Retailers embracing an omnichannel environment gain a variety of benefits, such as 22 percent of customers purchasing more in store when they engage with digital channels, according to Retail Next. However, many retailers run into challenges for optimizing their omnichannel experience, with 78 percent of consumers running into in-store staff unaware of online information and other cross-channel problems, reports Retail Customer Experience. Here are six key ways to become omnichannel optimized.
1. Mobile Optimized
Marketing Land found 90 percent of smartphone owners use their phones to complement their in-store experience, but a poor mobile experience could send them to a competitor. Retailers need quality mobile channels providing consistent information to create a good mobile customer experience. Mobile-optimized sites focus on the information that is most important to mobile users; thus, it is important that the site is responsive to various types of devices beyond the desktop.
2. Online Support
Customers look for convenient support options through the channel they are currently using instead of switching to phone or in-store options. If shoppers are researching a product online, businesses need to provide online support options, such as live chat, a self-service knowledge base, social media support, or email assistance. Online support is important for retailers, but they need to appropriately empower all avenues of customer support so the company’s resources aren’t stretched too thin.
3. Flexible Shipping Options
Flexible shipping options, such as ship from store, click-and-collect and free shipping provide ways for retailers to improve order size and revenue. In-store staff helping click-and-collect customers can suggest related products, while ship from store improves order fulfillment time. Consumers get to choose the shipping options that best meet their needs, instead of selecting a one-size-fits-all choice that locks customers into a channel-specific shipping style.
4. Return Online Purchases In-store
Retailers with omnichannel marketing strategies need to enable customers to return online purchases through the most convenient channel. A modern retail inventory management solution integrates online and in-store inventory so returning a purchase is a seamless experience for the customer. Encouraging customers to come into the store opens up opportunities for additional sales, such as instances in which the customer service staff suggests a more appropriate product for the customer’s needs than the one returned.
5. Online/Offline Loyalty Program
The retailer’s loyalty program should not be split between offline and online channels. A customer’s loyalty program information should be unified throughout all channels so the information is readily available. A mobile point of sale (POS) system can integrate retailers’ online and offline information so the customer earns loyalty rewards whether the purchases are made online or offline. Retailers can use this consolidated purchase information for strategic purchases, such as effective inventory stocking for the location.
6. Inventory Look Up
Many customers look up inventory information online or through mobile channels prior to entering the store. They want to know the product availability, the selection of buying options, and potentially the in-store location of the item. If this information is inaccurate or unavailable, customers may choose a competitor for the purchase.
Retailers need an omnichannel experience to accommodate customer preferences. In-store, desktop, and mobile channels need consistent information and the features consumers expect when they are looking up store and product information. High-quality omnichannel optimization brings many benefits for retailers, such as an increased amount of foot traffic in the store and a better customer experience.