The Future of Shopping Series: The Latest Buzz Word in Retail…Omnichannel
Each blog will focus on an a different aspect of retail and will consider the implications on both retailers and consumers, starting with the latest retail trend of Omnichannel strategies.
All you need to know about the latest buzz word in retail…omnichannel
Ultimately, omnichannel removes online vs in-store thinking and focuses on creating a cohesive retail strategy across all platforms from mobile, call centre, online and in-store to create the optimum customer experience.
Customer behaviour and why omnichannel is so important for retailers
In the past customers have been in one of two camps, either sticking with in-store or online shopping. Now, however, people very rarely stick in one camp when shopping and a large amount of customers will do a mixture of both to purchase just one item.
For example, when purchasing a pair of boots, you may start with some online research, then pop into a store to try them on to make sure you have the perfect fit, then check real time prices online via your mobile, to discover the same same boots are on sale with a competitor. You may check with the cashier if they offer a price match promotion but are informed that in-store can not compete with any online prices. So you decide to order the boots then and there on your mobile which includes free next day delivery. Resulting in a happy customer but not a sale for the in-store retailer.
This is just one small example of many where a customer is engaging on different channels to make one simple purchase. If a retailer can consistently target and create a joined up user journey then all efforts will result in a sale and ultimately customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
What does omnichannel mean for retailers?
Retailers need to take customer service seriously in order to be competitive. Customer choice is in abundance and customer brand loyalty is in decline. Retailers need to set themselves apart in order to be successful.
Retailers need to invest time in their omnichannel strategy, align their customer experience across every touch point available and remain consistent. Customer shopping behaviour is changing and retailers need to adapt and even preempt customer expectations in order to beat the competition.
No more online versus in-store, now it’s all about collaboration and providing the best service via every customer touch point.
Why do retailers need to implement omnichannel strategies?
Historically businesses would create a divide between online and instore business. This created division and even competition within the same organisation. Instead of focusing on the main goal, making a sale for the organisation, it would be league tables of performance for online versus in-store. Many organisations still work this way. For example, Thomson holidays have a completely different price and service if you visit a store, call or visit the website, all of which operate separately like three competing businesses. This creates a confusing shopping experience for customers and tension between departments.
Amazon is embracing omnichannel
Amazon’s new strategy to trial AmazonGo has gained attention recently. They do not have the history of competing with their own store before so they can start from scratch and implement an omnichannel strategy with no baggage. They have created a user journey that combines the online shopping experience seamlessly with their new in-store offering. Customers already have their Amazon accounts with payment details set up and ready to go. They utilise mobile technology and in-store technology to add items to a customer’s account automatically to create a self-service experience with no check outs.
Creating a streamlined customer journey by implementing omnichannel strategies will result in unparalleled customer experiences and ultimately success for organisations, just like Amazon.
The next in our Future of Shopping blog series will focus on how technology will help retailers achieve their omnichannel strategy.
Retail Business Technology Expo is being held at the London Olympia on the 8th and 9th May 2017. If you would like to visit imageHOLDERS exhibit, please click here to sign up for your ticket.
imageHOLDERS specialise in tablet kiosks and device integration, ideal for retailers and self-service industries. For more information call +44 (0)1202 892863 (UK) or 1 877 450 2172 (US) or email [email protected].
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