The retail sector is always evolving. Technical disruptions, shifts in shopping behaviour and changes in consumer expectations mean that the industry has become competitive – and retailers must make sure that they are keeping pace and adapting to the changes.
As a result, many retailers are taking an omnichannel approach. It’s no longer enough to just focus on the bricks-and-mortar side of the business – they must create a unified shopping experience across online and offline platforms, including mobile browsing, retargeting, social media presence and e-commerce. An omnichannel strategy engages consumers across all channels, creating an integrated and consistent brand experience. In fact, research has shown that retailers with a strong omnichannel strategy retain an average of 89 per cent of their customers, compared to 33 per cent for brands that don’t implement one.
Offering an omnichannel approach means there are more channels for consumers to purchase from – on an app, a website or in store – which can boost traffic and sales. It also means that transactions can be carried out using multiple platforms. For example, if a consumer sees an item online that they would like to purchase, they can reserve it to collect in-store. This retail journey means that brands are able to engage with consumers cohesively across all channels.
Generally speaking, face-to-face interaction creates better customer relationships than purely online interaction, as it allows for a more personalised experience, so brands should look for ways to merge their offline and online operations. A good example of this is the Apple store – customers book an appointment online, before heading to the ‘Genius Bar’ in store, where the adviser will know the details of the customer’s issue in advance. This integrated approach creates a seamless brand experience from online to offline platforms.
Starbucks has also successfully merged its digital and physical offering with the introduction of its app, which allows customers to order their drinks in advance – meaning that time-poor consumers can skip the queue – and pay via the app, accumulating points on their virtual rewards card. The app also lets customers locate other nearby stores, view the menu and identify which songs are playing in store, creating a truly integrated experience.
Digital touchpoints, such as HMY’s Digital Store solution, have also shown to have a positive impact on retail sales. This solution allows for the integration of the online environment within the physical store, as the customer has real-time information from the point of sale. This includes information about the complete catalogue of products, available stock, updated prices, personalised offers, as well as recommended products, therefore creating opportunities for cross-selling.
Creating a unified brand experience across all channels is essential for an omnichannel approach to retail and is the best way to keep up with consumer expectations – and to stay ahead of the competition. Get in touch with our team to find out how we can help your brand improve its retail experience.