While global corporations like Amazon and Sephora may have been the first to jump on omnichannel retail, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are also ideal candidates.
Over the last few years, we've seen how the lines between online and offline shopping are blurring. As the PwC Total Retail 2016 survey notes, there's still a strong consumer preference to make purchases in-store, after doing research online. This preference is especially clear in product categories like clothing, furniture, household appliances, and consumer electronics.
Let's take a closer look at the reasons why SMEs should adopt an omnichannel retail approach.
Omnichannel retail strengthens customer relationships
What keeps bringing shoppers into stores, even when the products are available online? According to the PwC survey, it might come down to the staff. At least 40% of respondents said that sales associates with deep product knowledge were an important factor in making their in-store shopping experience better. Strong service and employee training can have a major impact on customer satisfaction, so it's not surprising that having a team of experts can be an effective way to create customer loyalty.
This is great news for small businesses, who can use omnichannel retail to build close ties to their customer base using a few different methods:
- Email campaigns and social media: SMEs can engage with customers in real-time, wherever they happen to be, through digital storytelling.
- In-store screens: Sales associates can use digital tools like Endless Aisle to guide customers towards a purchase decision.
What does it come down to? Omnichannel retail creates more touchpoints for small businesses, which thrive on delivering meaningful in-person service.
Omnichannel retail helps you adapt your strategy
Small businesses who use omnichannel retail gain an abundance of valuable data. Website analytics, social media metrics, email campaign stats, and more can measure the performance of each of these channels, and help SMEs understand what their customers respond to best.
The way people shop is changing, so it's worth tracking those changes as they happen. By their very nature, small businesses are better able to pivot quickly and adapt their strategies to fit the evolving needs of their customers. You can make decisions based on clear operational metrics by using a POS solution to gain easy access to historical data for trend-spotting.
What's the key advantage? Having an overarching view of all your channel's performances helps you make better informed business decisions.
Learn more about using POS data to improve your profitability.
Omnichannel retail costs don't need to be a barrier
The cost of launching an omnichannel retail strategy may seem daunting, but it shouldn't be seen as a real obstacle. It's tempting for SMEs to compare their online presence to the big guys who have large-scale budgets, but they can take advantage of cost-effective options to help them stay viable.
How can you benefit? With the right solutions, you can give your customers as rich of an online experience as larger retailers.
A major benefit for SMEs
While brick-and-mortar stores are still a permanent fixture for retailers of any size, shopping has also increasingly become an online affair. SMEs that can bridge these two worlds through omnichannel retail will reap the benefits of richer customer relationships, better data for improved decision-making, and more sales opportunities.
Explore how you can revitalize your in-store experience with an omnichannel ready POS.
Feature Photo: Nestor Rizhniak / Shutterstock.com