The line between online and in-store shopping has been blurred for some time, but never more than this holiday season.
A couple links we came across yesterday sort of occupy that gray area, known to many simply as "omnichannel."
First, was an article from the CBC's Dianne Buckner (Nov. 2), saying that Canadians should expect an "e-commerce explosion" these holidays.
- In the U.K., close of 15% of overall retail sales are made online, versus 9% in the U.S. (according to Forrester) and 6% in Canada.
- Forrester predicts the U.S. will reach 11% by 2019; Canada will reach 10%.
- Best Buy says 40% of Canadians buy goods online via foreign retailers.
- In-store pickup: Best Buy and The Bay plan to offer it for online orders this holiday season.
- Mobile purchases: Retail Council of Canada reports 25% of online transactions are coming from mobile devices.
- Endless aisle: Many retailers (e.g. Walmart, Sears, Foot Locker, London Drugs) offer a wider array of products online than they do in-store.
Second, Bloomingdale's "next-gen store" in Palo Alto, Calif. was featured in Retail Info Systems (RIS) News (Nov. 3).
- Mobile equipped associates: Selling staff are equipped with mobile devices to pull up product availability, to call/email/SMS with customers, and to complete the sale via mobile POS.
- Smart fitting rooms: Fitting rooms have wall-mounted tablets, allowing customers to look up product information, alternate colors/sizes, ratings and reviews, and recommendations on complementary items.
- Digital wallet: Bloomingdale's accepts bWallet, which integrates with store promotions and Bloomingdale's rewards, as well as online purchases.
- In-store pickup and same-day delivery: The store offers in-store pickup of online orders, as well as same-day delivery for shoppers located within a 15-mile radius (delivered within a 5-hour window).