The customer journey is no longer bounded by the physical store. Instead, it is dotted with interactions, influences, purposeful discovery, and experiences that culminate in the acquisition of goods (through purchase, lease, or borrow arrangements). If the adage, "the customer is always right!" still holds true — and most retailers think it does — then every retailer, whether it operates stores or not, must consider the impact of the omni-channel shopper on its business. After all, retailers tell us that the most profitable shoppers are those who shop across all available channels, spending on average at least 30% more than single-channel shoppers because of the added convenience and engagement of the physical-digital converged shopping experience.
Because brick-and-mortar stores continue to enable 90% of retail business in the United States, retailers with physical stores have an advantage: a prebuilt marketing and fulfillment network. When that network is combined with a digital presence and an omni-channel engagement strategy, retailers can execute and outperform single-channel competitors. The challenge, of course, is orchestrating and instrumenting the efficient movement of goods to the consumer while providing the expected service level, with all the additional overhead of an extended physical footprint.