I recently read a report showing that out of 46,000 shoppers, 73% used multiple channels to make a purchase. Only 7% shopped exclusively online, while 20% shopped exclusively in-store. I believe this is clear proof that there is an increasing need for retailers to turn to omnichannel retail to enhance the customer experience.
A focus on improved customer experience is vital for the growth of a business as it contributes to customer retention. When a customer has a positive experience shopping with your brand, there’s a good chance they will come back to you to make a repeat purchase.
I’ve put together a few tips to help you get started with your omnichannel retail strategy:
1. Discover where your audience is.
Your strategy should begin with a clear idea of where your customers are because you need to know which channels you need to focus on. Find out which platforms your customers frequent, and which mediums they use the most. You should also find out which devices they use.
The goal is to have a clear idea of where your customers hang out, and where they normally shop.
For example, you might discover that there aren’t a lot of Instagram users among your target audience. So you could push off investing your efforts into Instagram marketing while you focus on more profitable channels.
You can use Google Analytics to discover the most popular channels among your customers under the “acquisition” reports. You’ll be able to identify the channels that are most effective to drive visitors to your website. You’ll then have a better idea of how people are discovering your business.
You can even go in-depth into the full conversion path by looking under “Multi-Channel Funnels” and running different attribution reports. You’ll be able to see the different steps people normally take before they convert as customers.
2. Convert all touch points into shoppable ones.
If you’re going to excel at omnichannel retail, all of your touch points should be shoppable.
Take Nordstrom for example. The brand has taken care to ensure that their customers enjoy their shopping experience regardless of how they choose to shop. Besides having a brick-and-mortar store and an online store, the brand has made it possible for customers to buy directly from Instagram. They initially used their official account only to showcase their retail items and create desire in an audience to buy the products.
However, Nectarom reported that one of the biggest customer grievances was that people were having a hard time finding and purchasing the items they found on the Instagram account. So Nordstrom decided to add a Like2Buy link on their Instagram bio so customers could be directed to a shoppable feed. Through the brand’s Like2Buy page, people can easily find and buy the items they see on Instagram. And after the introduction of Instagram shopping, Nordstrom started creating shoppable posts on the platform as well.
Shoppable posts are Instagram posts in which customers can tap the picture to display product tags. They can then tap on these tags to access more product information and be directed to the product page, from where they can make a purchase. Based on where your customers shop and where they hang out, you can decide on the touch points that are most profitable for you. You can then focus on making those touch points shoppable so your customers can easily go from the product discovery stage to the conversion stage.
3. Ensure a smooth transition between online and offline.
If you have both an online and offline presence, it’s important that you bridge any gaps that exist between the two channels. The goal is to ensure a smooth transition between transactions occurring on both channels.
For example, you could allow customers to place their orders online, and then pick them up at the register as soon as they arrive in your brick-and-mortar store. This will ensure an enhanced customer experience because customers can save a lot of time.
Walgreens has done an exceptional job recently with their omnichannel strategy. They’ve introduced an MD Live app through which a user can pay to have a live chat with a physician. And if necessary, the physician can also directly write a prescription that can be filled in one of the 24-hour store locations. The customer doesn’t have to go through multiple channels and spend a huge amount of time getting the medicine they need. They don’t have to go to a separate clinic and wait to see a physician. They can do it all through the app and then get their prescription filled through the physical stores.
The omnichannel strategy adopted by brands like Warby Parker is also a noteworthy mention. Customers can shop through the brand’s online store and select the products they would like to try. They can then try these products at home and choose the one they’d like to buy. Customers don’t have to go through multiple stages of ordering a product and then returning it if they don’t like it. They simply try on the product through an offline channel and select the exact one they like.
If you’re going to master your omnichannel retail strategy, it’s not enough that you just establish your presence on multiple channels. It’s not even enough that you make all of your touch points shoppable.
What matters is that you focus on creating seamless transitions between multiple channels and touch points to ensure the best shopping experience for your customers.
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