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Illustrating the Strain and Opportunity of Omnichannel

By Vijay Ramachandran,
llustrating the Strain and Opportunity of Omni-Channel

Manhattan Associates recently attended the National Retail Federation Big Show in New York City, and this year’s show stood out for one obvious reason. The 2015 Big Show recorded the largest ever crowd at the historically popular show – 32,000 attendees, according to the NRF.

The event is retail’s biggest industry showcase each year, but the overwhelming attendance figure shows something else is at play. Every retail organization is trying to keep pace with omnichannel, a phenomenon that touches every shelf of the warehouse, every employee no matter the location, and every seat in the boardroom.

Welcome to Retail’s New Normal

The above graphic was created by Manhattan Associates to show organizations what they’re up against.

We did the math. There are now more than 1,440 combinations of ways to sell, fulfill, and deliver products in today’s retail environment—and it’s increasing rapidly. This is retail’s “new normal.” Growing customer expectations and greater competition online have caused retail formats to proliferate. We’ve used a Circos diagram to show the myriad possible flows between selling and fulfillment options, and used the width of the lines to show prominence relative to other formats.

The open space in the top left of the circle illustrates a window of opportunity for retail’s next decade: revolutionizing the in-store experience, which today owns a rapidly shrinking majority share of consumer attention.

This graphic, displayed at the NRF Big Show, drew significant attention to Manhattan’s booth. It is simultaneously compelling and daunting—it illustrates that retailers cannot embark on an omnichannel strategy without robust, single platform technology behind it, and without partners that can make omnichannel realistic and profitable. 

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