E-commerce is no longer about simply selling online, it’s about delivering a consistent shopping experience across all customer touchpoints, including mobile, social and in-store.
Integrating your marketing, customer service and supply chain across multiple channels, and keeping it as personalized as possible, can be challenging. But in 2015, multichannel is no longer enough to satisfy the demands of the connected consumer.
Accenture found 49% of consumers think integrating stores with online and mobile touchpoints is where retailers need to improve the shopping experience most. And companies with omnichannel customer care strategies have 91% better year-on-year customer retention rates than others. Clearly focusing on the omnichannel experience pays off.
But where to begin?
The simplest way to become a successful omnichannel retailer is to think about your customer first. Imagine a customer opens an email from your business on her phone; later in the day she goes online to check out your site, and then heads to your store over the weekend, checking product reviews on her phone as she browses. No matter where she ends up purchasing, her interaction with your brand should remain consistently positive across every channel.
Your in-store employees should be able to answer questions in the same way your online support team can, your mobile shopping cart should be just as simple as your desktop site, and your inventory should always be up to date so a customer who can’t find a product in-store can be easily redirected to ordering online.
Your digital and physical stores should support each other in the pursuit of one goal: making the consumer shopping experience as seamless and simple as possible.
In a recent SapientNitro study of 73 retailers, only 12 synced customer wishlists across mobile devices. Target was the only one to support in-store retrieval of wishlisted items. All retailers must do better to keep up with the customers of tomorrow.
“Omnichannel is transformational. It changes everything that it touches in the retail business model, and we’ve only really experienced the first wave of that…this is the tip of the iceberg—these are going to be the trends that are influencing retail for the next 20 years, not just next year.” – Nikki Baird, Retail Strategy Research analyst
As you look to optimize your omnichannel business, take time to see how the following areas could be improved to create a totally frictionless experience:
- Returns: Is the customer able to return a product in-store, even if it was purchased online?
- Product Info: Is your pricing and product information identical across all channels?
- Inventory/Order Visibility: Can in-store employees easily look up a customer’s online order history or track down a size that’s out-of-stock in-store?
- Loyalty: Is your loyalty program easily accessible to reward customers no matter how they shop?
Looking for a partner to take your omnichannel business to the next level? IBM’s Sterling Order Management system provides a centralized inventory, order promising and fulfillment hub to support omni-channel retailers. Contact the Zobrist team today to get started!