Meeting Today’s Shopper Needs With Omnichannel Retail

COVID-19 paved the way for many e-commerce innovations, but it wasn’t the first time a company had made such a dramatic transformation. The e-commerce giant Alibaba created the concept of a “new retail” in response to the outbreak of SARS in the early stages of the company’s development. It refers to the seamless integration of the physical and digital worlds in relation to your business and all its operations. Similar things are happening all over the world today. The term omnichannel retail is gaining attention throughout the industry as business owners integrate operations with all offline/online channels to provide an integrated, seamless commerce experience. According to Shopify, nearly 50% of brands consider integrating online and physical touchpoints as one of their biggest challenges. As a result, 53% are investing heavily in omnichannel strategies.

What Does Omnichannel Mean?

Omnichannel retail (or omnichannel commerce) is a multichannel approach to sales that focuses on providing seamless customer experiences whether the client is shopping online from a mobile device, a laptop, or in a brick-and-mortar store.

According to Harvard Business Review, 73% of all customers use multiple channels during their purchase journey. The State of Commerce Experience 2021 shows that almost half (44%) of B2C buyers and 58% of B2B buyers say they always or often research a product online before going to a physical store. Even when in-store, they will still go online to continue their research.

Only when customers have gathered as much information as possible from a variety of sources to support their purchase decision, will they decide to buy from a retailer. Omnichannel operations focus on the entire customer experience—not the customer’s individual experiences on different channels.

Omni-channel retail is the process of marketing, selling, and consistently meeting customer needs. Whether it’s a website, social media address, or stationery store, the goal is to cover all customer touchpoints in a unified way. Sounds good, but is it effective? According to a Harvard Business Review study, such a cohesive retail strategy allows business owners to provide a seamless customer journey across offline and online channels. This approach not only provides retailers with a unique shopping experience but also provides competitiveness to online-only competitors by leveraging in-store products. This idea also makes a lot of sense economically. Why keep your virtual and physical channels in separate silos when you can give end-users the best of both worlds?

What are the Benefits? 

While the pandemic had a lot to do with shaping new buying behaviors, all it did was disperse the daily transactions across new business channels, making the shopping experience more convenient. This is what a shopper’s survey by NRF points out as well. It suggests that convenience is more important to them than ever before. Today, people have multiple ways to shop, and they won’t hesitate to try out each one of them in the pursuit of convenience. Meeting them at all touchpoints just makes the whole shopping experience better and more convenient. Something omnichannel retail addresses with ease.

Allows businesses to be distinct amid competition

With businesses homing in on winning online customer attention, sticking out in a crowded playing field requires a better shopping experience. Achieving that will require a recalibration of end-users buying behaviors and adapting to new business strategies. Most of the information you’ve gathered about your customers must be dated and might require rethinking along the following lines:

  • The way products are assorted
  • Customers` preferred sales channels
  • Marketing strategy
  • Business messaging

Keeping these aspects under consideration and implementing the appropriate strategies will increase customer satisfaction–resulting in inflating customer success metrics.

Deliver cross-channel promotions

With omnichannel retail, you can deliver more value to customers through better incentives and offers. For instance, you can offer discounts on Instagram, which can divert some eager customers to your brick-and-mortar location. Pull them into the physical store while they also interact with your online channel. This increases customer loyalty, provides a foothold in web and physical stores and improves inventory turnover. On average, Nielsen’s Total Audience Report suggests that Americans spend more than 10 hours on mobile devices. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of online traffic and force them to come to a physical location.

Enables data-driven decision making

With the rapidly changing market needs, some businesses will have to optimize their advertising and sales channels to stay in sync with what customers want. Comprehending these valuable insights helps you identify customer pain points and allows you to channel your valuable time, energy, and resources where they are most needed. A well-devised omnichannel retail strategy will allow you to consolidate valuable data from all commerce touchpoints. This centralized information will make inventory management, customer interaction, and delivering an enhanced customer experience a breeze and help you make informed decisions, every step of the way.

Wrapping Up

Customers today seek convenience and want everything on-demand. This means that companies need to be aware of these behavioral changes and readjust their commerce strategies to achieve the desired results while improving the customer experience. One of the best ways to do this is to use a solid omnichannel retail approach. It will help you stay relevant to the game, make shopping more convenient for shoppers, make your business fail-safe, and keep it growing.

Do you want to hop on and learn more about the industry’s best practices? Get in touch with us today and we will help you with the guidance needed for starting an omnichannel commerce experience. It will allow you to easily synchronize your offline point-of-sale with your virtual store, reaping all the benefits of omnichannel retail.