Omnichannel retail strategies unite online and offline channels to deliver a unified shopping experience to customers. Today’s consumers no longer shop only in-store or online. Instead, they fluidly switch from one channel to another, expecting a seamless brand experience across brick-and-mortar, mobile, desktop, print, and more.
As such, it’s important for stores to create a strong, consistent experience for their consumers across these channels. For brands looking to build up their omnichannel presence, here are some simple steps to help them evolve alongside the retail landscape.
Use responsive design for better brand consistency
Omnichannel strategies are increasingly customer-centric. As highlighted by Deloitte Consumer Review: Digital Predictions 2017, a report which analyzes the top innovations that affect consumer habits, new technologies are making the consumer journey more efficient, seamless, and consumer-centric. In particular, the review outlines how enhanced mobile connectivity, with the advent of 5G mobile networks, will lead to dramatically faster data traffic. As greater mobile connectivity facilitates consumers’ mobile habits, companies can expect more and more shoppers to use mobile apps and channels as the primary method to interact with their brand.
In order to improve their omnichannel presence, retailers need to provide a consumer experience that is consistent across different online and offline channels. Designing a website with mobile interfaces in mind can help to ensure that no consumer touchpoint is difficult to navigate or non-responsive when users switch from desktop to mobile browsing. Building a mobile site through Responsive Web Design (RWD) helps to maintain the brand style while ensuring that no subpages are lost or difficult to find across different devices. Brands that use RWD build out their website using one set of code, so that updates are instantly reflected across different channels. For brands like Starbucks, who see more than five percent of their card transactions happen through customers’ mobile devices, using responsive design is critical to their bottom line.
Incorporate digital habits into brick-and-mortar stores
For companies wanting to build out their omnichannel presence, it is important to think about the physical retail environment. How does the retail store incorporate mobile and other digital habits into the space? For consumers who have grown accustomed to receiving instant information throughout their purchasing experience, stores that allow them the same access will stay ahead while maintaining a consistent consumer journey. For instance, retailers that use digital touchscreens such as Endless Aisle merge the best aspects of online shopping with the in-store experience.
These virtual merchandising technologies empower customers to easily access information on the entire product line while providing them with the personalized service of an in-store shop. They can also prompt consumers to engage across other channels, by asking shoppers to sign up with their email address or follow the brand on social media.
Use consumer data to customize across channels
As omnichannel retail strategies become increasingly consumer-centric, brands must prioritize the individual needs and wants of their customers to offer truly customized and valuable information. New technologies offer brands a great marketing opportunity by allowing them to gather essential data on their customers; brands can learn a lot about their visitors by tracking which items, promotions, and channels they prefer. Omnichannel strategies should work to develop in-depth customer profiles that can shape advertising and messaging customization based on browsing habits and in-store or online purchases. This information can help you to tailor customer experiences, and even offer real-time promotions and updates based on customers' exact location in a store.
Collecting data from all touchpoints helps companies build out their omnichannel presence by providing insights into which channels are driving the most conversions. If certain customers engage with the brand primarily through their e-commerce site, brands can send online promotions with customized deals based off of users' online shopping history. If the customer has responded well to free shipping in the past, brands can offer special shipping rates for large purchases. If a customer has proven to visit brick-and-mortar locations after learning about in-store promotions, retailers can be sure to email about these events in advance. These tactics will help provide value to customers while allowing brands to become more strategic and pointed with their offers, and by extension, with their future omnichannel strategies.
Whether you're integrating your online and offline channels for the first time or you're looking to improve your existing strategies, these simple steps can help you build brand dependency, create a more consistent consumer journey across channels, and maximize conversions.
Want to ensure your company is making the most of its omnichannel strategies? Learn more about how to optimize your marketing efforts across all channels.
Photo: Shutterstock / Ben Harding