Many retailers are beginning to adopt omni-channel strategies with the intent of creating a unified customer experience across both digital and physical spaces. Despite this, many are finding it difficult to hold onto their customers citing diminishing loyalty as a major reason (Along with increased competition, GST threshold and currency appreciation). A recent study by the IBM institute for business value titled ‘From Transaction to Relationship’ took into account the opinions of 26,000 consumers across 14 countries. The study uncovered three significant findings:
1) Store Dominance shifting:
The retail store was found to reign supreme, as the most common channel for consumers to purchase through. However, a third weren’t sure if they would make their next purchase online or in store. This was attributed to consumers growing recognition of the convenience, variety and price benefits that exist through online shopping.
2) Rise of the “showroomers”:
Growing numbers of consumers were viewing products in store, yet going online to purchase items – and not always from the same retailer. This represented a small but influential group of shoppers known as “showroomers”. This finding shows us that the bricks and mortar retail store is one enabler of the growth of the online retail store.
3) The rise of the omni-channel retailer:
While the retail store remains the channel of choice for most consumers it is essential that retail reach their customers through multiple touch points – In store, online and through mobile devices. Retailers must seek to make their online and offline experience more symbiotic. This more connected approach offers significant customer experience advantages as customers navigate through channels seamlessly.
These findings demonstrate the value in uniting your physical and online presence. By integrating channels more effectively retailers can leverage the convenience of online and the advantages of the in store experience to drive sales. Strategies that identify ‘showroomers’ and direct them seamlessly to your online store greatly improve purchase rates and reduces the number of lost sales to competitors. Improve your ability to reach your customers through multiple channels, leveraging data at each touch point to customise the experience.
What can retailers do to take advantage of the transitioning shopper?
1) Embrace the showroom: Use your retail store like a show room. Hold a small amount of stock. Use your store as a place where customers can try on, then immediately order from their mobile. Optimise your supply chain and order management to have items delivered before the customer even returns home from the shopping centre.
2) Facilitate wish list creation in store for use online: Leverage customers mobile devices to create wish lists that they can then purchase online at a later point. Allow this to be shared with friends through social channels.
3) In store wi-fi allowing access to your site and social media: Provide wi-fi for your customers to allow them to order online, view catalogues, view previous wish lists etc. Allow access to social media to allow them to gain the opinions from their peers about their purchases.
4) QR codes next to products: Use QR codes/scannable barcodes/Tap it locations to assist customers in the purchase of items. Use QR codes to add items to carts, find out more detailed information about items, share with friends etc.
Or Click Here to check out my other blogs:
- Data is driving the customer experience
- The shifting Australian retail environment