Matrix Retail: The Logistics of Customer Experience


At a previous NRF Summit I saw a keynote address by Jamie Nordstrom on trends he saw coming in the online retail business. During his talk Jamie said there was a new dynamic emerging, people were describing using words like multi-channel and omni-channel. However in his view these words were not fully capturing the changes he saw coming in retail and a new word was needed, ‘maybe polychannel or something like that’.

After the presentation I had a quick meet and greet with Jamie in which I told him how much his presentation had resonated with me based on my past senior department store retail experience at Hudson’s Bay Company. I then said to him that I think I know the word he was looking for to describe the new dynamic and that was Matrix Commerce. His reaction was immediate and visceral ‘Yes, that’s it! Have you trademarked it?’

‘Matrix Commerce’ or in this case more specifically ‘Matrix Retail’ represents my own view of a rapidly emerging and more evolved omni-channel approach which I am now characterizing simply as ‘The Logistics of Customer Experience.’

Describing this further, Matrix Retail is comprised of a series of intersecting layers of combined physical and digital experiences, media, mediums, products and environments through which retailers attract, interact, engage and do business with consumers.

Mapping out these layers we begin with Attraction and Engagement, Sourcing & Deployment, Policy & Pricing, Products and Presentation, Orders and Payments, Fulfillment & Logistics, Service and Feedback, Retention & Advocacy then tune all.

Today’s post is not to detail each of these layers but to begin by presenting the above as an actionable framework for Matrix Retail and a starting point for those retailers and e-tailers preparing to accelerate and break through the e-commerce sound barrier.

Think of your business as a matrix made up of the above 8 layers with the goal to integrate all layers, physical & digital environments, related systems and processes so any buyer or customer can move through the matrix of your brand in a seamless and consistent manner with the path they follow becoming their own buyer’s journey.

Doesn’t matter if these are bricks and mortar stores or digital shopping spaces your goal is to always enhance, facilitate, delight and never impede your consumer’s journey on their own chosen path to gratification.

In a Matrix Retail world physical and digital shopping environments need to be brought alive utilizing new and emerging technologies for omni-commerce edge marketing. Beyond this enhanced enablement, successful shopping environments of the future will need to be more logistics friendly.

Over the past two years I’ve had many abomnichannel experiences, all of which stemmed from retailers inflexible policies and inconsistencies across the channels I had decided to engage with their business.

By profession I am a logistician a skill first developed in support of all the complexity surrounding war. In business, logistics has emerged as a competitive weapon around product sourcing, transportation and supply chain management.

Now the task of retail logistics complexity has expanded to encompass all that surrounds customer experience. The most successful retail firms in the future will be lead by integrated C-Level teams within which the CMO and CSCO will partner to jointly design and deliver the vision of matrix retail.

Jeff Ashcroft

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