Whether they shop online or in person within your store, today’s consumers not only know what they want; they also know when they want it.
Meeting the needs of today’s shoppers helps cement your relationship with them, and makes them more likely to return to you in the expectation of more great service.
Successful retailers are meeting those needs by adopting and offering Omni-channel shopping to their customers.
Omni-channel shopping is all about creating a holistic, consistent and personalised shopping experience.
In this Blog we examine what the consumer needs are in today’s technologically empowered society, how Omni-channel shopping is meeting them, and what that means for the future success of your retail business ……….
Take Jenna for example. She is a twenty-four year old woman, holding the position of sales administrator in a local building firm, drives her own car and socialises at the weekend with her boyfriend or girlfriends.
During her birthday party Jenna received an £80 eGift Card from her family for her favourite local clothing retailer directly to her phone, complete with a personal message from the retailer.
That night she visited the store’s website and spent half the gift card on two blouses.
The blouses were delivered the next day and after trying them on, she decided to keep the green one but return the purple one.
At the weekend she drove in to town, met her girlfriends at the store, and returned the item at the till, spending the rest of her eGift card on a skirt & accessories.
A week later, Emma received a personalised promotional coupon on her mobile phone for a matching shoulder bag.
The following weekend while at the football with her boyfriend, she called the shop to check the shoulder bag was in-stock, purchased one with the coupon, and arranged for her mother to collect it that afternoon.
Jenna’s experience is what today’s successful retailers call Omni-channel shopping and it’s not difficult to spot what made Jenna’s experience live up to her expectations.
The retailer didn’t tell her that her eGift card must be spent on the website, or refuse to accept the return because it was bought online?
Additionally, the retailer didn’t forget all about her immediately after her purchase, or consider her an in-store customer exclusively?
Everything was perfectly seamless across all consumer touch points, consumer focused, and set up to cater specifically to her needs and preferences.
That’s what today’s shoppers expect in this age of the consumer.
Technologically empowered, information-driven, convenience orientated shoppers, are compelling retailers to become “customer-focused” in order win their custom.
In seeking to meet the needs of consumers, the bar has been set extremely high by successful retailers like Amazon.
As a result, consumers have come to expect seamless transactions that answer all of their needs and tailor their shopping experience to how they prefer it.
When the consumer doesn’t get what they want, they vote with their feet, taking their cash elsewhere.
For the first time in retail history, customers are asking to do things that many merchants cannot support.
Modern consumers want to:
- Browse product information on their laptop or smartphone.
- Buy online but pick up (or return) at the store.
- Receive digital coupons or discount codes on their phones.
- Call a store customer service desk with an enquiry.
- Make purchases on their mobile phone, even while in a store.
Today’s connected consumers are naturally combining all the channels available to them as they browse, research and buy.
Retailers who adopted Omni-channel shopping early are supporting all of these desires – and consequently they are reaping the benefits.
The Smartphone is the biggest driver of consumer habits towards Omni-Channel shopping as shown by the following statistics:
- The IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index calculates that 27% of retail sales now take place online.
- The IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index forecasts an 11% growth in 2016, when it predicts eCommerce sales will rise to £126bn.
- 59% of online sales in the UK are now through smartphones or tablets.
- 82% of consumers consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store.
- 33% have switched intended brands due to information received during a purchase decision.
- 25% “showroom,” or shop in-store for an item they later buy online.
Why are so many retailers behind on this growing Omni-channel opportunity?
Some are limited by mind-set, a fear of change from something they understand, which often arises through not understanding the technology which makes modern retailing happen. It can even be a fear of the cost of investment in that technology.
Either way, restrictions on buying behaviour can seriously discourage purchasing in your retail business.
Ask yourself, if you had an aged shop layout and shop fittings which were discouraging consumer purchasing in your retail store, would you invest in a refit to save your business?
The real winners in today’s retailing world are those retailers who have changed their mind-set and actively lowered or removed the barriers to purchase by getting to know, investing in, and delivering an Omni-channel experience through an EPoS system such as OpSuite.
Omni-channel retailing means providing a seamless experience as you communicate, interact and sell to customers through integrated online, mobile and in-store experiences, mobile devices and systems.
Omni-channel retailing relies on a true integration of all channels, not just an ad hoc cobbling together of different systems.
Once the channels are truly integrated, the potential for retail success is so much greater.
By combining traditional bricks with modern clicks, retailers are seeing their customer value and total sales rise.
This is the potential available to your business today.
With a customer’s journey to your till no longer being a direct one, perhaps it time for you to have a change of mind-set and start to get organised for this new world?
We think you’ll find that the software and systems behind Omni-channel retailing are a lot simpler to understand than you first imagined, and that the financial investment is similarly lower than you imagined.
There is though, no one-size-fits-all solution.
Depending on your retail segment, mix of online and bricks-and-mortar sales and market presence, you will need the right Omni-channel formula to tailor a solution for your customers.
We would recommend an assessment of your company’s Omni-channel readiness as a first step towards providing the features that will help you gain and retain shoppers – and boost your sales revenues.
We’ll work with you to build your brand and improve back office performance, leading to increased profits for your business not just for this year end but well into the future.
We look forward to helping you with the future EPoS needs of your growing business.