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August 7, 2012

How the Trends Have Changed Retail
into Omni-Channel Retailing

Author Archana Yenna
Category Blog | eCommerce |
Single channel retailing used to be the way of the retail world. Now considered “old school,” single channel retailing has been replaced twice over. The first time, it was replaced by multi-channel retailing, and now by overwhelming need, it has been replaced by omni-channel retailing. Omni-channel retailing has become the way of retail operations and the only way for anyone to succeed in this technologically savvy world.

Switching from multi-channel retailing to omni-channel retailing requires that retailers offer a seamless experience across all channels. Offering a consistent message throughout all channels gives customers an easy method to interact with your retail operation. It also gives the executives an easy method to track all customer habits through one system, regardless of the method the customer used to interact with your retail store.

Why Omni-Channel Retailing Is Essential ?

E-commerce has become the most important aspect of the retail business. Customers expect certain luxuries and conveniences when it comes to retail shopping. If they cannot find those conveniences at your retail establishment, chances are they will move on.

Omni-channel retailing has the potential to offer immense success to retailers if it is done right. Offering consumers a fluid experience through all channels gives consumers and retailers the experience they desire. It is almost mandated that retailers participate in all aspects of retailing, both new and old, to succeed today. Providing customers with a unified experience and striving to exhibit market positioning and brand awareness throughout is the only way to succeed.

The onset of mobile shopping has increased the expectations of customers. They expect to be able to find your products through the various e-commerce methods, including shopping online, and shopping from a mobile device. Customers expect to be able to find your products and purchase them with a few clicks of the mouse or keypad. They also expect to be able to return the product to your brick-and-mortar store should that need arise or order a different size, color or similar product right from a kiosk in your store. The need for complete omni-channel retailing integration is imperative. Customers need the ability to order a product from wherever they are, especially during times when your physical store is out of the product they want.

Increase Customer Exposure

With more than 85 percent of users simultaneously watching TV and using their tablet, the ability to find your products through the use of an app on their tablet is essential. Many consumers see a commercial and immediately want to find out more about the product. Not providing this instant gratification can prove to be detrimental to your retail store.

The same is true for mobile shopping, social network shopping, blogs and reviews. The Internet is a wealth of information for the consumer. The more information they can get on your products with a few clicks of the mouse or swipes on a screen, the more likely they are to become a customer. Consumers today expect retail stores to be up with the times; those that are not will undoubtedly be left behind.

Targeted Marketing

One of the largest benefits of omni-channel retailing is the ability to easily gain consumer’s information. Many consumers might balk at a cashier who asks for their email address or phone number in the store but think nothing of entering it into a form on the Internet to gain coupons or be a part of a special offers mailing list.

With this information in hand, retailers can easily track the purchases and habits of specific consumers. This paves the way for targeted marketing. Understanding the typical habits of each consumer allows retailers to customize the experience for certain groups of consumers.
A retail store can offer a coupon for an in-store purchase for those consumers who consistently purchase in the store but browse online or offer a “We Miss You” coupon to a customer that has not made a purchase for a specified period of time. Targeted marketing allows these luxuries, increasing the power of omni-channel retailing.

The Power of Community

Shoppers are calling the shots when it comes to the various shopping methods available. Many of these methods are in your control, such as online and mobile shopping. Various other methods that encompass omni-channel retailing, such as social networking, price comparison sites, blogs and reviews, are not within your control, yet their advantages should be embraced.

Using the information taken from these methods of e-commerce will help you further your marketing efforts. Paying close attention to what social media groups are saying about your products, what the reviews say on price comparison sites and what various blogs are reporting can help you tailor your strategies to make them the most conducive to increasing your ecommerce sales.

Value-Added Features

Omni-channel retailing allows retailers to further their capabilities to help consumers. Offering a kiosk in your brick-and-mortar store can provide customers with the ability to order a product that is out of stock in the store, check a specific price on a product and various other customer service related perks. Anything that saves consumers time and is deemed as convenient is popular in the retail world. Every customer is busy and does not want to be bothered with large lines and impatient customer service professionals. If customers have the option to deal with a computer at the kiosk or an app on their tablet or phone on their own, they are more likely to take advantage of that.
Including your products on price comparison websites gives your products more exposure. Each price comparison site gets thousands of hits per day, increasing the power of your marketing efforts. When you include your products on these sites, you are adding the value of finding the rock bottom price for a specific product. This allows consumers to feel good about their purchase, knowing they got the best price around.

Higher Sales

Increased sales are the obvious desired end result for any retail business. Offering consumers a large variety of methods to learn about and purchase your products increases your chances of consumers buying your products. When you provide customers with a wide unified variety of methods to obtain the product they desire, including shopping in-store, shopping from a kiosk in your store, mobile shopping and online shopping, you give customers with varying desires a convenient way to purchase your products and ultimately increase your sales.

Finding the perfect way to integrate all channels of your retail operation is what omni-channel retailing is all about. It is no longer acceptable to keep your shopping channels, such as online shopping and in-store shopping, separate; everything is one entity. This offers amazing benefits to both consumers and retailers. Integrating omni-channel retailing into your operation is the best way to ensure the success of your store.
For more details on just how omni-channel retailing can benefit your retail operation, download our whitepaper on omni-channel retailing.

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