3 Keys to Omnichannel Retail Success
Today, consumers look to shop for goods across multiple channels — online, mobile, in-store, social media. According to industry studies, businesses that adopt omnichannel retail strategies reach 91 percent greater year-over-year customer retention rates compared to businesses that don’t. Retailers everywhere are working to ramp up their efforts to increase visibility and sales across all possible channels.
In doing so, retailers run into several pain points when attempting to create a cohesive message and customer experience across sales channels. Data tracking and access across channels is a major issue, as it can be tough to track customer behavior and communications across both online and offline systems. Seamless integration between digital properties and brick-and-mortar stores is another, as integrating aspects such as inventory and pricing can pose challenges. Streamlining customer brand experience at each point of the purchase journey, whether it’s desktop, mobile, social, marketing or in-store interactions, can often lose shoppers as well.
With these pain points in mind, retailers must find and use tools that help them establish a cohesive customer experience across all channels that promotes brand image and ultimately drives sales. Consider the following three tips:
1. Customization is Key
Consumers are more likely to purchase from retailers that tailor the shopping experience to fit their unique preferences. Personalizing everything, from the look and feel of your online store to the artwork on the walls of your brick-and-mortar stores, can make a major impact with your customer base. Find out who your audience is and make small yet valuable updates to your business to fit their interests. Take a look at various studies that speak to the preferences of millennials vs. baby boomers, females vs. males, and incorporate as much as you can to better sell to your target audience.
2. Create a Seamless Experience
According to Google, “About 85 percent of online shoppers start a purchase on one device and finish on another.” With this in mind, it's crucial to have an integrated shopping cart and checkout system in place, regardless of the channel (e.g., mobile to desktop, and vice versa). Implement additional features that ensure no bumps in the road along the way, such as logging into customer accounts, connecting with your loyalty program during each visit, and shopping through various sections of your store, both online and in person. Creating a seamless experience for your customers will result in a more cohesive feel for your entire business.
3. Standardize Data
In order to maximize the full potential of personalization, be sure to standardize all information gathered regardless of channel. If the information gathered isn't apples to apples, there are bound to be complications. Ensure you have the right infrastructure in place to store data. Make sure you have the ability to access it quickly. Organized data makes it easier to scale marketing efforts and target the right customers at the right time.
Successfully growing your business through various channels requires following several key rules and practices. Focusing on customization, developing a seamless experience for your customers, and standardizing data collection across channels will ensure a more cohesive shopping experience, resulting in happier customers who continue to come back for more.
Sara Hicks is the CEO and co-founder of Reaction Commerce, a growing open source e-commerce platform-as-a-service.
Related story: Total Retail's 2018 Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers