Omni channel eCommerce links together the physical and digital lives of brands. More and more, consumers are expecting to shop not only when they want but also where they want and expect a similar experience regardless of the channel. While services such as in-store product pick up and 360 degree inventory visibility are still gaining popularity, here are some other solutions that online retailers can use to assist in blurring the lines between their online and offline retail experiences…
Store Inventory Visibility
Shoppers want assurance that their time won’t be wasted. Whether they’re browsing an online catalog, or considering a trip to the store to make an in-store pickup, consumers need reassurance that their purchase won’t be placed on backorder. According to Sheldon, “the reason the consumer wants to buy online and pick up in store is not because they want to go to the store, it’s the convenience.” When your consumers aren’t sure of inventory availability, chances are they’re going to buy from a competitor who guarantees their order will be fulfilled when and how they want it. Toys”R”Us, for example, provides inventory transparency across channels and touchpoints, ensuring that their customers never have to worry whether they’re shopping on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.
Mobile Holds The Key
Much has been written about how retailers’ adoption of omni-channel tools and processes can impact the customer engagement model. Customers have shopped across multiple channels for some time, but what is noteworthy is the potential impact that omni-channel commerce can have on customer engagement in the store.
The combination of omni-channel capabilities and mobile technology rewrites the rules for customer engagement. Retailers now have tools in the store that leverage information and capabilities from other channels to deliver a personalized shopping experience. The result is a more consultative engagement with a higher likelihood of a satisfying transaction.
Retailers should leverage multiple social channels to connect with customers, but it is important to prioritize and identify those channels most relevant to your customer base. Remember that these channels are all about being social. That means being responsive to customers and building conversations—not only on products but on lifestyle and important trends. This can have a profound impact on how consumers perceive your brand. Don’t forget—your social channels are just that—a channel. Social channels are part of the omni channel experience, so it is important to ensure your merchandising and store operations teams are aligned and engaged in your social media conversations.
Pay attention to Millenials
This is important because the Millenial generation is forming the shopping culture of the future. These individuals have grown up with the benefit of the latest technology, so an omni-channel and technologically advanced retail experience is what they expect and demand. They also heavily influence members of other generations, so it is crucial to keep in touch with their evolving needs. Make sure to give your customers a special in-store experience every time they visit.