Omnichannel retailing gives customers a seamless shopping experience, both in-store and online. The idea behind omnichannel retailing is to have customers engage through multiple touchpoints, all of which are consistent with your brand’s strategy.
While such a strategy used to be considered “bleeding edge,” it is now considered crucial for a brand’s survival, according to research by McKinsey. But, while ninety percent of retailers and brands have an omnichannel strategy or a plan to invest in one soon, only eight percent say they have mastered it.
The report suggests that a lack of clarity around omnichannel and how it creates value is what hobbles most efforts. A successful approach to omnichannel starts from the beginning by understanding what it is and how it can be implemented in a retail environment.
Omnichannel vs. Multichannel Retailing
Before the shift to digital media, retailers relied on multichannel marketing. Today, the multichannel approach is still the foundation for many retail marketers. Companies advertise using multiple channels—print, broadcast media, email, social media, and websites—often employing a unique strategy for each channel.
Multichannel retailing puts products at the center of marketing strategies. Each channel focuses on one product and a unique sales opportunity. Customers need to visit multiple channels to find out about all the company’s products. Their movement from one product to another may or may not be seamless.
Enter omnichannel retailing, a critical component of successful retailing in the digital economy. Seventy-three percent of consumers say they use multiple channels to research and compare pricing, then purchase them. Shoppers expect convenient, one-stop shopping no matter which channel they choose.
Omnichannel retailing addresses customers’ desires by engaging them with a combination of in-store, in-app, and online touches. The goal of omnichannel retailing is to make it simple for customers to move from one touchpoint to another to make a purchase.
Omnichannel retailers report shoppers engaging in multiple ways spend more. A study published in the Harvard Business Review found customers who used 4+ channels spent 9% more in the store, on average, when compared to those who used just one channel. What’s more, retailers with robust omnichannel engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of customers, compared to average customer retention rate of 33% for other retailers.
There is no one bundle of services that creates omnichannel retail experiences. Retailers are rolling out touchpoints that fit their products and services. Some prioritize loyalty cards. Others, online payments and live customer service agents. Examples of omnichannel retailing include:
- A customer goes online to research whether Macy’s carries an item they want. Then they search for Macy’s coupons online, then go to the store to buy them.
- Kohl’s shoppers can check the inventory of what they want to buy in-store from home. If it’s unavailable at their local store, they can see which nearby store has it in stock and get it shipped to their own store for pick-up.
- Shoe retailer Allbirds uses Shopify’s digital point-of-sale (POS) devices in its brick-and-mortar stores. Employees armed with POS devices checkout customers throughout the store.
- Retailers partner with Coinstar to attract customers to brick-and-mortar stores. The average customer using Coinstar leaves the store with a 10% bigger basket.
How Omnichannel Retailing is Changing the Industry
Trends in omnichannel retailing include:
- Shoppers use mobile devices to prepare for shopping in stores and while in the store. Their in-store activities include managing loyalty cards, chatting with customer service, and researching products.
- Use of video has exploded. Consumers are viewing product videos on 5G networks now available in more areas.
- Customers who participate in omnichannel experiences spend more both online and in stores, according to CB Insights.
- Customers of all ages prefer a combination of in-store and online interactions with brands.
Retailers also are driving in-store traffic by adding services like Coinstar. Once customers are in the door, they can find out how to engage with your omnichannel experience and spend more as a result of using both omnichannel and Coinstar.
How to Implement an Omnichannel Strategy in Retailing
Omnichannel retailing can be like a shiny object distracting company leaders. They see competitors succeeding with one tactic and want to put it in place at their own company. Instead of rushing to action, leaders must stay focused on creating value when implementing an omnichannel strategy. To do so, leaders make decisions on approaches, resource allocation, and how to work within tight margins.
Successful retailers follow these steps for developing a strategy for omnichannel engagement:
- Create a vision for how the organization as a whole will maximize omnichannel experiences.
- Set goals and objectives to achieve the vision.
- Research what technology solutions customers need. Assess the company’s digital capabilities.
- Determine resources necessary to enhance digital assets to achieve omnichannel engagement goals.
- Invest in the tech solutions that meet your customers’ needs and avoid spending on extras they might not use.
Remember: Customers want their needs met more than access to the latest digital tools.
Stages of Omnichannel Retailing
When companies are new to omnichannel retailing, they focus on the foundation of omnichannel retailing: a seamless shopping experience combining online and in-store commerce. Retailers use multiple platforms to guide the customer journey through considering products, purchasing, and buying again.
After mastering the seamless shopping experience, retailers add personalization to their omnichannel strategy. They tailor messages to consumers based on their demographics and shopping habits. Customers receive relevant, consistent communication and advertising across multiple platforms. Brand loyalty programs and an app keep customers engaged and informed between shopping trips.
Advanced omnichannel retailers develop an ecosystem to continually engage consumers. The companies integrate their products and services with their customers’ lifestyles and daily experiences. The brands build communities online where they give customers a chance to try new products and learn from people with similar interests.
Looking to explore more about omnichannel? This in-depth “omnichannel survival guide” from McKinsey does a great job of explaining the potential pitfalls and how to get it right for your business.
Coinstar + Omnichannel = More Traffic, Bigger Baskets
Getting new customers engaged with your omnichannel experience has to start somewhere. One of the best ways to attract new customers to your store is by driving them into your brick-and-mortar locations where they can learn all about the ways you make their shopping experience seamless.
If you have a Coinstar kiosk, then you already have a built-in magnet that attracts customers into your physical locations! Most Coinstar users will stay and shop after they’ve finished exchanging their coins. Once they’ve entered your four walls, you can leverage tools such as in-store signage and dynamic displays to get them to interact with you beyond the basket. So they’ll not only spend up to 10% more while in your store after cashing in their coins, but by engaging with an omnichannel experience, they’ll also increase their loyalty and their lifetime spend. With Coinstar’s solutions supporting your omnichannel strategy, you can drive incremental gains that add up to big results on your top and bottom lines.
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