Retailers are constantly being inundated with terms like ‘omnichannel’, the harmonious joining of the traditional retail store and all things online. But, says Jesse Akre, global president and COO of award-winning, cloud-based PoS provider RetailSystem, without ‘the omni’, retailers are not setting themselves up for success …

I often get asked about all the must-have retail technologies that make this happen – yes, websites, EPoS, kiosks … all are must-haves in the omnichannel (shameless plug – visit RetailSystem.com).

But even with all the right tech, the people behind it – the enablers of traffic and all things revenue and service – are the retail real deal. Without them, nothing will happen.

So, all those people, and the impact they have on the success of your retail business – who gets credit for the sale?

Before I dig in, ‘giving credit’ (most often financially) is a very tricky landscape. I am not advocating dropping a ‘new plan’ on your organisation (although maybe you need to), nor am I blind to the retail owner trying to make their revenue go 110 ways. 

But retailers dangle the incentive carrot for desired behaviours, and it is different today. I hope you read this and really think about that one next thing you can do to better drive your business. Let’s start with that …

So, in the omnichannel retail environment, who gets the credit for the sale? Let’s break down a couple of regular scenarios.

Two people are involved in the sale. Was it the first person, who spent hours lining up the perfect items for the customer? That ‘set-up’ person. Or was it the ‘closer’? That skilled negotiator that addressed the final concerns/questions when the customer came back? 

As a retail owner, the revenue bell rang. Yet from a sales effort perspective, both contributed. Naturally,that is a split. A fact of retail life as we know it. 

Fun isn’t it?! We are just getting started …

Now enter the world of the digitally influenced sale. Maybe it was an ecommerce order. Maybe a social commerce sale. Maybe it was an in-store ‘close’, with the customer doing all their research on your website first (the digital equivalent of the ‘set-up’ person above), yet the consumer electing to come in-store to do a physical validation of the product and you as a retailer. 

Let’s go one level further. The customer found the perfect sofa on your website, came in-store to validate, and slipped by the craftiest of sales associates, only to go home and buy it on your site. It happens! See the ‘who gets credit’ omnichannel clouds forming?

This has been a never-ending debate since the web in retail became a thing. It is a (fun) mess! The consumer path is no longer a predictable journey. It is not as simple as foot traffic and ‘ups’ in the retail store. That order, wherever completed, is a result of that matrix path to purchase. A random, consumer-chosen sequence of engagement points, digital and physical. Guess what? Many of your staff make that matrix possible.

All those situations above (and more) absolutely happen. Stop and think about your last purchase, and you’ll understand what I mean. Retailers today must think like a consumer, and understand how those retail magicmakers – the floor staff, the web team, and all the staff that have that bundle of responsibilities touching all parts of your business – make it happen. They all impact the sale. Some more than others, yes – but one could say retail sales have the best chance of becoming a sale if all do their part to make it happen. They should all get credit (fun!).

Is there a perfect ‘who gets credit’ answer? That perfect solution? A one-size fits all? 

I don’t think there is (deep sigh) – but there are things retailers can do to find ways that work for your business. You just need to be willing to make change, and turn that willingness into continuous improvement steps. 

It is never perfect. It is never done. Be forewarned, there will be resistance – but you know this. Remember, it’s a consumer journey matrix with levels of murkiness that must be considered. The crossing of the threshold back and forth between physical and digital is impossible to track with absolute clarity. But if you make ongoing efforts to connect the dots – you should find ways to engage all members of your team$.

Are we having fun yet?!