The holiday season is in full swing, the busiest time of year for retail. In a few short weeks, when it all calms down, businesses will reflect on the successes and failures of the year and begin to plan ahead. As you look to create your 2018 business priorities, consider these 4 reasons to become an omnichannel business.
Consumer behavior is what makes brick-and-mortar stores relevant today. Customers are looking for and buy experiences, not just products. As their behavior changes, so does real estate. Stores must evolve to keep up with customer demand. So what demand is being created? In today’s world, everyone has smartphones and are always connected – giving them the ability to complete a purchase anywhere. This digital presence has altered expectations – consumers expect stores to deliver the same product assortment and ordering ability they get online. These connected shoppers use their phones to validate pricing and information while in store. To keep up, retailers must equip their stores with technologies that provide these added values.
Online sales opportunity
To remain competitive with the ever-growing presence of online retailers, brick-and-mortar retailers must have an online presence too. The more online channels the better – create social media profiles for your business displaying contact information and operating hours. Register your store locations on Google maps so customers can easily find your store. Most importantly – have an e-commerce website where customers can browse your inventory, see product availability and pricing, and transact. By offering a variety of options including Buy Online Pick-Up In Store, Reserve Online, Pick-Up In-Store or Buy Online Ship to Home, customers can get what they want, when they want, how they want it. These online touch points will bridge your shopper’s experience - browsing online and into your store, creating a seamless picture.
Grow in-store sales
It isn’t all happening online - pure-play online retailers are still establishing footprints, think Amazon acquiring Whole Foods. Physical stores still play a significant role in the retail industry. Only 12.6% of total retail sales were transacted online in the first half of 2017(Link). To grow in-store sales, retailers must consider the broader omnichannel journey shoppers experience. For starters, using Dropship and Endless Aisle will create consistency between the in-store and online experience – the ability to offer every product to their customers, even if it isn’t physically in-stock, customers can browse and ship products directly to their doorstep. An e-commerce site will provide customers an avenue to “pre-shop”, that is research online to inform their in-store purchases. With this comes the ability for customers to buy online, pick up in store. All these increasing your in-store sales.
Make yourself future ready
With technology and consumer expectations changing so readily, it’s important to set yourself up to be adaptable and able to evolve for the future. Today, it’s all about Buy Online, Ship to Home – having an e-commerce solution that connects your customers to your brand when they’re at home or at work. The next trend may include integrating AI, VR, Chatbots, or technologies we aren’t even aware of yet into your retail experience. To be ready for any changes, having technologies that exist on open APIs will make integrating with future systems that much easier. That way, you can remain adaptable, competitive and provide memorable experiences to your customers.
Interested in learning more about the technologies that can enable you to grow your business in 2018? Book a meeting to chat with us at the CES in Las Vegas January 9-11th! We look forward to seeing you there.