How Omnichannel Retail Is Impacting Businesses
It may be a cliche, but the internet has, in fact, touched and transformed everything we do. When we think of the convenience the internet brings, the first thing that jumps to our mind is shopping.
Be it for clothes or groceries or even for online content, we get whatever we want with a single click. This, of course, raises the question – is the quintessential shopper ready to give up on the brick-and-mortar stores?
In a word, no.
According to a study, about 90% of all retail sales still happen in the physical stores. But the same research also shows that 64% of shoppers prefer making their purchases online.
How do we explain or counter this paradox? Simple – with omnichannel retailing.
What is omnichannel retailing?
Omnichannel retailing is about connecting to the shopper across all the touch points, thereby providing them with a holistic experience. Most brands focus only on the “all the touch points” aspect of the above definition and simply add a website or an app to their store.
An omnichannel experience is a lot more than that. It isn’t about creating many channels for your customer to interact with; rather it creates a seamless connection between these channels so that the shopper enjoys the benefits of both an on-ground experience and anon-screen one.
Let us understand what makes a shopping model truly omnichannel by learning from these brands:
It is driven by customer behaviour
Buying innerwear is an extremely personal and physical matter. You need to be comfortable with the choices you make and often, you need guidance on what suits you. I
n such a case, it is vital that you have the option to physically touch and feel the things you like, try them on, get a second opinion before you place an order of a specific piece in many colours.
The online lingerie brand, Zivame, recognised these needs of a customer and launched the first-of-its-kind fitting lounge in Bangalore which had professional fitters advise their shoppers on the right size. Once a shopper is satisfied with their selection, the lounge gives them the option to make their purchase then and there.
By understanding what makes their customers feel comfortable at all times, Zivame came up with the perfect omnichannel retail solution.
It is brand-centric
When one lists all the brands that are breaking new grounds, it is impossible to not think of Nike. It is no different when it comes to Nike’s omnichannel retailing.
Nike launched its app for Nike Plus – the premium members – that allowed them to engage with the brand deeply. With the app, when a shopper is in the store, they get updates on the store layout, they can scan bar codes to have their sizes delivered in the fitting room and do a lot more.
But outside the store too, Nike doesn’t let the customers feel disconnected. Based on the customer’s interests and geo locations, the app sends them product selections, tips and loyalty points to keep them hooked to the brand.
It is not just virtual. It is immersive
Another pioneer in the world of omnichannel retailing is the happiest brand on the earth – Disney! When a visitor enters Disney World, they get Magic Bands – a wristband that allows them to immerse themselves completely in the My Disney Experience.
The Magic Band lets the user store Fast Passes, make dinner reservations, access their rooms like key cards and more. One of its finest features – when the visitor shops, the Magic Band lets them connect with their credit card for quick payment and even has the items delivered to their hotel room.
Now, why would the visitor ever want to give up on this magical experience?
The benefits of omnichannel retail solutions
All the examples we have discussed so far show exactly why shoppers love the omnichannel experience. But aside from giving your customers the ultimate shopping experience, what is in it for your business?
By being user-focussed at all times, an omnichannel solution makes shopping enjoyable for customers. It gives you opportunities to cross-sell or upsell your products.
It fosters a better connection between the customer and your brand, pretty soon making your company the go-to point for their shopping needs. And let’s not forget the adage – a loyal customer is worth five times a new one.
Improved data collection and analysis
As omnichannel works on several touch points – store branches, sales reps, website/app, social media – it brings data collection at every point and generates invaluable insights on customer behaviour.
It allows you to forecast more accurately their demands and preferences, leading to a more sophisticated inventory.
Reduced inventory and shipping costs
In the example of Zivame and similar experience stores, the cost of storing items is reduced without compromising on the customer experience.
Further, once the customer has made a purchase, you can determine the shipping route, which is the most cost-effective option. Moreover, with an experience store, the number of returns is reduced dramatically.
Lowered marketing costs
With omnichannel retailing, you can reduce your marketing costs in two ways – firstly, use the insights from the various channels to come up with a more targeted, customer-specific campaign.
Secondly, use your many channels as a marketing medium to get better brand visibility. Case in point – Disney’s MagicBand, which constantly keeps the brand in the customer’s mind.
How an omnichannel retail solutions provider helps
Considering how wide and deep an omnichannel experience is, a business can’t manage one on its own. An omnichannel retail solutions provider, like Vinculum, can help your brand go a long way with a host of services including:
- O2O (Offline-Online-Offline) Transformation For offline businesses, we create online sales channels, including eCommerce marketplaces, by integrating them with your retail stores. For online businesses, we create offline experiences where your customer is likely to be
- Real-time View of Inventory We help you get a unified, real-time view of your inventory across both online and offline channels, thereby allowing you to create a seamless purchase experience
- Master Data Management We help you integrate data from the multiple customer touch points like POS systems, contact centres, web stores, apps, social media channels to bring efficiency and integration in operations.
- Loyalty We help in designing omnichannel loyalty programs that are profitable to your business and loved by your customers
In today’s deeply connected yet somewhat disconnected world, omnichannel retailing has become an indispensable medium to reach out to your consumers. Only with an omnichannel experience, your brand can create any lasting impression on the consumer’s mind and stand out as someone who truly cares for their customers.
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