[TechSparks 2020] Focus on tech, product, and innovation can help retailers take the omnichannel path

During his talk on transforming retail with a focus on technology, product and innovation at TechSparks 2020, Mayur Purandar, Vice President, Enterprise Architecture, Lowe's, explained what it takes to build a lasting omnichannel retail platform.

Omnichannel has been the buzzword in the marketing industry for a few years now. With the COVID-19 pandemic causing consumer behaviour to shift online, the conversation around omnichannel retail has reopened.

Omnichannel is a cross-channel marketing strategy where digital communication channels and traditional points of contact (such as physical stores) work together to create a unified customer experience. Traditional retailers and ecommerce stores alike are now adopting omnichannel retail platforms.

During his talk on transforming retail with focus on technology, product, and innovation at YourStory’s flagship event TechSparks 2020, Mayur Purandar, Vice President, Enterprise Architecture, Lowe's, explained what it took to build a lasting omnichannel retail platform.

“For brick-and-mortar retailers to go omnichannel, website speed is the key and agility is important. With an infinite assortment of products online, discoverability needs to be optimised,” he said. 

“Large amounts of data are available but retailers need to mine this information to get insights and drive decisions. Errors on ecommerce websites can have a big impact on sales,” he said.

Without a good search capability, traditional retailers, who are new to online selling, will see products in their infinite assortment become undiscoverable. For them, a high quality search algorithm with NLP capability becomes important.

Conversely, if an ecommerce player wants to go omnichannel, it needs to set up physical stores and deal with a finite assortment of products at these stores.

“For ecommerce players to go omnichannel, they need to consider that physical stores act like thousands of mini data centres. At stores, there is a finite assortment of products available and placement of products is a crucial aspect. Further, multiple stores result in multiple touchpoints with customers, so there is a greater need for consistency,” Mayur explained.

Lowe’s approach

The omnichannel approach is giving retailers the chance to introduce the BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In Store) model. Mayur’s organisation, Lowe’s, is one such retailer that has enabled BOPIS.

Lowe’s is building an omnichannel retail platform for the home improvement retail industry, and its website is growing at a fast pace of 135 percent, Mayur claimed.

“We benefited from embracing digital transformation in a phased manner early on and shifting to the cloud from legacy systems,” he said.

In India, Lowe’s is supporting ecommerce, mobile, infrastructure, and corporate systems for supply chain, distribution and corporate services. It is also enabling organisations make data-driven decisions in merchandising, store operations, finance, and supply chain management.

For more information on TechSparks 2020, check out our TechSparks 2020 website.  

TechSparks - YourStory's annual flagship event - has been India's largest and most important technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship summit for over a decade, bringing together entrepreneurs, policymakers, technologists, investors, mentors, and business leaders for stories, conversations, collaborations, and connections that matter. As TechSparks 2020 goes all virtual and global in its 11th edition, we want to thank you for the tremendous support we've received from all of you throughout our journey and give a huge shoutout to our sponsors of TechSparks 2020. 

Edited by Teja Lele Desai


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