The Perks of Omnichannel Retailing

Retailers are striving to tailor their services to shoppers’ preferences and enhance consumer experiences through omnichannel access. Despite the challenges, the omnichannel shopper is worth catering to.

Timea P.As retailers strive to improve their operations and tap into the diversity of consumer-preferred channels, the holiday season presents a great opportunity to provide customers with a seamless shopping journey. The most successful retailers know they need to offer their services across all channels and devices so consumers can take advantage of every option and don’t feel they have to choose. Similar to previous years, the bulk of the growth will be driven by increased internet sales.

Keeping up with consumer demand

Omnichannel experiences use multiple avenues, but not all multi-channel experiences are omnichannel. The difference is that retailers can provide amazing mobile marketing, engaging social media campaigns and well-designed websites, but if these don’t work together, it doesn’t qualify as omnichannel. It all comes down to the depth of the integration.

Traditional retailers have already begun leveraging the importance of internet sales—Black Friday is the perfect example. Although Amazon dominated e-commerce and accounted for 35 percent of all transactions (according to Slice Intelligence), four of the top five sellers were traditional retailers (Best Buy, Macy’s, Walmart, Nordstrom). Brick-and-mortar brands understand the significance of omnichannel retailing, while e-tailers have started adding physical stores to their business model in order to keep up with consumer demand.

Interactive marketing techniques

New in-store technologies include practices such as scanning that provides customers instant access to product information and reviews, as well as mobile and social media advertising—from encouraging costumers to take selfies in “photo boxes” set up in shopping centers, to increased marketing on key social media platforms.

Top brands such as Ralph Lauren and department stores like Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus are investing in technology and installing interactive mirrors in their shops. These mirrors transform the image reflected back to quickly show how shoppers look with different shades of makeup or dress styles without actually putting them on. These techniques are meant to keep consumers engaged and make them more confident in their purchases. Through connecting directly with consumers, retailers seek to tailor their services to shoppers’ preferences.

Most costumers want to pick up where they left off when switching between channels, they expect to buy online and be able to pick up in-store. These are just some of the shoppers’ priorities that companies are trying to integrate. However, it seems there is still room for improvement, as a recent eMarketer survey found that fewer than one in five U.S. retailers have fully synchronized their omnichannel strategy. Despite the challenges, the omnichannel shopper is worth catering to, as this category is becoming increasingly dominant among consumers.