresent, not omnichannel.”

He breaks it down for you further on the NPD blog, and we’re reprinting it here for you with his permission:

I’ve never liked the term “omnichannel” to describe the new sports retail environment. To me, this is looking at the business from an old school, logistics-driven point of view.

What we need in sports retail is a customer-centric approach. Brands and retailers are no longer in charge of the conversation or transaction; the consumers are 100 percent in charge, and they demand to shop whenever, wherever, and however they want. In other words, retail must be omnipresent, not omnichannel.

Brands and retailers no longer create trends; they feed trends. In order to feed consumer-driven trends, brand and retailers must have their products available 24/7 and on a variety of platforms. The sports consumer is moving back and forth between various shopping platforms. An omnipresent retailer must be able to meet the consumer wherever he/she may be.

Omnipresent sports retail will change the platform of physical stores. Stores will now be showrooms for a broader online assortment, warehouses for e-commerce fulfillment, and return/exchange centers.

So, how does a physical store become omnipresent?  By developing one singular view of the consumer.

Omnipresent retail has one database housing all the transaction history from their customers. These databases also have information on sports consumers’ preferences and interests. There is only one retail inventory at an omnipresent retailer. All inventory—whether in a store, warehouse, or even in shared vendor sites—is visible and common.

Omnipresent retail has one price, regardless of where the sale is completed. That price must be transparent, matching any other competing price in competitors’ or brands’ sites.

There can only be one voice for an omnipresent retailer, which means marketing messages must be consistent across all platforms.

Omnipresent retailers have one set of policies for everything like returns to shipping fees. Policies must be consistent, regardless of where the consumer ships. It is also critical that loyalty programs are consistent across all platforms. As loyalty programs become even more important, the platform cannot dictate the programs.

As the Internet of things becomes more pervasive, and with the growth of voice controlled shopping, omnipresence will become even more critical to brand and retailer success.

Lead image courtesy of Park Meadows Colorado Ski & Sports

Aaron Bible