May 18, 2017 4:03 pm by Bronwyn Watt
Adaptability is the new keyword for brands that want to succeed. Retailers need to be able to adapt to the evolving technological landscape as well as meet ever-changing consumer demands. Consumer behaviour has changed drastically and studies have shown that modern day shoppers research a product online before making their final purchase decision in-store.
In addition, the large role smartphones play in our lives has given rise to a shift from primarily in-store purchases to mobile app and online purchases. As a result, consumers have more sophisticated demands, and retailers are expected to meet these demands with an omnichannel strategy.
What exactly is an omnichannel strategy?
An omnichannel strategy is a means to target your consumers on every platform they may use. It refers to a shopping solution that seamlessly integrates four key areas: online shopping, mobile shopping, in-store purchases as well as social platforms. It is a customer-centric strategy that offers consumers a shopping experience in line with their preferences.
A basic example of this would be a bank. Their customers are able to perform transactions on the banking app, the website or physically in the branch. They can also engage with the bank on their Facebook or Twitter pages. But an omnichannel strategy could apply to anything. The Disney omnichannel experience offers an engaging website that is mobile responsive which you use to plan your trip. Then you make use of their mobile app to locate attractions in the park and see their estimated wait times. The app can also help you to order food, store photos and acts as your room key.
The benefits of an omnichannel strategy
Consumers are shopping across multiple channels and multiple devices, and being visible on each of these channels will lead to greater customer retention and attraction. In fact, businesses with an omnichannel strategy have 91% better annual customer retention rates compared to those who don’t. An average of 90% of consumers expect consistent interaction across all channels and 71% of shoppers say using their smartphone for research in-store is an important part of the purchasing experience.
The demand for an omnichannel experience is set to grow as more and more consumers seek a streamlined and integrated experience. However, meeting these demands is about more than targeting customers. An omnichannel experience can also help companies collect data about their target market.
How to implement your strategy
Retailers face the challenge of unifying all shopping channels to provide a smooth, integrated shopping experience. While implementing this strategy is far more complex, here is business advice on the basic steps to follow.
1.Sell across all channels
If you’re not doing this already, start selling on all channels and make it easy for customers to find you. Set up an online store and a mobile app, and sync it with your physical location. You can even sync it with your social media, like how restaurant chain Wingstop has made it possible for consumers to order wings simply by typing ‘order’ on their Facebook wall.
2.Align your channels
It’s not enough to be present on channels. They all need to work together in terms of inventory control, returns, channel management and payment methods. Good business advice is to use one point-of-sale system to streamline all of your payments.
3.Leverage your various sales channels
Different channels have different benefits: Facebook lets you impart more information, Instagram’s strong visual presence helps you to curate a brand image and feature photos of your products and services while Twitter is ideal to showcase your brand voice and engage with customers. Study consumer behaviour to see what they are responding to and which needs haven’t been met and adjust accordingly.
After following the basic steps you can use these in-depth tips for building an omnichannel strategy. An easy way to streamline your processes across all the channels is to ensure you implement the appropriate payment portals that accept multiple payment methods. PayCorp offers a variety of ecommerce payment solutions that allow merchants to accept online payments as well as point of sale solutions to offer improved and efficient in-store transactions. View our website for more information.