Online shopping are two words together that sends shudders down the spines of retail stores everywhere. Visions of “store closing” signs dance in their heads as they worry about the death of the physical store. Despite the recent closings of many big name retailers, retail is not dead. Coincidentally, not thinking of physical and online shopping as mutually exclusive is the key to success. For this reason, we present to you the future: The Omnichannel revolution. Commercial Integrator explains,
“Some call this change hybrid retail, others Omni channel retail (‘a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar store’, according to one online search). The meaning is exactly the same: a seamless shopping experience across all retail platforms.”
Here are some tips for creating the new retail experience for consumers.
- Set up an online presence– Each retailer must not think of their online presence as an after thought. The goal is to have them start their experience online and then lure them into the store to experience the product in-person. Creating a seamless experience where customers can go back in forth between platforms is going to be a big indicator of the success of the retail store. This can even mean that the customer comes in store and then complete the purchase online. Online should be helping the physical store and vice versa, not being forced to be seen as separate entities in competition with each other.
- Don’t incorporate useless technology– A great way to lure the customer in store is with technology. But, don’t invest in useless technology. For example, a street wear brand with a Tupac hologram, but nothing that makes a shopping experience easier has it backwards. Ok, the hologram is cool, and could actually create a demand to come in in store. But, don’t make that your only investment.
- Technology that enhances the customer experience is gold– There are a few services that are prime for investment. First, VividWorks has an online 3D sales tool. Second, VividPlatform allows consumers to view products in 3D and build their own products using different materials. Third, in store kiosks and video walls have the ability to enhance the customer experience, bring them in store and keep them there longer. Virtual reality is going to become more incorporated into the shopping experience and more technologies will be created in the next couple years.
- Make customers feel in charge– A large factor in the success of online shopping is that it allows the customer to feel in charge. They can shop anywhere, at any time and without interruptions. Customers want the help of an associate when they want it and do not enjoy being pressured into purchases. allows consumers to buy at their leisure with no pressure from a sales assistant. By creating the strong online presence, the customer is lured to the brand but then can choose to go in store to speak with an associate or experience the items for themselves without pressure. Then, they can finish the sale online if they so wish. Creating the seamless experience is what the customer of the future craves. Being able to return items in store that were purchased online is another way to engage the customer in store.
- Innovate and remain positive– Remember that technology is not the enemy and creating a retail strategy that incorporates it into the physical shopping experience will drive sales. Further proof that investing in the physical store is that Amazon and other online-only marketplaces are planning to open stores in the near future. They see the necessity of the of creating a seamless consumer experience that includes both channels. When business planning it never hurts to think WWAD (What Would Amazon Do.
Strategizing and incorporating an omnichannel into practice now is merely a suggestion. Although. In the future it will be a prerequisite that will determine whether the store sinks or swims. The customer desires personalization in their shopping experience and technology has the ability to do it more effectively than either channel could alone.