The rise of digital and an ever-changing economy has had significant ramifications for retailers and consumers alike, effectively altering the roles that brick-and-mortar and other channels play in the space. The idea of which channel is most effective or whether one channel will threaten the future success of another has been widely debated throughout the industry, though the answer is not as clear-cut as many would assume. According to projections by Forrester, ecommerce sales in 30 retail groups are expected to grow to $414 billion by 2018. But while online sales are naturally increasing at a much more rapid rate, don’t discount brick-and-mortar just yet. The US Census attributed 92-93% of all retail sales for Q1 2016 to brick-and-mortar retailers. Colleen1ROur own Colleen Oates, managing director at One Rockwell, supports a holistic mentality: “Multi-channel doesn’t mean buying online and picking up in store. Multi-channel is the ability to create a community and deliver an experience that is considerate, and more importantly, one that adds value to your brand and your end consumer. Overarching technology and resource vetting, efficient requirement gathering and documentation, and smart project planning and data analysis are key in order to pull this off." Certain verticals have the type of product and service offerings that are ideal for delivering a multi-touch experience, specifically in the wellness and beauty space. Considering experiences such as in-store diagnostic tools, service bookings, and auto-replenishment of goods, implementing a 360-degree approach feels natural rather than forced. Here are a few examples of brands that are leading the charge in offering a holistic approach to the customer experience: L’Oreal introduced an app, Makeup Genius, which applies virtual reality to replicate the in-store shopping experience from the shopper’s home. In less than two years, the app has been downloaded more than 14 million times. Sephora’s collaboration with Pantone to create an innovative Color IQ system has set a new precedent with consumers. Their system matches the shopper’s skin color to 1 of 112 different shades and presents each product that matches the shade. The system is available both in-store and online and includes additional filtering options, such as SPF protection or powder/matte finishes for a concealer. Nike’s showcase store in London, dubbed the NikeFuel Station, offers customers floor-to-ceiling LCD motion-sensing walls with digitized reflections. Using augmented reality tools, complete with interactive touchscreens with animated product information, and digital mannequins scattered throughout the stores, Nike seamlessly blends the digital and physical shopping experiences. The brand projects it will grow total sales to $50 billion by 2020, with ecommerce sales accounting for one-third of the overall growth. Goop, the wellness and lifestyle blog created by actress Gwyneth Paltrow, has quickly emerged as a competitive player. Originally a blog and newsletter founded in 2008, the company now has over one million subscribers and an ecommerce platform that sells an array of brands, such as Carven and Phillip Lim. It showcases exclusive partnerships with brands, such as Stella McCartney and Diane von Furstenberg, and has approached the physical space with pop-up shops in Dallas, Chicago and L.A. Glossier, an online-born beauty brand that describes itself as a “content-driven, vertically-integrated beauty product company,” presents itself as an interactive brand, taking cues from the continuing online dialogue with customers. After experimenting with iterative roll-outs, including a pop-up shop in 2014 and a showroom in 2015, Glossier has raised $10.4 million dollars and currently has a 10,000-person waitlist for the most recent collection. For years, there has been a stigma around the investment needed to truly achieve multi-channel commerce. What digital allows us to do is approach multi-channel fulfillment in an iterative manner. Powerhouses and emerging brands alike are leading the innovation revolution. Multi-channel is not generational, seasonal or vertical-specific. It’s all about delivering to meet the expectations of the end consumer. Larry1RStrategic digital consultant and One Rockwell advisor Larry Promisel has seen a major shift from his early years at barneys.com and coach.com: “It's imperative to realize that this is not a one-size-fits-all business – the merchandising, marketing, systems, technology and fulfillment all vary and are just some of the touch points. Many times, the recommendations are to break these touch points into more digestible parts with key areas of focus. It's also imperative to develop targets that are realistic and achievable within your own business and competitive set.” It appears that retailers who focus on a multi-channel approach, and are integrating these disparate channels, are coming out on top. When brands allow their digital, physical and wholesale approaches to work in tandem, rather than in contention, they offer their customers the ultimate shopping experience. To learn more about One Rockwell, visit our website or contact us at hello@onerockwell.com.