Today’s hyperconnected consumers spend their days hopping from one device to another. Whether at home, at work or out and about, devices are at the ready.
Not surprisingly, so much screen time has made its mark on the retail landscape. More than half of retail sales in the U.S. are impacted by digital touchpoints today.2 It is more and more critical that retailers connect their online and offline channels through omnichannel commerce to ensure a consistent experience for today’s anytime, anywhere shoppers.
CONSUMERS WANT MORE
A recent shopper survey conducted by Internet Retailer and Bizrate revealed some significant truths about how consumers are embracing omnichannel.1
- For eight in 10 shoppers, checking online for store products is engrained behavior
- Six in 10 omnichannel shoppers regularly use buy online pick up in store (BOPIS)
- One in five omnichannel shoppers make additional purchases at pick up
- One in six omnichannel shoppers are interested in same day delivery
- One in 10 omnichannel shoppers have used curbside pickup
Retailers can undoubtedly expect an upward trend for these stats in the coming years. 78% of shoppers check for product availability online before going to a store today, and 68% anticipate doing this more frequently over the next year.1
HOW DO YOU STACK UP?
In conjunction with the shopper survey, Internet Retailer’s Research team shopped the top 10 omnichannel retailers to see how their omnichannel services compared to consumer expectations. All retailers analyzed in IR’s report offer, at a minimum: 1
- Same-day buy online pick up in store (BOPIS)
- Support for in-store return of online orders
- Ability to check in-store product availability online
- Directions for where to pick up online orders in the store
- Alerts when online orders are ready for store pick up
- Price match in store for online offers
- In-store Wi-Fi
The truth of the matter is that, for these leading retailers, these services are quickly becoming old news as they shift their focus to the next big things, e.g. curbside pickup, scan and go checkout and fresh grocery delivery. Omnichannel should be a top priority for all retailers across industries, but for those who are not yet supporting these increasingly standard offerings, it is particularly crucial lest they continue to fall further behind.
HOW TO CATCH UP
Forrester’s definition of omnichannel highlights just how complex omnichannel commerce is:
Omnichannel commerce is the coordination of traditional channels (marketing, selling, and fulfillment) and supporting systems to create a seamless and consistent customer experience.2
The multiple channels and systems that must be considered when adding omnichannel solutions can seem daunting for retailers not as far along in the process. However, focusing on four key areas can help in developing and maintaining an effective omnichannel strategy: view of the customer, engagement, fulfillment, and products and pricing.2
- View of the customer: Ensure you have enterprise level, single view of the customer for insights across conversion points and engagement channels.
- Engagement: Provide a consistent customer service experience across contact channels. 58% of shoppers note wanting to be able to move between customer service channels without having to re-explain their situation.3 Sync support channels (e.g. chatbots, phone, email, etc.) so conversations from one channel transfer to another and customers never have to repeat themselves.
- Fulfillment: Offering fulfillment flexibility through capabilities such as BOPIS should be a top priority. For one, customers are more likely to visit your store if they can see inventory availability online (32% of online adults are less likely to go to a store if they can’t).2 BOPIS also eliminates shipping costs, saving you money. Some retailers, including retail giant Walmart, are even offering small discounts on certain items to encourage customers to elect store pick up.
- Products and pricing: The digital experience should be consistent with offline channels, providing a “one brand to one customer” presentation for pricing and product availability. If a customer sees an item on sale in your app and makes a trip to the store to purchase the item, a higher in-store price-point is sure to upset the relationship.
CONVENIENCE IS THE NAME OF THE GAME
Retailers looking to improve or increase omnichannel operations would do well to remember one key fact, “convenience is the core of omnichannel.”1 Providing a quality customer experience ultimately means making things as convenient as possible for your customers across channels. Whether by allowing consumers to check in-store availability online, personalizing the online experience with preferred-store options, improving in-store pick up through clearly marked pick-up areas, or allowing customers to designate alternate pick-up persons, all omnichannel initiatives should ultimately lead to a more convenient, repeatable shopping experience for your customers.
Interested in learning more about how you can compete with the industry’s leading omnichannel retailers? Send us a note!
 Berthene, April, 2019 Omnichannel Report, April 15, 2019, Internet Retailer.
 Witcher, Brendan, Envisioning the Future of Omnichannel Commerce, April 16, 2019, Forrester.
 Kodali, Sucharita, Must-Have eCommerce Features, April 18, 2019, Forrester.