Omnichannel Latest Issue for Young Executives

Next generation executives review how innovative channel leaders are creating an interactive, digital retail landscape.

Capping a day of information sessions at the annual National Advisory Group (NAG) Conference Sept. 12, members of the Young Executives Organization (YEO), part of NAG, gained some futuristic insights.

In a session entitled “What Does Omnichannel Mean to Convenience Retail,” members got a glance at what some retailers are doing to better compete with omnichannel strategies. Omnichannel is most often associated with a seamless shopping experience that often combines in-store, online and mobile device capabilities.

Pat Lewis, partner and co-owner of the 24-location Oasis Stop ‘N Go c-store chain based in Twin Falls, Idaho provided a perspective for a breakout session for YEO members. Lewis is also the CEO of Kickback Rewards Systems, which provides programs in conjunction with more than 2,000 companies and is the largest loyalty program in the U.S.

SKIN IN THE GAME

Companies that Lewis profiled included Estée Lauder’s Clinique, which has been successful in engaging customers with its innovative Clinique Skin Lab. Carrefour, which operates Connected Kitchen—an online shopping solution was also cited. Both merchants are using innovative means to draw potential consumers in through advanced tools including mobile-powered kiosks and interactive signage.

In another retail channel, Walmart is expanding its pick-up site capabilities so customers don’t have to step foot in a store. The initiative is called Walmart Pickup, which lets customers go online and pay for orders, and then pick up the order at the store or designated center.

“Again, they’re taking the friction out of transaction,” Lewis said.

Looking at other innovative retailers, Starbucks, Lewis said, continues to break new ground in mobile ordering with its newest app that allows consumers to find the nearest location on a map, order and pay for it all on their mobile device. The same interactivity is available through Apple for patrons looking for service stores.

Lastly, Amazon continues to excel on different retail levels, changing the perspective retail landscape with such platforms as Amazon Go, its convenience platform that utilizes sensor technology so patrons don’t have stand in checkout lines, as well as Amazon Locker, Amazon Prime Now, which promises free two-hour delivery, and Amazon Prime Pantry, where Prime members can shop for groceries and household products in everyday package sizes.

Conveniences stores are also making omnichannel headway, including his , Lewis said. He described a new store, also located in Twin Falls, that features a mobile app, ordering at the pump, Applause marketing at the pump, drive-through and order pickup.

The NAG conference concluded Wednesday.

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