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How one startup is facilitating a sea change for omni-channel retailing

May 30, 2014 Written by NetSphere Category: Omni-Channel

As the retail and eCommerce trade show circuit continues – with the Internet Retail Conference and Exhibition less than two weeks away – folks in the industry are abuzz with the insight that comes with attendance. Just recently, IBM hosted its annual Smarter Commerce event in Tampa, Fla., where attendees learned about the latest trends emerging in the industry. Likewise, shows like eTail East and West are also educating retail business leaders how to go to market more effectively.

No matter the show, the idea of omnicart has been a recurring theme. In fact, it’s driving a sea change in the realm of omni-channel retailing. And there’s one startup that’s heading up the charge. Hointer, a new biz that’s making big waves at conferences like Retail’s Big Show in New York, among others, has developed tools to help retailers create the ever-illusive seamless shopping experience. Centered on digitizing the in-store experience, Hointer has three products that will continue to be a big topic of conversation: eTags, Omnicart and Microwarehouses.

Its signature tool, aptly named Omnicart, works in tandem with another of the company’s products, eTags. When paired up, shoppers are able to scan a product’s eTag to get product information – instantly. Bringing the benefits of online shopping to a mobile phone, consumers can read detailed product information, personalized recommendations, style ideas, fit suggestions and customer reviews. They can also watch media clips and videos. 

According to Hointer, the products merge online and offline by allowing customers to add items to their shopping carts by tapping eTags in-store or by browsing Omnicart at home. They can then get product suggestions and recommendations in real time as well as availability information for sizes and colors.

When customers are in a physical store, Hointer likens a smartphone to a remote control, which can have clothing sent directly to a fitting room. This frees up customers from having to lug around multiple items while shopping. And it’s just as much a game changer for store associates. When armed with the Omnicart app on tablets, associates have better, quicker access to information like who’s shopping in the store as well as their purchase history. Omnicart also streamlines the checkout process, allowing shoppers to check out on their mobile devices or at the sales counter and in just one click.

Last but not least, Hointer is offering its Microwarehouse product, developed to take on the likes of Amazon.

Amazon's strategy to open fulfillment centers across the country to get closer to its customers has won it praise,” explained the editors at RetailOnlineIntegration.com. They followed up that statement by describing how retailers can cost-effectively compete with Amazon’s huge distribution model by turning their network of brick-and-mortar stores into a supply chain with the implementation of Hointer Microwarehouse tool.

“Hointer's store is divided into two parts, a showroom and a microwarehouse,” RetailOnlineIntegration.com reported, quoting Nadia Shouraboura, the company’s CEO, while speaking at the Retial Big Show. “With shoppers using the omni-cart app to scan merchandise, Hointer only needs to display one of each item in its showroom, cutting down on the space it needs for its showroom by four times.

“The space savings allows for a microwarehouse in the store, where merchandise is packed in like sardines,” Shouraboura added. “With each store acting as a supply chain, associates can have an order fulfilled at another store if a shopper wants a size or color that's missing.”

Understanding the possibilities that can come to life with Hointer’s tools, it’s not hard to fathom the company’s growing popularity at upcoming industry events. For those who will be traveling to Chicago for IRCE, meet us at booth #1443. And for insight from that show and for eCommerce news in general, be sure to stay tuned to the NetSphere Strategies blog. 

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Abbe Miller is the marketing manager at NetSphere Strategies, located just outside Chicago. NetSphere Strategies is a boutique eCommerce company positioned to help businesses transform their online presence by providing a full complement of services that starts with our strategic consulting and creative design teams, then continues with building innovative solutions and providing ongoing post-project support.