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Does a Lo-fi Approach to Omnichannel Work?

At the top of each year, WGSN attends the National Retail Federation’s Big Show, a conference that brings together retail executives and innovative brands. The show also includes a tech floor, which is full of screens and devices that are meant to engage customers and provide an omnichannel shopping experience.

Inevitably there’s going to be some timelag between what’s on display at a trade show and what hits mass retail, but it’s always surprising to not actually see more of this technology at the store level during the back to school season when Millennials finally have an increased reason to visit.

That remains the case this year, but it was nice to see that retailers are thinking smart in terms of delivery and service instead. Stores including Macy’s, Kmart, and Gap are allowing customers to buy online and pick up in-store or utilise a sales associate to find and purchase the item online if they can’t find it in real life.

These are great services, and a significant step in the right direction for omnichannel. But are retailers losing out by not providing digital screens or endless aisles? For now, the answer seems to be no. Until retailers have the time and money to maintain seamless technology, I think a lo-fi approach works well. An omnichannel experience doesn’t have to be sophisticated. It just needs to work.

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