"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results." -Churchill

John Funnell

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What Makes Multi-Channel Development Successful?

With top level executives from companies like Adidas, ASOS, Bilka and eBay gathering for two days

The ability to decrease a consumers’ time between entering an establishment and purchasing an item has become increasingly difficult as consumers become more intelligent. For retailers to contend with this savvy consumer, they must provide every need a consumer might have interest in, but which technologies will achieve this at the lowest cost, are areas that any serious retail companies needs to consider to maintain market share.

Due to these questions being relevant across all companies in the market place, competitors and colleagues assembled in Bremen at the end of last week to attend the NG Retail Europe Summit to understand the idiosyncrasies that create successful implementation, and why the long-term relationships are most beneficial.

With top level executives from companies like Adidas, ASOS, Bilka and eBay gathering for two days, only the most relevant and industry trending concepts were discussed. Included in the most important issues were how retailers could achieve profitable multi-channel retailing, effective integration of supply chain and inventory integration, cross-channel loyalty management, social media integration, promotion, pricing, assortment and organizational strategies.

SAP has been able to provide strong statistics as to why integration is the kingpin when growth of cross-channel shopping is expected to grow from 20 percent to 38 percent of total sales by 2012. This has everything to do with consumers utilizing every possible venue for searching and purchasing products that fill their retail needs.

SAP was able to argue that the cost effectiveness and ease of use solutions can provide the upper hand to retailers interested in mastering the diversity of multi-channel control. Adidas’s Marc van der Heijden, VP Global IT had already aligned multi-channel integration as its key focus area to capitalize in this growing field.

While technologies to provide consumers with their every need is crucial to multi-channeling, niche retailers and fashion houses like Guess are finding ways to capitalize in a smarter consumer. Intel was specifically interested in providing consumer trend projection solutions to the likes of Jorgen Kluwer, COO of Bilka.

The growing consensus throughout the two days in Bremen’s Park Hotel was the need to maintain effective communication lines between departments and cost effective implementation of technologies. To weather a trailing economic storm the ability to deal with mistakes or problems quickly can be achieved with open communication between branches of an institution; this concept has generated industry wide acknowledgment through the implementation multi-channel growth, which leads to revenue increases when integration is introduced properly and integration is effective with open communication.

It is extremely refreshing to see colleagues and competitors discuss the benefits of an industry in conjunction or over the needs of the company and it will be for this reason European retail market will survive and see growth in the next three to five years.

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John Funnell has worked in online media for over ten years, after achieving his First Class BSC Hons Degree (BBC Sponsored), John won Bos 18-21 Princess Trust Entrepeneur of the year at 21, setting up Clean Living Records Ltd (including www.BeatReview.com) with great success having many acts that charted in Europe and Canada. After selling the business John looked for a new challenge and joined GDS International, having a successful career in sales and Delegate acquisition, he worked up to Event Director EMEA, forging contacts with some of the biggest technology names in the world, this lead to John having a lead role in the creation of MeettheBoss.com and MeettheBoss.tv – the worlds largest business IPTV channel. John then took over as Marketing and Communications Director and ran a multifaceted global Marketing team for GDS International in New York, Sydney, Kuala Lumper and the UK.. John joined Global in 2011 with the challenge of supporting its growth by developing a solid Marketing foundation through various Digital, PR and brand initiatives.