2014 State of Omni-Channel E-Commerce Retail Strategy

2014 State of Omni-Channel E-Commerce Retail Strategy

Monday, September 22 2014

The State of Omni-Channel Commerce
MAGIC’s in-depth look at the state of omni-channel marketing and e-commerce for fashion brands and retailers in 2014

Written By N. Jayne Seward


In order to succeed in business today, you must “move toward where we are going.” Those are just a few words of wisdom shared by Xcel Brands’ CEO Robert D’Loren at the seminar titled, “Taking A Designer Brand Into the Omni-Retail Future,” which was held during MAGIC’s Seminar Series in Las Vegas. According to D’Loren, Xcel Brands next development with QVC is “mind blowing.”

Xcel Brands’ programs on QVC, which include Isaac Mizrahi, Judith Ripka, and Liz Claiborne, reach over 10 million viewers per month and are broadcasted to over 115 million households in the United States and Canada. “Globally, as we roll out with QVC, we will be broadcasting into 320 million households [in nine countries],” says D’Loren. Selling on interactive TV will be an incredible opportunity for Xcel Brands and a huge disruptor at retail. There will be 500 million interactive TVs within the next two years, according to D’Loren. “If you think we’re seeing a decline in mall traffic [now], watch what happens in the next 24 months!”


     


“The evolution of shopping is really where we’re going,” explains D’Loren. Everything is changing and everyday there is something new. It’s not just in the apparel industry, but virtually every industry is affected. As technology advances, the acceleration of change will to continue to increase. “It’s important to realize the way people shop will continue to change and you must position yourself for the future,” advises D’Loren.

Omni-channel retailing is the result of the technology era’s shopping evolution. Brands engage with customers by utilizing multiple shopping channels to maximize the consumer experience. It can be challenging to build a brand identity across multiple channels, which range from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce, mobile apps, and interactive TV. Yet, in today’s challenging retail environment, brands must continuously innovate, analyze and understand consumer data, and establish a two-way conversation and relationship with customers.

 

“A lot of companies are talking about being omni-channel, but they’re struggling with this,” says D’Loren, because a customer must experience brand consistency across all channels. “That’s where it gets very, very difficult,” he says. A key point to remember is that it’s not all about technology. “Technology is just this great enabler, which makes it possible to reach a lot of people with a similar message and to engage in a conversation,” he explains.

Despite technological challenges, one aspect remains constant - sales and follower satisfaction can be achieved through great products and developing relationships with customers. The key to omni-channel retail is really all about collaboration. “It’s very important to understand how to collaborate with partners, to have conversations with your followers and your customers wherever they are today.” D’Loren advises brands to listen and follow the rules. Most importantly, he says that brands should be open and honest. “Don’t bullshit your customers. They know it and they will crucify you on social media if you do.”


    


Most brands today communicate with customers and followers across a variety of channels of distribution, but the one channel that’s increasing in importance is social media. “That’s where you’re going to make your customer believe that she or he is important to you,” says D’Loren. Xcel Brands communicates with its customers every day and through every minute of every sale. “While Isaac or Judith are on-air, we’re tweeting, blogging, and tweeting her video on her tablet while she’s watching. And she tells us immediately what she’s thinking. So we’re living this in real- time,” he explains.

While technology is exciting, many are struggling to keep up with the speed of change. “My response is, business today is like skiing on a steep, very difficult slalom course, where convictions change by the minute because every time that skier comes down [the slope], the course changes,” says D’Loren. “That’s just business today and that makes it very, very challenging.” While there’s risk in innovation, D’Loren challenges brands to look to the future. “The steeper things get and the more things change, the farther ahead you have to be.”

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock and Krista Peck.