Consumer behavior is constantly changing. As technology becomes more advanced and presents more ways to shop, retailers must adapt quickly in order to stay relevant. To the consumer, your brand should feel the same, regardless of whether they are shopping online or in-store. Each channel should be a flawless extension of the other. Ultimately, bringing all the channels together to create one smooth and seamless customer experience (omnichannel strategy) is critical in retail today.
Benefits of an Omnichannel Strategy
Seamless Shopping Experience
The brick and mortar store is your biggest single brand touchpoint. It is where customers interact with your store associates, who serve as your brand ambassadors. It is where customers experience each facet of your brand, and is the place that truly delivers on your brand promise. Integrating the digital and physical channels seamlessly allows the customers to access the best of both worlds. For example, ordering online and picking up in-store. Retailers who deliver effectively across all customer shopping channels are able to attract a wider range of customers and create a higher degree of brand loyalty
Improved Customer Experience and Brand Loyalty
Better data collection allows retailers to personalize to their customers and provide a more compelling and relevant offer. A 360-degree view of the customer allows you to consolidate a single customer’s purchase history across all channels. Using purchase history to tailor online ads and in-store suggested selling allows associates to simplify the customers’ journey.
Increased Overall Market Sales
Developing a single view of a customer’s purchase history allows a retailer to understand each customer’s lifetime value. This allows that retailer to make better product and assortment decisions, as well as more relevant and compelling customer offers. Following the customer from one touchpoint to the next creates a better and more seamless experience, resulting in increased brand loyalty.
The brick and mortar store is essential to any retailer. It provides a forum for a customer to interact with your brand. It has been proven that when a retailer opens a brick and mortar store, the online sales in that geographical location increase. The opposite is also true: when a brick and mortar store closes, the online traffic and sales will decrease in that geographical location. More digital offerings in-store (such as endless aisle) increases both in-store and online sales by creating a frictionless customer journey. Measuring market sales based on decisions that are made across all channels that are supported by a physical store will shape the future of Specialty Retail.
One channel is dependent upon the other. Brick and mortar and online are not competitors wrestling over the same wallet. On the contrary, they work hand in hand and the correlation between the two is evident.
A Change in Mindset Is Needed: Omnichannel Retail Provides More Opportunities
The single most important touch point is the brick and mortar store. Despite the growth in digital transactions, the importance of physical retail continues to be reinforced. Customers like to shop ‘how they like to shop’. If they like an item that they have already purchased, they may shop online to get the same item in a different color. But the need to touch and feel items will never go away. Fulfilling your customers’ tactile senses remains an essential part of the customer journey.
Ensuring consistency across all channels in terms of product and offers, coupled with frictionless commerce, eliminates disruptions in the Customer Journey. It also enables the potential to deliver exceptional experiences. An omnichannel strategy is essential to building brand loyalty and is becoming the norm. Soon, the word “Omnichannel” will simply be replaced with the word “Retail.”
StoreForce can help you to achieve your retail goals and labor planning effectiveness. Interested in learning more? Contact us and engage with one of our retail experts as to how we can future proof your overall retail store management.
Jean-François Vinet is a Client Engagement Manager at StoreForce. In his role, Jean-François interacts with client resources to provide guidance and input on how StoreForce can support their operational initiatives while building relationships at various levels in these respective organizations to ensure a strong partnership and collaboration. Prior to joining StoreForce, Jean-François helped build, train and develop teams in various retail organizations. Jean-François is a strong advocate of teamwork and collaboration, he values communication and leadership above all else. Jean-François likes to play viola on his spare time and is an avid skier and outdoor enthusiast, you’ll know where to find him when he’s out of office!
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