3 minute read
The more people hear about omnichannel retailing, the more they wonder how it can be used to benefit their business. Last week in Part 2 of our Omnichannel Strategy Series, we discussed how to integrate data for meaningful insight. In this portion of our Omnichannel Series we will be focusing on the goal of omnichannel retailing: improving customer experience.
Part 3: The Customer Experience
Q: What is point of omnichannel retailing?
A: Improving the customer experience and generating customer loyalty.
That’s what omnichannel is all about. Improving the customer experience by making it easier and more convenient to shop via any channel. It’s where you’re at the center of the shopping experience, picking and choosing which aspects of the brand you engage with. Are you someone who likes to do all your research at home and buy things in-store? Perhaps you’re more impulsive and you often do research and make purchases on your mobile? Or perhaps you’re more of a social shopper, checking reviews and influencer opinions before making a purchase? Omnichannel retailing allows each of these customers to follow their path to purchase in whatever way meets their needs.
Blurring the Lines
One of the biggest changes is how the in-store experience has shifted. Whereas brick-and-mortar stores were once the pinnacle of retail channels, today they are one piece of a wider multichannel strategy where the lines separating one channel from another are blurred.
As a result, physical stores often serve a different, more specific purpose than before. A number of once pure-play online retailers have started to open up brick-and-mortar stores to serve as a place to make returns, engage with the brand, and even find exclusive products.
For example, the once online-only retailer Frank + Oak added a number of physical locations in select cities where customers can try on different styles and even schedule an appointment with a personal stylist. Not only that, but Frank + Oak upped their omnichannel ante by seamlessly connecting shopper profiles both online and in-store so that store credit can be spent anywhere and style profiles stay up-to-date.
Mobile has become one of the most important devices for commerce as shoppers are constantly using their smartphones for discovering, researching, and purchasing new products. In fact, 82% of smartphone users say that mobile helps to make in-store purchasing decisions and 21% of shoppers have made a purchase on their mobile device while looking at the same product in-store.
The challenge for retailers then becomes controlling the online experience for in-store shoppers. One technique retailers are using is putting QR codes and short links on packaging and around the store which direct shoppers to dedicated landing pages. The value of having these around the store is not only that it makes it easy for shoppers who want more information to get it, but it also reduces the chance that they will end up on your competitor’s site.
Next week we will be ending our Omnichannel Strategy Series with tips to help bolster your possibility for successful channel expansion. Be sure to check out our blog next Wednesday for our wrap up discussion.