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Omnichannel retail and customer experience: how customers’ purchasing methodology is changing

1 February 2023

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SUMMARY

What is omnichannel retail? The reasons for its importance When customers are able to interact with multiple sales and communication channels at the same time, it can be called “omnichannel retail“. In this situation, the retailer is able to retain the customer’s information whenever the customer moves from one channel to another. A typical situation? A consumer browses in desktop mode to search for the item he or she is interested in, then perhaps compares prices on his or her cell phone, and finally goes to a traditional store to finalize a purchase, but without having to start their journey from scratch each time. In essence, the omnichannel retail connects all channels, thus creating a single experience. Combining several separate channels together leads to what is known as “unified commerce,” which is based on cloud technology and enables the integration of all business functions, channels, and their customers’ data: in this case, the consumer remains on a single platform that encompasses all channels. Customers thus have maximum freedom and flexibility, eliminating restrictions on how, where and when to shop. According to research by Salesforce, 75 percent of consumers expect to have a uniform shopping experience. In the case of an…

What is omnichannel retail? The reasons for its importance

When customers are able to interact with multiple sales and communication channels at the same time, it can be called “omnichannel retail“. In this situation, the retailer is able to retain the customer’s information whenever the customer moves from one channel to another. A typical situation? A consumer browses in desktop mode to search for the item he or she is interested in, then perhaps compares prices on his or her cell phone, and finally goes to a traditional store to finalize a purchase, but without having to start their journey from scratch each time.

In essence, the omnichannel retail connects all channels, thus creating a single experience. Combining several separate channels together leads to what is known as “unified commerce,” which is based on cloud technology and enables the integration of all business functions, channels, and their customers’ data: in this case, the consumer remains on a single platform that encompasses all channels. Customers thus have maximum freedom and flexibility, eliminating restrictions on how, where and when to shop.

According to research by Salesforce, 75 percent of consumers expect to have a uniform shopping experience. In the case of an in-store purchase, 68 percent of people believe that the approach of salespeople, who need to understand personal preferences and needs, is very important.

The demand for a unified experience is evident, but only 28% of companies engaged in B2C are able to serve customers across all channels: this is a really low percentage when you consider that as many as 73 percent of customers use multiple channels during their purchase journey. Omnichannel retail solutions are important in helping companies in making their customers more engaged, satisfied and loyal.

Loyalty and personalized shopping experiences: two strengths of omnichannel retail

Through an omnichannel experience, consumers will be able to benefit from service consistency, personalized preferences, and ease of switching between channels. An omnichannel platform offers flexibility in mobile, social media and Internet transactions, simplifying purchase paths and building customer loyalty. People always expect to have a unique experience, and companies can ensure this by making sure they are constantly in touch with users, at any time and on any device.

Ensuring continuity and uniformity across channels, customers will have the opportunity to pick up exactly where they left off when they switch channels. Omnichannel therefore allows monitoring and collection of customer activity across multiple channels, ensuring the fluid experience that the modern customer expects.

In addition, a unified commerce platform makes it possible to optimize the in-store sales approach based on the customer information that has been collected across channels, thus enabling salespeople to offer truly personalized service by identifying buying habits and preferences. The customer-centric approach will optimize the shopping experience, combining the benefits of unified commerce and omnichannel.

Omnichannel retail and retail shopping experience: opportunities to increase sales

Retailers will offer a multichannel shopping experience that will enable them to reach more potential customers, growing the brand and collecting data on consumers. In addition, companies will be able to track, analyze and process customer data across multiple channels, making it easier to interact with the public: the various touch points are no longer separate from each other, but are voices of the same brand that respond to various customer expectations.

Research by International Data Corporation found that omnichannel consumers spend 30 percent more on average than single-channel consumers. The benefits of omnichannel are also obvious to customers: they can shop where, how and when they want, without losing data during various channel shifts; they can compare prices in real time, read reviews, and search for the best deals.

Some examples of omnichannel retail

Click and collect. Customers searching for a particular product on the web, proceed to purchase it online and then pick it up in store at a dedicated location.

Ship from store. Shipment service from one store to another allows the customer’s requirements to be met. Underlying this must be effective warehouse management through omnichannel distribution.

Reward cards. A loyalty program that allows you to earn and spend points in store and online, sometimes even in other partner chains.

Marketing. Omnichannel systems allow companies to gather valuable information about their audience’s spending habits, using it to design tailored promotions and offers. In this way, the relationship between retailers and customers is very personalized.

Customers who receive omnichannel support will enjoy an effective and fast, but most importantly, continuous customer experience. This will obviously allow to strengthen the confidence of the average user in the brand, who will decide to rely on the company again. It will then be the conduit by which to create positive feedback to the outside world, improving or consolidating the company’s reputation.

Omnichannel also makes it possible to analyze, understand and make the most of customer demands, with a view to long-term customer loyalty. This aspect also ensures the optimization, in retail, of sales: offering a personalized shopping experience, stimulating purchase, and choosing which products to promote based on the customer targeted.

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