How Retailers Are Adapting Their Digital Strategies To The Omnichannel Age


Even though BJ’s isn’t as large as its warehouse club counterparts — Costco or Sam’s Club — the retailer packs an omnichannel punch. Last fall, for example, the wholesale chain rolled out a redesigned mobile app built nearly entirely around an enhanced experience.

“The new mobile site is an important step in our omnichannel transformation,” Rafeh Masood, SVP and chief digital officer at BJ’s stated at the time. “More and more members use their mobile devices every day, and enhancing the BJ’s mobile experience makes shopping more convenient for our members.”

BJ’s is hardly alone in its endeavors, as retailers around the world are introducing the digital technology that their consumers want in order to compete in the omnichannel age, according to the PYMNTS Omni Developer Report. Here’s how retailers are adapting their sales strategies to compete in the world of eCommerce.

— Retailers that successfully deployed in-store mobile features saw a 146 percentage of sales growth. This jump in sales, which was the outcome of research by IHL Group, could be due to the fact that customers who interact with an in-store associate through their mobile devices get a more personalized experience out of their shopping trips. To make their experience even easier, sales associates can use technology to complete customer purchases while they’re in a mobile conversation with a customer. This kind of feature provides associates with the ability to cross-sell and upsell merchandise.

— Seven out of 10 — or 70 percent — of large merchants include progress bars on their websites. Companies such as GoogleLinkedIn and Box use these tools to show users how far along they are in a set of tasks — for instance, filling out a form at checkout. By using percentages, merchants can encourage users to add their personal information or complete other actions during the checkout process. In a sense, progress bars gamify the checkout process by adding “missions” or “levels.” By doing so, merchants are able to fill inherent needs of users to have goals, accomplish goals and know how far along they are to achieving them.

— Nearly half — or 44 percent — of consumers rank digital coupons as the most important omnireadiness feature. Customers who order online — whether for pickup or delivery — at SpartanNash, for example, will receive an automated message whenever they purchase something with which a digital coupon is associated. Items with coupons will also be flagged onsite so customers will know there is an offer on which they can be acting. And, in 2016, Target expanded its app, Cartwheel, to include the capability to support manufacturers’ digital coupons, making a wider range of products available for discounted prices, which contrasted with Cartwheel’s previous application offering partial discounts for select goods.

— Thirty percent of businesses reported information theft, loss or attack in 2017. Corporate fraud has hit an all-time high worldwide and pushed fraud numbers up with it.  For the first time on record, data theft has now surpassed the stealing of physical assets. A little under 30 percent of businesses reported they had suffered information theft, loss or attack in 2017. Around 40 percent of executives reported their companies suffered a virus or worm attack, while the second-most frequently cited attack was email-based phishing. As a result, retailers have to keep data security in mind. “There is a convergence between physical and digital threats, with issues arising from equipment with sensitive data being stolen or lost, for example, or employees with access to highly sensitive information accidentally or intentionally causing a breach,” Jason Smolanoff, senior managing director at Kroll, said.

— There was a 22 percent increase in online fraud attempts during the 2017 holiday season. Attempts to commit online fraud jumped during the holiday season, increasing 22 percent from Thanksgiving through December compared to a year ago. That’s according to data from payments company ACI Worldwide, which found that along with the fraud increase, overall online transactions also jumped 19 percent from Thanksgiving to the end of 2017. ”Over the 2017 holiday shopping season, merchants experienced significant growth in their digital channels, coupled with a substantial increase in fraud,” said Erika Dietrich, director of risk management for ACI Worldwide in a press release. “The consistent, alarming uptick in fraudulent activity on key dates is a signal that merchants must be proactive in their efforts to identify weak points across the omnichannel payment process and define the short- and long-term strategies necessary to improve security and enhance customer experience.”

To help with digital innovations, BJ’s is forging ahead — quietly, as always. Earlier this year, the retailer recruited Naveen Seshadri to its omnichannel team in the newly created position of VP of Digital Commerce and Experience. Seshadri comes to BJ’s Wholesale Club from Lonely Planet.

“BJ’s has made significant advancements in our omnichannel capabilities, and I’m pleased to have Naveen join our team,” Masood said. “Naveen has extensive experience in driving omnichannel transformations, and his leadership will help as we work to deliver more to our members.”



About: Accelerating The Real-Time Payments Demand Curve:What Banks Need To Know About What Consumers Want And Need, PYMNTS  examines consumers’ understanding of real-time payments and the methods they use for different types of payments. The report explores consumers’ interest in real-time payments and their willingness to switch to financial institutions that offer such capabilities.