The growth of e-commerce has rapidly changed the playing field for retailers. Today’s consumers want to shop anytime, anywhere. They are expecting retailers to interact with them, and their smartphones have become their personal shopping assistant. Customers are becoming more powerful and more knowledgeable, and insight of modern consumer behaviour is of great importance for the retail sector. As a retailer, you can reap the revenue benefits of these so-called omnichannel shoppers, provided that you are well informed of this new consumer behaviour.
Omnichannel is a revolution in retailing
This new system of retailing– connecting stores, e-commerce, mobile apps and social media – is referred to as omnichannel retailing. It represents a dramatic shift in how we think about retail, but it is a change that comes with huge opportunities. By adapting to customers who use digital technology as part of their shopping experience, you can increase your sales both online and in the store. Moreover, with online sales, your market becomes bigger– domestically, locally or worldwide. And by improving your brand awareness online, you will get more customers in the store. We will take you through some examples below of how to succeed.
Visible and customised online
The first thing to do is to provide the best technical customer experience both online and in the store. Ensure that customers will be enabled to move between different digital channels, like for instance from a smartphone to an iPad without friction. Create more value by integrating retail channels with social media. Invest in new technology in your store, for example, in-store touchscreens and tablets. A user-friendly appearance online is central for attracting the omnichannel consumers.
The second thing is to offer is the same direct contact with your customers online as in the shop. Customisation and personalisation are the keys to winning the loyalty of this customer segment.
The third and most complex thing is to provide customised offers and loyalty programs depending on interests, buying preferences and on geographical position. This is a challenge for marketers, but it pays off. And it is also a central and vital function of omnichannel retailing.
Seamless shopping experience
Omnichannel consumers want to have a seamless shopping experience; wich means giving them the ability to interact and complete transactions on their terms. One customer might like to view an item online, purchase it by using the smartphone, and return it to the store. Another one might order the item online, pick it up in the store and pay it with the smartphone.
A seamless shopping experience also means that you must be able to provide both in-store pickup and ship-from-store possibilities. Many retailers report that a considerable amount of their e-commerce sales are picked up in-store. Once the customer enters your store, you have even more opportunities to expand the customer experience and the size of their order.
Brick and mortar retail– still important
Even though e-commerce has increased enormously, the fact is that digital does not just drive e-commerce; it gets people into the store. That means you can both increase your sales online and offline. Nowadays digital information is influencing more and more of our purchases. It is easier than ever for consumers to make price comparisons and access to product reviews. However, still most shopping is done in store. According to Techcrunch.com, 73% of consumers still want to be able to try or touch a merchandise before they make a purchase– something they cannot do online.
Another sign of that physical stores still are important is that several online shops are opening stores or showrooms in the major cities. So omnichannel shopping is not a threat to the physical store. It is a compliment that carries the promise to increase your revenues.