Harmonized Retailing: A Lethal Blow to Omnichannel
The challenging nature of shopping is solved better through Harmonized Retailing than with Omnichannel Retailing. The term ‘harmonized retailing’ recently came about in a Forbes article by Steve Dennis where he explains that “a great customer experience has never been about being everywhere… What matters is showing up for the right customers, where it really matters, in remarkable ways”.
A Google-driven definition for harmony is “an arrangement of parallel narratives which present a single continuous narrative”. In retail, narratives include: in-store shopping, online shopping, product availability, pricing, customer experience, etc…. So, I ask myself, what happens if one of these narratives isn’t in harmony?
Let’s look at inventory…
Without RFID; inventory accuracy for retail apparel hovers around 60%. If you don’t believe me, just ask Professor Dr.Bill Hardgrave from the RFID Lab at the University of Arkansas . He does a great job at breaking down the traditional “category/financial” approach to inventory accuracy versus the “SKU-level” approach with the latter being how customers shop – they look for a particular size/color/style jean – not just any jean.
With RFID, because you can track your inventory throughout its lifecycle, inventory accuracy increases to 99%+.
The effect of the Internet of Things (e.g.: connecting shoppers to products) amplifies the inventory narrative. For example, retailers who link shoppers to products via ‘click and collect’, ship-from-store, or other; are all examples of leveraging the RFID-enabled connection.
So, for pitch-perfect harmonized retailing RFID is essential.