We know that omnichannel shopping is preferred by buyers of all stripes. But as a PM, how do you empower omnichannel shopping through mobile apps? And how to do this in a retail setting, when certain in-store features are highly reliant on 5G/WIFI to render desired outcomes for app users? In this talk, Macy’s Sr. Product Manager Alisher Rakhimov explains the App-first strategy for addressing omnichannel customer pain points through the lens of Macy’s Inc, one of the oldest and biggest US retailers. 

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On the digital transformation vision

According to Alisher, the north star vision at Macy’s is to become a digitally led omnichannel retailer. What does that mean? It means integrating in-store customers with the online experience. The benefit here is that omnichannel customers buy more frequently. That makes an omnichannel strategy a key part of the future survival of brick and mortar stores. And it means going beyond simply to digital ane the physicall, to offer customers a seamless experience. 

Alisher says, “We’re always thinking what’s on the horizon. And how can we responsibly make sure that we experiment and see if we can catch that wave and be on the forefront of innovation as well. When we talk about omnichannel, a lot of companies and brands focus on customer engagement, regardless of the different channels. But they focus on the engagement with a single channel. When you become a truly omnichannel retailer, you really put the customers at the center. And make sure that the customer experience is driving everything. The goal is that customers are offered a unified customer experience, regardless of the channel being used.”

On why the app is only as good as the back end

When Alisher joined Macy’s he took over the customer in-store app. This was something new, as his prior product experience was in B2B and SaaS. A key lesson: the back end needs to be truly outstanding, or customers will hate your app.

He focuses on the price check function, saying, “Scanning a barcode seems like a two, three seconds job. But behind the scenes, there are numerous codes. Is it the right promotion? Is it the right product? Is it the right inventory? Are there markups or markdowns? If it loads too long, or the price you saw on the app doesn’t match on the point of sale, that’s an issue. When we did the root cause analysis, the app was not the issue. Maybe some upstream system was down, right? Even so, people hate your app. Your back end has to really support this milliseconds of data in real time.”

On 3 key stats showing consumers love apps

  1. 70% of consumers say they are shopping via mobile apps more frequently than one year ago.
  2. 65% of consumers have used a store or retailer app while shopping in person at a brick and mortar location.
  3. 76% of consumers prefer when stores and brands offer mobile apps over shopping via website.

These stats represent that nearly every age group prefers apps. But interesting to note is the leading group in all these cases was millennials, and by a large margin. Bottom line: If you have a great mobile app, then you will get more engagement with your customers. And more stickiness as well, with every generation. 

About the speaker
Alisher "Ali" Rakhimov Macy's, Product Lead Member
About the host
Ryan Bazinet Products That Count, Senior Editor
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