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Omnichannel eCommerce Trends for 2018

September 7, 2018
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A 2018 Statista report examined business-to-consumer (B2C) eCommerce volume in the United States from 2006-2016, and found that consumers spent nearly $998M in eCommerce purchases in 2016 alone.

Omnichannel eCommerce is a new concept that builds on traditional eCommerce by guaranteeing a seamless experience between online and offline channels to engage the customer wherever they might be both physically and in the buyer’s journey.

This year, businesses continued their push toward omnichannel experiences with integrated shopping platforms that display accurate inventory counts across both company web stores and online marketplaces. In addition, retailers are investing in upgraded software to improve the customer experience both in-stores and online. Creating a well-rounded customer experience is becoming more critical as more and more shoppers are opting for the convenience of the buy-online, pick-up in store purchase option.

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Up-to-date Inventory With eCommerce Platforms

Many businesses sell their products on both their own web stores and online marketplaces. For many years, businesses were forced to manually maintain accurate inventory counts in each location individually, whether using spreadsheets or QuickBooks. This was tedious, and often resulted in data inaccuracies leaving customers dissatisfied. Omnichannel eCommerce platforms enable companies to manage inventory and order fulfillment across channels in one place — both online and in-store. Now, both retailers and customers have accurate information as to whether a specific product is in stock either online or in a specific store.

Supplemental Stations for Better Customer Experience

Software enhancements can benefit both retailers and customers in-store and online. Retailers see better customer engagement through easy-to-use POS software that creates a unified experience across online and offline channels.

For example, using iPads throughout the store as a supplemental station, retailers can meet customers where they are by checking size availability, transferring stock to another store, and easily taking payment information so customers can pay quickly.

Faster Buy Online, Pick-Up In Store (BOPIS) Services

Many retailers now offer buy online, pick-up in store (BOPIS) as a convenience to shoppers who already know what they want and do not want to spend time browsing stores searching for a specific product. However, the irony is that once consumers are in stores they tend to make additional purchases, generating more sales for retailers. According to a UPS study, 46% of consumers who placed a BOPIS order bought additional items upon arrival in the store. New technologies such as geo-routing can help retailers locate the closest available item to the purchaser’s physical location, whether it be in a brick-and-mortar store or local warehouse to expedite the order fulfillment process. Customers can then visit their local store for pick-up. If the item is in stock, BOPIS orders can often be fulfilled in 30 minutes or less offering the convenience consumers crave.

Omnichannel eCommerce has significant benefits for both retailers and consumers, improving cross-channel inventory management while delivering a customer experience that offers convenience. Managing inventory and bringing customers back into stores were two major challenges retailers have faced in recent years, and a modern omnichannel eCommerce platform like the one Runit provides seems like the right solution at the right time as B2C eCommerce continues to grow.