December 21, 2023 | Blog

Omnichannel and the Human Connection, in Retail and Hospitality

Digitalisation of the global market has streamlined business activity with IT management, where integrated systems are providing a holistic approach that’s agile and progressive. But as technology advances at an unprecedented rate, and the world’s economies try and find stability amongst global fragility, brands are required more than ever to provide solutions that ensure their offering continues to indulge the expectation of a disruption free, customer journey experience.

At its fundamental core, consumer behaviour is geared towards problems solving, but in a post-pandemic/Brexit economy, purchase confidence remains low. Despite this, the consumer still demands quality, competitiveness, consistency and efficiency in their buying experience. Brands that are the most effective at supporting the evolving consumer preference, are unsurprisingly talented at omnichannel strategies that keep their offering responsive. In a recent interview with New Look CEO, Helen Connolly, she attributes the brands post-pandemic success from being agile and responsive to the nature of consumers shifting interest. Their omnichannel strategies place the buying power in the consumers hands, providing a purchasing journey that benefits from personal preference.

Fast-food brands such as McDonalds have shown decades of brand evolution, and their survival can partly be attributed to embracing each iteration of technology advancement. Built on the backbone of bricks and mortar, the McDonalds commitment to providing the ultimate consumer experience has seen their technology journey evolving their hospitality epos from the simplest epos system till for taking orders, to digital transactions via their app. Their latest innovation, a fully interactive digital in-store touchscreen, continues to champion their collaboration with the consumer, which on a cognitive level, remains an important aspect for retaining positive associations with the experience. Forbes tech and business insights writer Noah Barsky, points out that McDonalds growth strategy is always recognising the preferences of the consumer, and the brands predisposition for digital acumen, offers strong reasoning for why the odds of success are in their favour.

IT Innovation and the Human Connection

Apple is the epitome of innovation. Dedicated to being at the precipice of technological capability, it has interconnected our lives and influenced our cultural progressivism. The brands prowess stems from placing the greatest value on its foundational principles that retail still matters. A recent article in Total Retail emphasises the point that while some legacy brands are withdrawing from the bricks and mortar consumer interaction, Apple is going against the trend by investing in the in-store experience to complement their online store; a move accounting for 38% of their total revenue according to a recent financial report.

Despite companies recognising how essential digital innovation is for their continued growth, the human interaction remains a crucial necessity. In fact, in a recent article by CXToday, as technology continues improving, the omnichannel strategy demands stronger human connectivity, with 82% of consumers wanting to continue or experience more human interaction. This can be seen with multiple fast-food chains that continue to champion the in-store experience, which places purchasing power in the hands of the consumer with things like in-store self-service kiosks, while still interacting with staff, and the option of eating and drinking amongst other patrons; filling a void even the uncertainty of an AI may not surpass when the human connection is required.

Cometh the Artificial Intelligence

Technological advancement is something we’ve embraced over generations. From the humble helpdesk support to data software integrations – as people question their place amongst the innovation throughout the decades. Now, on the cusp of an AI evolution, we again face uncertainty, as the creators and public try to align a common morality where the consequences benefit our societies. Bloomreach’s latest article indicates the positives of a seamless omnichannel consumer experience with AI integration, where consumer identifiers are established from buying patterns and data collection, and the marketing process becomes far more personalised despite the preferred channel of interaction. Not unlike our current experience, but optimised to be on an efficiency level that promises an experience unlike all previous interactions.

Westfield London took AI innovation into the live-streaming realm with a pop-up store that focused on real time social media trends, captured by over 400,000 innovators globally. Then stylists took that data and sourced outfits from around the shopping centre, which were then shown on pop-up store screens. It was an experience in the importance of being responsive with up-to-date trends, exhibiting the future potential for the consumer experience in shopping centres. According to the World Economic Forum AI is predicted to increase the retail service sector from $5billion to $31billion by 2028, as the technology predicts to secure better processes for self-checkout, sustainability – with businesses reaching their carbon neutral obligations, optimisation across the supply chain, and above all, customer satisfaction, to name a few.

The New Frontier

Technological innovation will always be part of our societal changes, and its impact on retail continues to show what people have accepted. Largely, this is indicated by the efficiency of the interaction, quickly dictating whether the consumer will conform to the change or not. IT management accepts the integral role of facilitating the relationship with tech and human, balancing the obligation to provide a disruption free consumers experience, while upgrading their processes with appropriate global advancement. This may be one of the best reasons to adopt the omnichannel approach, as it complements this integration by providing a dynamic purchasing journey that continues to cater for personal preference.

The customer-facing trading experience has never been more dependent on the performance and reliability of technology. This informs our values at Vista Technology Support, which are principled against the legacy of providing a comprehensive service that supports our clients journey through technology advancement, and global transformation. That’s why some of the best-known retail, hospitality and healthcare organisations rely on us to supply, stage, deploy and once installed, provide preventative and highly responsive break-fix services, on-site IT and EPoS maintenance.

To see how Vista can ensure your customers continue receiving the best omnichannel experience possible, get in touch with one of our Business Development Managers OR 0330 135 5795.