Retailers Still Trying to Solve the Omnichannel Challenge
The term is thrown about at random, but what does it really mean for a retail organization to be "omnichannel," both from the perspective of consumers as well as the retailer itself? In a session yesterday at the eTail East conference in Philadelphia, a panel of retailers — Jessica Coogan, online marketing director, The Container Store; Brian Witherow, director of customer loyalty, Lovesac; Cricket Whitton, director of marketing and e-commerce, Design Within Reach; and Sara Onken, digital marketing consultant, Steelcase — attempted to answer that question.
Container Store's "Click & Pickup" program has integrated the online shopping experience with the company's brick-and-mortar stores. The program now accounts for almost half of all of Container Store's online sales. While stores get credit for these sales, that doesn't matter to the online team at Container Store. We don't care where the credit goes, Jessica Coogan said. All of the sales are going to the bottom line.
Omnichannel manifests itself at Design Within Reach in a couple of ways, said Cricket Whitton. For one, the retailer maintains a single source of inventory for its e-commerce site and stores. Second, pricing is consistent across all of Design Within Reach's channels. You won't see a sale online unless that same product is discounted in-store, Whitton noted. Finally, Design Within Reach bridges the online-to-offline shopping experience with an online appointment scheduler that enables consumers to set a date and time to meet an in-store sales associate. The program has been a big win for Design Within Reach. Consumers who use with the online appointment scheduler convert at a higher rate and spend more, on average, than customers who don't.
Evolving Consumer Behavior
The growth of e-commerce and rising adoption of smartphones has led to a shift in the way consumers shop. For example, consumers are using multiple channels to research products before making purchase decisions.