Omni-channel retail experience becomes the norm

The retail industry is experiencing a shift of customers are switching between online and physical store contacts on their journey towards a purchase. Customers want to be able to find information about a product, approach the company and make the purchase in the channel of their choice – and also to be able to create their own customer journey with channels they choose. Multi-Channel retailing is now expected from comsumers.

So how should retailers address this development?

In order to compete, retailers must embrace the true omni-channel experience quickly, analyse the typical customer journey and bridge the gap between customers’ touchpoints to deliver a seamless brand perception and an effortless purchase journey. Companies can no longer dictate how customers buy a product so must improve planning processes for different types of customer journeys, and also have the right technology backbone to support them. Over different journeys retailers can also personalise discounts and special offers according to where the customer is in the process.

Convenience shopping becomes a must-have for large retailers

The retail customer is getting used to convenience. “Click-and-collect” means that consumers can buy a product online and then pick it up in a spot that is convenient for them.
Gartner predicts “an increasing choice of fulfilment options for the retail industry”. Consumers now have a number of different ways to acquire products, particularly in large cities – and this is a competitive advantage as customers grow more accustomed to convenience. For retail giants like Tesco, Marks & Spencers and Waitrose, click-and-collect is already a central part of the consumer offering. Offering the widest possible array of fulfilment options is crucial for high-volume players.
Segmenting the market based on shopper habits and patterns of commuting is a new opportunity for retailers. Mapping shoppers’ behaviours and developing offers based on consumers’ daily routines will become more common.
However, retailers will still try to get people into stores to create loyal, brand-aware customers, so there is a fine balance between just pushing volumes and developing the brand at the same time.

Source: Retail Gazette