Is Omni-Channel Commerce a Fad?

Shopping online is here to stay, whether you like it or not. A decade ago, shopping online meant you would sit on your computer at home, browse a few pages of the catalog of your favorite retailer and buy if something if something piqued your interest. Then came search, for those select few who know exactly what they are looking for to buy. Today, the online shopping behavior has evolved considerably, including the choice of purchasing venues (sellers), price, mediums (channels), payment options and the whole shopping experience overall.

Sujai Shriram
Sujai Shriram

From a shopper’s experience, it is great to have multiple avenues to shop, compare service and price before finally making a purchase. But the race to get the next great shopping deal has put retailers to adapt (or die) to an evolving retail marketing landscape. Retailers are scrambling to offer new commerce solutions to its customers, trying to hamper down the massive problems that rise in the aftermath of purchasing. Enter omni-channel commerce.

What is omni-channel commerce? Consider this – you are walking in your favorite mall and chance upon a pretty little black dress in a new store. You enter the store, look at the dress and while you’re at it, a few other ones too. You really like the store. You come back home, go to their website, read reviews about a few dresses that you liked and even registered to the site and added an item to the cart. Oh shoot, you’re late for that ball game.

You drop off and drive to the game where the line is long. So fire up your iPhone and go to the site, pick back up on your shopping and buy that beautiful black dress. But you need it tomorrow. You call the customer service, who didn’t ask a million questions but refreshingly, picked up your phone number and greeted you by your first name. Not just that, as soon as you mentioned your request to change the delivery to ship-to-home to in-store-pick up, they instantly told you the order # and after confirming, changed the delivery. There was a small upcharge, but since you were such a nice customer, they even gift wrapped it for free! Now, that’s omni-channel commerce.

And behind every smooth customer experience, lies a team of thinkers, strategists, technologists and elves that work tirelessly, jumping through a various hoops, fighting the odds and bending technology to do amazing things every day. Just to make shopping delightful, easy, safe and most importantly, work for you when you most need it.

This pursuit of offering better service to their customers has been a goal for every retailer, big, medium or small. Sujai Shriram is an E-commerce and Digital Marketing expert for the company Crossview Inc., that works with Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies to achieve this milestone of omni-channel presence within a customer’s shopping experience.

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Self-checkout lines are generally faster than waiting for a cashier. This is likely in part due to the “15 items or less” request, but even so most people have a belief that self-checkout is the better checkout. That is unless they are forced to experience the “too many/few items in the bagging area” error. Ignoring the bane of grocery shopping existence, it is highly possible that eventually stores will move to completely self-checkout formats. This would lead to less point of the sale cost, less cost for employees, more space for stores, and other advantages. A downside could be that it would possibly lead to an increase in theft if implemented incorrectly.

Sujai Shriram
Sujai Shriram

Although this looks good from a seller’s perspective, this would also cut out an entire class of jobs, which could be largely detrimental to the economy as a whole. How long after department stores like Target converted to this style would a fast food restaurant like McDonalds decide they no longer needed cashiers either? Think about it, do you really need someone to be friendly (maybe try and upsell you something), or would you be perfectly happy just typing in what you wanted, paying for it, and grabbing it when it’s ready? Wait, isn’t that basically what you already do?

There are all sorts of possible solutions. Why not allow people to lease and pay for the point of sale machine, and pay the owner of each machine a tiny hourly rate such as $3/hr? Then people could eventually own multiple machines and be earning the same amount they were earning before without doing the work. The alternative is cutting out millions of jobs. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer anyone?

On the other side of things are Sujai Shriram and CrossView, who are attempting to make the market better for buyers and sellers alike by increasing ease and consistency for all.

CrossView

CrossView, Inc. is an international cross-channel/multi-channel/omni-channel commerce solutions provider that delivers strategy, technology and services for the connected commerce enterprise. An excerpt from their site, http://www.crossview.com:

“CrossView, a global cross-channel commerce solutions provider, delivers strategy, technology and services for a connected commerce enterprise. Our omni-channel commerce solutions unify marketing and technology for more personalized, profitable customer experiences. We build, integrate, launch and manage technology across all touch points, partnering with clients to understand, engage and delight customers.

Sujai Shriram
Sujai Shriram

The opportunity to attract and convert empowered shoppers comes through anticipating their behavior and preferences and engaging with them on their terms.

Whether you need to design and deploy a new business-to-business or business-to-consumer e-commerce strategy or enhance the one you already have, you want a trusted partner who understands your challenges, technology platform and can provide the business strategy to help you:

GET MORE SHOPPERS

Connect the shopper to the product, they want to buy through organic search and email.

TURN SHOPPERS INTO CUSTOMERS

Identify and remove barriers to conversion through analytics and usability improvements.

KEEP THEM COMING BACK

Build loyalty through differentiation and consistency in the cross-channel experience.

