Discover why multi-channel shopping experiences are essential to the continued growth of your retail business.
Customers shop in a variety of ways, and so businesses which meet those customers’ needs are best placed to benefit. Multi-channel shopping involves the use of both online and offline outlets, rather than being focused on a single type. Within this, online outlets can include such things as email-based marketing, online marketplaces, social media and e-commerce websites. Offline outlets include not only traditional high street shops but also telemarketing direct to consumers and mail-order catalogues. The key factor is that a customer should be just one interaction away from making a purchase, regardless of where they are at any one time.
Why embrace multi-channel shopping experiences?
By 2016, 86% of consumers globally were using multi-channel shopping experiences, increasingly on a regular basis. It is already such an integral part of retail that there is simply no alternative to embracing it. Companies which fail to do this risk being left behind, and in today’s ultra-competitive environment it will be hard – perhaps even impossible – to catch up. Customers have a wider choice of outlets than ever before, and they will not put up with sub-standard service. If your company does not give them the choice and simplicity they desire, it’s easier than ever for them to go elsewhere – to a competitor.
Give your customers a better experience
Convenience is a central part of multi-channel shopping experiences. Customers know that, wherever they are, they can get answers to their questions straight away from a well-informed source. Their needs may be subtly different in each channel, however. Customers using mobile apps are likely to value speed and clear, concise information ahead of detail, while those present in-store may well prefer to get in-depth information from an expert. With only half of UK retailers investing in mobile apps despite ever greater demand, businesses that position themselves as responsive to customer needs should get a head start in the marketplace.
From the blog: How Technology is Creating an Immersive Retail Experience
Increase sales, wherever your customers are
Retailers who a marketplace , as well as a traditional shopping basket, can increase sales by 38%, with this figure increasing to over 100% for two marketplaces. Even though some businesses may be reluctant to add marketplaces because of the perception that this will increase costs and complexity, the return on investment can be very substantial. Revenue can rise so much when multiple options are available that any fee increases are likely to be dwarfed. Offering multi-channel shopping experiences means your customers will also be able to interact and purchase from you at the click of a mouse, no matter where they are.
Improve data gathering
In a world where customers want a seamless retail experience regardless of where they choose to shop, it makes sense for your data processing to be as integrated as possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean collecting more data, but instead targeting and analysing the right data. When customers shop online, this means things such as browsing behaviour, dwell times and purchase history. For bricks-and-mortar stores, sales breakdowns for multiple locations can help pinpoint store plans and layouts that maximise profits. It’s also crucial to be able to justify the types of data you collect – consumers may lose trust in your business if they feel you are storing unjustified amounts and types of their data. Pay close attention to their feedback.
Reach new customers
While increasing returns from existing customers is a benefit, multi-channel shopping experiences also have the virtue of allowing you to reach out to people who may not have considered you as an option before. If your image is that of a bricks-and-mortar retailer, people who largely shop online may have passed you by – until you too offer easy, trusted ways to shop online. Although the majority of companies say using omnichannel marketing is important to their business success, a large minority have not come close to complete implementation. This offers a challenge and an opportunity: in many sectors, customer demand for choice and flexibility is not being fully met. Making your business the natural go-to option can reap enormous rewards.
Keep things consistent
With barriers to going elsewhere so low, even momentary confusion can easily drive a customer into the arms of a competitor. It should be immediately obvious where they are as soon as they arrive, whether that’s in a physical store, on a dedicated website or on social media. Clear, consistent branding across channels is key. Allowing customers to use data provided in one channel when they shop on another can also help, although privacy and security concerns are high in many consumers’ minds – so make sure they feel in control. Shopping as a true multi-channel experience requires commitment and input from all parts of the company; employee investment is crucial to building loyalty and a feeling of ownership, something which will be noticed by customers.
Put it into practice
The challenges of implementing and refining multi-channel shopping experiences are not minimal, and in today’s ultra-competitive retail environment even small errors can have significant consequences. Most businesses are unlikely to have the ability to build suitable solutions in-house, making it vital to find a suitable partner. Happily, specialist firms like the award-winning digital technology company LamasaTech can help you improve efficiency and responsiveness, ultimately growing your business. This specialist knowledge is especially important when it comes to fast-moving fields such as emerging technology, where up-to-date expertise is critical. Contact LamasaTech today and start building something outstanding – together.