There’s little doubt that mobile is a crucial touchpoint for retail customers, yet few purchasing journeys take place exclusively on digital channels. According to a study from Harvard Business Review, only 7% of participants were online-only shoppers, while 20% were store-only shoppers. The majority – 73% – used multiple channels during their shopping journey.
As such, opting for an omnichannel strategy, i.e. one which encompasses and connects all possible purchasing channels, is essential for today’s retailers. In fact, it became even more critical after COVID-19. The pandemic has greatly strengthened e-commerce, and,at the same time, it revealed there is a strong desire among customers to visit stores physically, expecting an enhanced and more enjoyable shopping experience.
Omnichannel, in a Nutshell
Unlike the multichannel approach, omnichannel commerce puts customers at the center of the strategy, aiming to give them a seamless shopping experience across every channel. With omnichannel commerce, every touchpoint is optimized and connected to achieve a unified shopping process.
This includes both online and offline channels, encompassing brick-and-mortar stores, app-based options, and online platforms.
Just take a clothes retailer, for example. A comprehensive omnichannel strategy might encompass connecting with and selling to customers in a physical store, on Instagram’s shopping tab, on its app and website, as well as on a third-party platform like Amazon.
The customer’s experience must be seamless as they hop from one experience to the other. This means consistent branding, messaging, and customer service across all touchpoints.
Let's talk about some of the benefits of embracing omnichannel.
Increased Customer Retention
Customers often use several touchpoints before making a purchase. With an omnichannel approach, commerce players can create a cross-channel marketing strategy that will lead to a higher retention rate. Organizations that adopt omnichannel strategies boost their year-over-year customer retention rates by 91% compared to those that don’t.
Beauty brand Sephora has been able to leverage omnichannel to increase customer loyalty. Sephora launched a rewards program as part of its omnichannel experience, allowing members to log in on mobile or desktop to shop, see their favorites, locate physical stores, scan items in-store, view their past purchases and rewards points, and watch tutorial videos. This has earned the company over 10 million members, who spend on average 15 times more on Sephora products than non-members.
Enhanced Brand Image
An exciting shopping experience across all channels is essential to building a strong and unified brand image. Customers value retail companies that maintain consistency, from the first impression on social media to the buyer experience, and post-purchase customer support.
Deichmann, Europe’s largest shoe retailer,has done an excellent job of building brand image through its omnichannel strategy. Together with intive, theydeveloped an app that enhances the in-store experience and allowsthem to buy online, in-app, and in physical stores – with minimal friction. What came as a result was a flawless ecosystem that met and exceeded customers´ expectations, with a five-star rating in the app store.
With a user-centric approach, Deichmann´mobile shopping app includesa filtering feature, wish lists, and a functionality that enablescustomers to buy the product in the app and collect it in-store.It alsocontains a scanner feature, allowing users to scan a barcode in-store and quickly find out if the product is available in their size and in which stores.
More Valuable Customers
According to the aforementioned study from the Harvard Business Review, omnichannel customers spent an average of 4% more on every shopping occasion in-store and 10% more online than single-channel customers. In fact, with every additional channel they used, customers spent more money in-store.
One example of omnichannel success comes from one of the world’s largest fashion brands on the global scene. With a presence in 40 countries, Esprit worked together with intive to create an app that placed customer experience at the heart of the process.By enhancing the efficiency of the app, users would never be more than two taps away from the product they need. On top, loading speed increased significantly. These improvements were reflected in strong growth in app traffic and increasing e-commerce conversion rates.
Another deployment that greatly increased loyalty and overall satisfaction among Esprit´s customers wasOrder@Store app. With this smart in-store digital tool, sales associates can provide information to clients in an instant.
Retailers now have the opportunity to build a holistic shopping experience by embracing omnichannel and becoming truly customer-centric. With continuous user research and tailored solutions for each shopping touchpoint, brands can ensure a valuable and dynamic omnichannel experience.
You want more insights and practical tips? Read our whitepaper “Holistic Shopping Experience“ – How commerce players can optimize business, technology, and user experience with the right mindset.