Retail is forever changing. And, whether it’s the rise of mobile commerce or the need for faster delivery, it’s essential for businesses to stay on top of the latest developments. Failure to do so could see them falling behind competitors and losing out on potential custom. So, what’s the latest movement in the world of commerce?
Read on as we look at the emergence of omnichannel retail…
Language nerds will know that omni – from Latin “omnis” – means “all”. And that’s exactly what omnichannel retail refers to. It’s about combining different channels of shopping to provide a seamless shopping experience for consumers. Also known as multi-channel retail, it combines ecommerce on desktop, mcommerce (mobile commerce), bricks and mortar retail and even telephone shopping.
How does it work?
Omnichannel retail goes beyond simply providing multiple online and offline channels. Instead, it’s a fully-integrated approach, where each channel is treated as a touch point within a broad retail service:
- Sales staff in-store will be able to identify the previous purchases and preferences of a customer
- Online accounts will provide simple ways to check inventory at local stores, or have items delivered for pick-up
- Customer service staff on the phone, or on webchat online, will have access to information about both online and in-store purchases
The end goal is to get the most out of each channel. Instead of having multiple separate, limited channels, customers have access to one broad, wide-ranging service that caters for all their needs.
Benefits of omnichannel
In 2017, the Harvard Business Review studied the effects of omnichannel retail on 46,000 shoppers. They found that 73% used multiple channels of shopping, with 7% online only and 20% only using the brick and mortar store. On average, multi-channel shoppers spent 4% extra each time they made an order in store and 10% extra online compared to store and online-only customers.
The difference only became clearer the more channels customers used. Those who used 4 or more spent 9% more than single-channel shoppers. Strong omnichannel customer engagement also improves customer loyalty, with 89% retention compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel presence.
A work in progress
Admittedly, some elements of omnichannel retail are already evident. It’s become commonplace to order items online and pick up instore, for instance. Yet in 2015, Forrester found that just 6% of retailers had no significant barriers with their omnichannel operations.
And despite clear benefits to order value and customer retention, research suggests around a fifth of retailers see omnichannel efforts as a leading priority. With that in mind, it may be some time before we see the full potential of omnichannel retail realised.
Your omnichannel ecommerce experience
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