NRF Annual Convention Focuses on Omni-Channel Marketing

Over at the National Retail Federation‘s 101st annual convention, everyone is talking about omni-channel retailing. Along the lines of Content Ping’s coverage of the convergence between different merchandising channels, Internet Retailer reports that “Removing the barriers that separate web, mobile and in-store commerce represents one of the hottest trends in retail.”

Like multi-channel strategies, omni-channel retailing approaches make use of more than one distribution channel. Where omni-channel retailing surpasses multi-channel is in the way it makes those different channels work: multi-channel plans for multiple distribution channels, while omni-channel concentrates on integrating those channels in a more engaged, seamless approach. Omni-channel also explicitly includes television and, most notably, mobile devices in that approach.

Presenters at NRF’s BIG Show are focusing on the fact that omni-channel retailing enables consumers to “engage with retailers whenever and wherever they prefer” by going online, using mobile devices, shopping in stores, or by using some combination of these channels. David Jaffe, president and CEO of retail chain Ascena Retail Group, spoke to the potential of mobile technologies to extend–not replace–the ability for in-store clerks to better serve their customers.

This idea came up in relation to mobile point of sale technology, or mPOS, in a discussion regarding Sephora and its new brick-and-mortar store in New York City’s Meatpacking District. The store is using iPads as mobile point-of-sale devices, which Sephora’s vice president of I.T. and chief information officer Bruce Whetstone says has allowed Sephora to complete many more transactions. No word yet on how mPOS has impacted conversion rates, but Whetstone maintains that mPOS is an important new part of their growth strategy.


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