Omni-Channel ecosystem in a retail environment is a big game changer now in Indian retail business, which is one of the fastest growing sectors offering a sizable block to the nation’s GDP. What is Omni-channel and how does it impact the business growth? Let’s analyse.

These days, consumers have various options to reach shops to buy their items and delivered to their homes. Going to store-after-store to choose a pair of slippers, delicious cake for the birthday or dresses costing less penny has become a passé. Shoppers have different options to buy their favourite items. They can go directly to a store, select the item/s and pay the bill at the POS counter which has a computer monitor, a cash drawer, barcode scanner and a thermal receipt printer.

Other option would be for them to pay to the store representative who roams around inside the shop with a hand-held mobile POS system which acts as a line buster or queue buster allowing customers to pay their bills anywhere inside or outside the shop (when the item was door delivered) so as to save their time.

So a store opens up two options for customers here to do business with them –physical purchase at their store’s POS counter through fixed POS and also through Mobile POS.

Then, let us imagine another scenario. The same store has a website and offers all merchandise through its online portal as well. So, customers have another window to purchase goods from their favourite store without visiting it negotiating traffic and parking woes. The store delivers the chosen items to the customers’ place through their own logistics within a reasonable period, saving time and energy of customers and also offering them improved shopping experience.

Stores also offer customers to purchase their wares through smart devices like mobile phones or tablets while on the move. Customers can also order their items from websites or mobile apps and pick them up from the physical store while they go back home from work.

So, shoppers get great numbers of shopping options with a store as the latter opens up all possible channels to customers to shop around.

Retail businesses which open all possible doors for customers to buy their items are known as offering  “Omni-channel shopping facility” to customers. Such shops are gaining popularity among customers these days who prefer to enjoy the extreme shopping experience with less or nil inconvenience.

According to a recent study by the leading search firm JLL India, the future of the Indian retail sector lies in its adoption to omni-channel strategy.

Omni–channel retail gives consumers a holistic and single view of the retail stores by using various channels like mobile, online stores, physical stores telephone sales, mobile apps, and any other method of transacting with customers.

Indian Retail industry is witnessing buoyancy for the last few years taking advantage of advances in technology in the fields of a supply chain, merchandising, omni-channel operations, store operations, customer engagement and fulfilment, according to Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), which specialises in investment management and real estate.

The omni-channel strategy and overwhelming adoption of customers have made retailers re-think their business strategy so as to maximise footfalls and improve their business growth, says the report.

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