Shopping today is no longer an either/or proposition: either you buy online, or you buy in store. Instead, it’s a why not both. Why not browse online, pick up where you left off in-store, and complete the purchase with that product in your hand?
These are today’s omnichannel customers. Harvard Business Review surveyed 46,000 shoppers and found that 73 percent used multiple channels to complete a purchase.
The question for retailers is now: How can we craft a seamless omnichannel experience to drive sales and customer satisfaction?
Know your shoppers and competitors
The rise of e-commerce cuts both ways for retailers. It can drive more consumers to a product or brand, but can also connect those same shoppers to competitors, given the simplicity of finding the lowest price and easiest buying experience online.
Market intelligence allows retailers the advantage of knowing their competitive landscape, thereby allowing them make smarter changes quicker—and at scale. Before optimizing the omnichannel experience, retailers must understand who their shoppers are, what they want to buy, and how they prefer to make those transactions.
This level of visibility can educate retailers on where and how to make their channels work together – a Namogoo survey found that a majority of consumers are in brick-and-mortar stores while researching those same products online.
Cater to customer preferences
In the six years since PwC began looking at consumer research, the number of their survey participants who shop via their mobile devices increased by 133 percent.
More shoppers are making their purchasing decisions across multiple channels. As a result, retailers should cater to their omnichannel preferences.
How retailers can create a seamless customer experience:
Manage out-of-stocks: Track retail data from suppliers, ensure store employees have the tools needed to monitor SKUs, and see the stores from the eyes of shoppers. If a website says a product is in-stock, it has to be on the shelf.
Offer user profiles: Provide a way for shoppers to take their search history and product preferences with them across channels. A user profile can accomplish this, as consumers can log in at home, browse the website, save their searches and pick them up in the brick-and-mortar store as they complete their transactions in person.
Leverage technology: A smartphone app can provide coupons. Interactive in-store catalogs can streamline browsing, and price-checkers around the brick-and-mortar location can speed up comparisons.
First things first
There are many ways that retailers can craft a seamless customer experience across multiple channels. Before any action can be taken, though, they must know what consumers want.
How customers explore omnichannel retail can depend on what they are buying. Then, retailers can take steps to optimize their shopping experiences for their target audiences.