SOURCE: Sterling Commerce

Sterling Commerce

October 19, 2009 09:00 ET

Cross-Channel Metrics Among Hot Topics at Retail Think Tank Meeting Hosted by Deloitte, Sterling Commerce

Industry Thought Leaders Tackle Next Steps in Vision of Cross-Channel Retailing

NEW YORK, NY and COLUMBUS, OH--(Marketwire - October 19, 2009) - Deloitte and Sterling Commerce, an AT&T Inc (NYSE: T) company, today announced the findings of the second-annual meeting of the Cross-Channel Retailing Consortium, the industry's first cross-channel think tank. Participants identified the need for better metrics to measure cross-channel success, the challenges in overcoming inventory management complexity and the resurgence of call centers as a factor in delivering superior customer service.

Led by Kasey Lobaugh, principal and Deloitte's U.S. Retail Multi-Channel leader, and Jim Bengier, global retail executive from Sterling Commerce, the Consortium is comprised of leading retailers, industry analysts such as AMR Research and Retail Systems Research, and other retail thought leaders. The meeting, held at Shop.org's annual summit on September 20, 2009, focused on how retailers can create a compelling cross-channel customer experience -- with multiple selling, sourcing, distribution and fulfillment channels working together to create a seamless and valuable shopping experience.

"Retailers recognize the potential of a multi-channel brand experience to deepen customer relationships and boost profits, but a thorough roadmap tailored specifically to each retailer's brand proposition is typically needed to plot the best route possible," said Lobaugh. "During this meeting, we discussed the different approaches that retailers are taking to achieve cross-channel excellence and deliver a transparent shopping experience to the customer regardless of channel."

At the Consortium's inaugural meeting in September 2008 participants outlined a strategy for cross-channel execution, highlighting the need for a complete "re-wiring" of retail. This year's meeting focused on tactics to support that strategy, including the need to change today's single channel metrics. The Consortium felt today's current comparable store sales measure is focused only on store performance and does not properly represent the influence and revenue generated by cross-channel customer shopping behavior. Consortium participants agreed that a new, more meaningful metric needs to be defined. Janet Sherlock, retail research director at AMR Research, will lead an effort to create that metric and work toward gaining industry acceptance for it.

Other key findings from the meeting include:

--  The call center is reborn. Attendees highlighted that call centers are
    playing an increasingly important role as a critical touch point with
    consumers.  Successful cross-channel strategies embrace the call center as
    an important channel for consumer personalization as well as up-sell and
    cross-sell opportunities.
    
--  Inventory management remains the last frontier. Attendees agreed that
    most retailers are in various stages on the path to cross-channel
    retailing, with the final challenge being inventory management.  This is
    one of the last areas for most retailers to tackle because of the
    complexity of integrating elements of the supply chain.  Attendees also
    highlighted the critical role of order management technology in overcoming
    this complexity.
    
--  Successful retail leaders have cross-channel skills at multiple
    levels.  Attendees discussed the skills and experience they believe
    executives and store associates need to successfully drive change and
    manage cross-channel complexity.  Among the trends identified was the
    increased number of Internet lines-of-business owners stepping into senior
    executive roles. Attendees also spoke about the opportunity for retailers
    to deliver on the customer experience through cross-channel sales
    associates.
    

"As we predicted last year, the need for cross-channel retailing has become a reality in 2009," said Bengier. "Retailers are taking bold steps toward rewiring their retail operations. Our work with the Consortium will help retailers continue this transformation as they employ order management technology to solve their inventory management challenges and leverage their call centers as a critical customer channel."

A webcast on the Consortium meeting findings will be held November 17. More information on the webcast can be found at http://www.sterlingcommerce.com/go/cc-consortium-findings_webcast.

About Deloitte

As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte Consulting LLP and Deloitte Services LP, separate subsidiaries of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.

About Sterling Commerce

Sterling Commerce, an AT&T Inc (NYSE: T) company, helps companies optimize and transform their Business Collaboration Network to accelerate revenues and reduce costs. Sterling Commerce provides more than 30,000 customers worldwide applications and integration solutions to connect, communicate and collaborate inside and outside their enterprise. More information can be found at www.sterlingcommerce.com.

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