Omnichannel Retail Guide Chapter 2
The importance of omnichannel retail
While eCommerce seems to grow substantially, physical stores still continue to dominate in most categories. Thus, to succeed in today’s omnichannel retail world, business owners need to boost sales in both online-offline stores by embedding accurate retail insight into their merchandising process. This chapter will help you understand why a retail need to go omnichannel by answering 2 questions:
- How customers have changed their insight in shopping
- Why omnichannel retail insight has gone beyond customer expectation
The rise of omnishoppers
At the “Internet of Things” era, every retailer is expected to have an online webstore. In the early of 2000s, it was predicted that e-commerce would soon dominate the whole retail market due to the convenience of making a purchase within some clicks.
However, this scenario has not come yet, since statistics from Omnichannel Shopping Preferences Study has shown that:
These figures seem to turn retailers to focus more on physical channels, but let’s have a look at the chart below:
Source: Harvard Business Review
As shown in this chart, only 7% of customers are online-only shoppers and 20% of themare offline-only customers.
This points out a huge number of 73% of customers shopping across channels. It means that nearly 3⁄4 of customers are using multiple channels during their shopping journey.
However, what they demand now is more than shopping in multiple channels. They expect to experiencea near-real-time shopping journey in various channels, which is called omnichannel retailing. Consequently, these majority of multi-channel customers will be simply converted to omnishoppers.
Higher customer’s expectation
In the digital century, people can connect with each other by a click.
You can inherently see the fun fact that the number of devices now is bigger than the number of people in your house. It means that modern consumers have plenty of channels to approach your products as well as your competitors’ and that has changed the eCommerce rules.
Particularly, good looking e-commerce site is not enough for your business to succeed in the long way.
Moreover, you need an accurate retail insight on customer expectations, such as the high speed and the convenience customers gain when shopping at your store (both online and point-of-sale at physical stores).
No matter what they are searching for, a $10,000 watch or a $10 toothbrush, they don’t care about anything but a seamless buying experience.
What customers expect is meet – need.
And this is the origin of “Why omnichannel is important”.
Let’s study an example. If a customer comes to a store and her favorite product is out of stock, she can easily lose her interest in that store. Even in case the staff can quickly check and summon that item from other branches, it will take so long.
Imagine that a 90-second red traffic light can drive people crazy, so how long she can stand waiting for that staff?
In the end, she expects that her favorite product has to be always in store. Otherwise, within the period of a click, she would like to know how she can get it, where she can go to and pick up at store or when she get it shipped to her house.
Similarly, online shoppers expect the same thing. They don’t want to see the “unavailable” or “Out-of-stock” tag under their favorite products in the webstore.
Besides, according to a survey conducted by Force, 98% of interviewed people believe that purchase, delivery and returns should be accessible through all channels.
In a nutshell, it indicates that the ongoing digitalization has resulted in a new generation of customers who use different channels and devices during their buying journey. They also express an increasingly higher expectation from retailers, especially a seamless experience rather than just high-quality products or services.
Fortunately, omnichannel retailing would give retailers the view of retail insight to solve successfully these perennial problems.
It allows shoppers to purchase products on many well-integrated channels to create seamless experience for customers. Thus, business could meet consumer demand.
Omnichannel retail insight from retailers’ view
Cross-channel inventory visibility
Cross-channel inventory visibility
Inventory management is an intense pain to most retailers, especially those who sell across many channels. They encounter several challenges when managing multiple warehouses.
That is why the key of modern retail insight has become omnichannel. It evolves to be an end-to-end supply chain management empowered by cross-channel inventory visibility.
Basically, an omnichannel inventory management depends on 4 main factors:
With omnichannel retail insight, data from all channels are synchronized. Retailers can easily manage orders while consumers can buy items online and pick up in store. Omnichannel fulfillment offers a seamless consumer experience regardless of how and where people shop or return items.
For instance, Beacon technology helps retailers communicate with customers using an online app to enhance his omnichannel retail system.
Based on the user’s previous shopping behaviour, personal offers are sent to the user when he/she is in the vicinity of a store (special offers are generated based on their shopping history). Thus, companies could reap up-selling, as well as cross-selling again.
Furthermore, according to a study by Business Insider, beacon sales drove sales in retail by $40 billion 2016.
In brief, only a handful of retailers have currently applied an Omnichannel retail system to drive its huge potential for in-store sales.
In such a constantly evolving market landscape, those who understand omnichannel insight and why omnichannel retail insight is important will dominate the retail race.
Have you ever wondered why many studies say that:
Omnichannel customers got a higher retention rate than customers in other types of retailing model.
Omnichannel insight can help retailers to overcome multi-channel drawbacks. One of those is customer service.
With the former retail models, customers’ feedbacks or requests are scattered among many platforms such as social networks, live chat, email, call center, etc. This will put a huge stress on Customer Service teams in any companies.
Members of Service team always have to think quickly to prevent drawbacks before an angry customer experience turns into a bad review on the website or social media.
However, with the automatic process of customer service in omnichannel retail, with the help from a trustworthy omnichannel solution, all of the work can be done efficiently.
Moreover, omnichannel allows retailers to keep track of customer satisfaction on each product by the synchronization of data.
Omnichannel retail insight demands a customer-centric view.
As a result, customer behavior will be analyzed and synchronized into system based on customer purchase history. Then retailers can work on the plan to create customer quality services by providing good customer supports, detailed and precise information and giving personalized experience.
Furthermore, interacting with customers across multi-channel, instead of solely at physical store’s point of sale, also produces big data which could help your staffs support customers beyond their expectation.