Omnichannel has been a buzzword in retail in recent years, yet providing a seamless shopping experience across all different channels is becoming more and more challenging. This article describes the reasons for this
Omnichannel has been a buzzword in retail in recent years, yet providing a seamless shopping experience across all different channels is becoming more and more challenging. One reason for this is the huge increase of touch-points the modern consumer has before purchase. In 2000, the average consumer typically used around two touch-points during the purchase process and only 7% of consumers regularly used over four. Today, an average retail shopper uses just under five different touch-points, including stores, websites, dedicated apps, telephone order lines, catalogues, social media etc. according to a Webloyalty & Conlumino research from 2015.
Seamless shopping experience means that whether a customer is visiting the website from home to research a product, using the mobile app to ‘click and collect’ or walking into a local high street branch to pick something up in person, the customer journey has to run smoothly and in very similar steps. Should a regular high street shop visitor decides to go to their retailer’s website, he would easily see similarities between the website’s structure and design and those of the physical store, enhancing the user experience and adding to the visitor’s confidence about their shopping. The purchase path online should also be as similar to the physical store’s as possible so that a purchase can be processed fast and without any issues or hidden costs (in many cases, the delivery costs are only mentioned at the latest stage of placing an order, reducing the sales conversion). The key, however, is to ensure channels are not completely replicating each other, as online, for instance, can have a different focus and set of business objectives to in-store.
The technologies enabling the omnichannel landscape in retail are capable of turning every touch point, including offline environments and printed materials into online shopping environments and accountable sales vehicles. Advertising mail has proven to be a powerful physical touch-point that enables online engagement for retail customers using technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC), BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy), QR-codes and others (view examples in the DM case studies library).
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