One of the biggest buzzwords in retail today is “omnichannel”: leveraging core and supporting technologies to offer customers a consistent brand experience across all channels. Unlike a lot of buzzwords, however, this one is not a passing trend.
As digital transformation changes the marketplace, omnichannel strategy is the natural progression from a multichannel strategy, and it’s one that customers are coming to expect. Retailers that embrace the strategy sooner than later will not only give customers what they want; they’ll reap their own benefits.
Here are five ways an omnichannel retail strategy can improve your business:
1. Seamless Shopping Experiences
Customers often use a combination of channels to make a purchase, starting online with research, using a smartphone to comparison shop, and visiting a store to see and perhaps purchase a product in person. The majority of Americans own at least two digital devices, such as smartphones, desktop or laptop computers, and tablets, according to Pew Research, and 75% of customers want a consistent experience wherever they engage with a brand, according to research by Salesforce. An omnichannel retail strategy ensures that every experience a customer has with your brand is undeviating, from the look to the pricing and checkout.
2. Real-time Information
Customers look for data to make buying decisions, and 57% of salespeople believe buyers are less dependent on salespeople during the buying process, according to Hubspot. An omnichannel retail strategy puts information about inventory, pricing, reviews and availability a click away, giving customers a wealth of data that can assist with their purchase. In fact, 82% of smartphone users say they consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store, according to Google. Additionally, omnichannel retail provides sales associates with the same information, allowing them to demonstrate knowledge and answer customer questions.
3. Low-friction Transactions
An omnichannel experience allows customers to pay online and then pick up in store. It also offers flexible checkout options, such as mobile POS systems that let sales associates complete transactions with customers inside the store instead of sending them to queue. Also, omnichannel strategies allow your establishment to effortlessly integrate more flexible payment methods, such as mobile wallets.
4. Enhanced Customer Interactions
Omnichannel technology can personalize the shopping experience by integrating customer cloud-based data that is captured and stored during different touchpoints. In fact, 79% of shoppers want retailers to send them personalized offers based on their purchase history, according to Salesforce. An omnichannel strategy also allows a retailer to offer product recommendations that guide customers through the buying journey, loyalty programs that encourage repeat business, and chat features to quickly help customers get answers to their questions.
5. Back-end Enhancements
While most of the benefits of an omnichannel strategy are customer facing, the technology also helps retailers improve operations. Functions such as inventory, payment systems, asset management, personnel systems, and customer loyalty programs can be integrated across all of a retailer’s platforms. Of course, improved systems allow retailers to better serve customers. For example, accepting in-store returns of items purchased online often cannot be processed on regular POS systems, but omnichannel technology desegregates in-store and ecommerce transaction history.
Adopting an omnichannel model is smart business, especially for retailers who lead the way when it comes to technology. The experience only heightens customer experience, making your store more efficient with its data and service.
Explore Epson’s flexible and innovative retail solutions to evolve your brand’s retail experience.