How Omnichannel Retail Cures 4 Common Customer Pain Points

Dec 18, 2016 — Christopher Krywulak
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It's fair to say that customers have high expectations when it comes to the retail experience—they want accessible navigation, accurate information, and knowledgeable sales staff.

Omnichannel retail makes meeting those expectations easier by providing customers with multiple touchpoints and avenues for communication. In fact, omnichannel retail can be a cure for many of the most common customer pain points. Let's dig into the biggest customer complaints and look at how omnichannel retail can address them.

1. Boost your sales associates' expertise

In a typical brick-and-mortar store, sales associates have many responsibilities. They need to keep the shelves stocked, serve the customers, and stay up-to-date on their product knowledge. With limited time, or limited resources, something's gotta give. Customers are quick to notice when the sales associate they're talking to isn't an expert, and that can seriously sour the experience.

ModCloth, a retailer that existed online for 14 years before they opened their first brick-and-mortar location, has kept this issue in mind. At their shop in Austin, Texas, they limit the amount of inventory kept in-store, relying instead on a wide selection of sample pieces that can be displayed in a larger showroom area. As a result, their sales associates can spend their time focusing on product knowledge and the customer experience, and their overall space isn't monopolized by stock.

Tip: Arm your sales associates with in-store tablets. They'll have all the necessary information at their fingertips so they can promptly answer any customer queries.

2. Make product discovery simpler

According to a Forbes Insight retail survey, 82% of shoppers research products online, and a third of retailers believe their sites encourage customers to visit their brick-and-mortar locations, which is where the majority of purchases are made.

If you're not providing a way for customers to discover your products online, while simplifying their physical search for those same products offline, you're missing out on potential sales.

Tip: Use a central commerce platform to share consistent product information across all channels. Customers can enjoy a seamless experience as they move from online to offline channels and back again.

3. Expand your customer contact options

Customer service doesn't end when the store closes for the night. Customers expect to be able to reach retailers to get the products they want and their questions answered at any time, from anywhere.

Telecom giant AT&T uses omnichannel retail to provide their customers with myriad of ways to connect—including voice calls, chat support, web inquiries, and social media. The company uses the interaction data they collect from these channels to fine-tune the customer experience even more.

Tip: Connect your e-commerce platform to your POS solution. When a customer orders a product online or buys something in-store at any time, you can gain a comprehensive view of their purchasing habits that will help you improve the overall shopping experience.

4. Anticipate your customers' needs

In busy stores, some shoppers can get overlooked. Left to wander by themselves, they will often pull out their smartphones to get the information they need. In fact, 71% of customers say they use their smartphones to research products while they meander through the aisles. Even when a customer is in your store, they'll still rely on multiple channels to learn more.

Tip: Set up digital signage around your store. As a customer browses, they can easily learn about current deals and discounts as well as new products to help inform their purchasing decisions.

An improved shopping experience through omnichannel retail

By finding more ways to connect with customers as they progress through their buying journey, you can create a shopping experience that leaves them coming back to your store for more.

Besides improving the customer experience, omnichannel is becoming a necessary part of modern retail. Learn more about which in-store tech retailers are using to make omnichannel a reality. 

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Feature Photo: Jack Frog / Shutterstock.com

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