Retail has changed, and customer expectations have never been higher. Is it time for you to consider omnichannel?
You get the idea that omnichannel retail means selling to customers across different platforms – online, mobile, brick-and-mortar, and direct selling. Customers can buy online, pick up their purchases at a store, or order their products online and get them shipped from the nearest store to their homes.
Whether customers choose a store-only, online-only, or store-plus-online model, it is about creating a coordinated and seamless experience. To achieve that, you need suitable systems and tools to deliver that personal shopping experience.
If you are thinking about omnichannel, here are a few things to consider.
The Right Ecommerce Platform
You need an ecommerce platform that supports an omnichannel operation. The technology for omnichannel selling must bridge the online/offline gap while keeping your customers connected to their shopping experiences.
From point-of-sale to inventory, supply chain, and fulfillment, your ecommerce platform needs to be flexible and have room to expand and adapt. For example, UK fashion retailer Oasis arms its brick-and-mortar staff with iPads, which track inventory and check product availability. The associate can place an online order for the customer if an item is out of stock in the physical store. Similarly, if customers shopping online can’t find what they need, they can use the Seek & Send service to locate the item at the nearest physical store and pick it up there. Today, these types of services are common with big box retailers. Why not your store too?
Site Responsive Design
Your customers are shopping from many devices and places: a smartphone, laptop, tablet, mobile apps, or social media. You need to optimize your site for mobile traffic to be a better omnichannel seller. You need to have a site that offers:
- Easy navigation
- Quick load time
- Uncomplicated search
- One-step checkout
The layout should be simple to adjust to smaller screen sizes, and forms (if any) should be easy to fill. Make browsing easy with quick swiping and retain as much customer information as possible, so they don’t have to spend too much time keying in details.
Training Across All Service Channels
Remember, omnichannel retail is about providing customers with a seamless shopping experience, in-store or online. Each channel addresses customer concerns differently, so you need to tailor your customer service to support that.
For better omnichannel service, merchants need to be omni-focused on marketing, communications, and customer service. Contact center agents need to be tech-savvy and must respond in real-time. Brick-and-mortar associates need to know where to find things, where to direct customers, and how to connect with them to sell your brand.
Omnichannel retail is the future of selling. As customers put convenience first, it’s up to retailers to make use of and integrate different channels to sell more and sell better.