Our experienced team of Strategists, Analysts and Creatives understand the challenges retailers like you face because we’ve been in your shoes. Let CrossView help you build your brand online, increase web traffic, and customer loyalty.”

Sujai Shriram, a Project Manager at CrossView, manages a large team and works with Fortune 100 and 500 brand retailers on a daily basis, providing them with commerce solutions across the board.

Sujai Shriram – Wide-Ranging Talent

Sujai Shriram is one of the talented project managers working for CrossView, a full-service, global eCommerce solutions provider that helps companies manage all channels of contact with their target customers. Sujai helps design marketing campaigns that take advantage of e-commerce platforms and allow clients to develop the kind of trusting relationships with many customers that drive sales consistently. Sujai and the team at CrossView subscribe to cross-channel commerce approach, focused on each client’s ability to interact with their customers in a wide range of ways. Physical stores, online stores, call centers, and distribution centers are all channels through which companies interact with customers. How these interactions affect each customer’s impression of and attitude toward a specific brand makes all the difference between successful companies and those that fail.

Sujai Shriram
Sujai Shriram

Sujai Shriram focuses on digital marketing and e-commerce when he develops strategies for his clients. He seeks to create positive interactions between companies and customers on all channels of communication so that each customer develops the kind of loyalty that all companies treasure. Customer loyalty is born out of positive interactions with the company itself and a positive view of their products and services. Sujai Shriram and CrossView’s approach is to create marketing solutions that develop loyalty and eliminate inconsistency between each company’s channels. Sujai is a part of the award-winning team at CrossView because of his in-depth knowledge of retail commerce technology, and experience in delivering innovative marketing solutions designed to build positive customer relationships using all channels at a business’s disposal.

Sujai Shriram – Digital Commerce Solutions

Sujai Shriram is a project manager for the global cross-channel solutions provider, CrossView, Inc. Sujai, along with his team at CrossView, believe in omni-channel commerce. Omni-channel commerce is a school of thought among marketers in the digital age. It’s a philosophy anchored on the notion that all transactions are between one customer and one brand. Companies have to protect their brand by providing superior shopping experience for their customers across all channels of contact, from brick and mortar stores to online stores. If a customer has a good experience buying products in a physical store, the company needs to try to recreate that experience for the shopper on their online store.

Sujai Shriram
Sujai Shriram

No matter how customers interact with Sujai’s clients and their products, they need to be serviced at every step of the way. Sujai Shriram works with companies to develop marketing strategies and company policies that satisfy more customers across multiple channels whenever possible. With technology rapidly creating new channels for all companies to take advantage of, including social media and evolving online stores, creating a consistent user experience across all channels becomes more important. Sujai Shriram creates digital and e-commerce strategies designed to make his clients more competitive in all channels of customer interaction. By bringing each customer into a one-on-one relationship with each one of the brands that he works with, he fosters better customer engagement and service on all channels. Sujai’s goal is always to help companies build trust in their customers.

Sujai Shriram – Digital Marketing & eCommerce Professional

Sujai Shriram is a digital marketing professional working as a project manager for the cross-channel commerce solutions provider, CrossView, Inc. Sujai has built his expertise around delivering large scale eCommerce solutions for brand retailers. Sujai focuses on digital marketing and e-commerce solutions designed to seamlessly integrate shopping across multiple touchpoints. He and his team service leading brand retailers with the best e-commerce solutions that are tailored based on user personas, shopper behaviors and conversion techniques in a cost effective manner.

The main tenet of cross-channel marketing is that every shopping experience, at its foundation, is an intimate interaction between one person and one brand. By understanding what shoppers are looking for and how they interact, Sujai Shriram and his team at CrossView design personalized shopping experiences that are easy to navigate and trustworthy to convert each visiting shopper into a buyer. Another key tenet of cross-channel commerce is the seamless transition between one channel to another.

Sujai Shriram
Sujai Shriram

As technology rapidly advances, there are multiple avenues in which people go about their shopping. A shopper may start looking for a product in the comfort of their home on a mobile device, then switch to tablet later or their laptops; then walk in to a store to try it out and ultimately, call the call center to complete their purchase. Retailers who understand their shopper preferences and make it a central piece of their customer service have a tremendous competitive advantage with customer satisfaction and loyalty.

And that’s where Sujai and his team at CrossView enter – by leveraging cutting edge eCommerce platforms like IBM Commerce and hybris, they create a cross-channel solution that spans across online channels like desktop, mobile and tablet sites; and integrate them seamlessly with call center and in-store applications.These crucial investments not only directly improve the shoppers’ experience but also empower employees to provide great customer service.

Sujai Shriram works closely with leading brand retailers who are either venturing into cross-channel commerce or taking their current digital marketing projects to the next level of expansion.