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The Future of Retail Marketing: Omni-channel Shopping

Via LinkedIn : Since the advancements in technology, it seems everything is going online. Technology has integrated into our lives so much so that we can barely spend an hour without looking at our phone, checking whatsapp, poking our friends on Facebook, tweeting about the latest football score or letting the world know what we’re eating via Instagram. In the era where everything is going online, marketers simply cannot afford to neglect the online space where people spend more time than the actual physical world. But everything, and I mean everything, has its own pros and cons. While marketers cater to the online space, they MUST NOT forget about the actual, tangible experience that is not possible on the internet. Hence, as customers change their behavior and preferences, instead of thinking of a desktop or a mobile experience, marketers need to think about a rather holistic approach i.e. a multi-channel or an omni-channel experience.

The Omni-Channel Shopper

There are no short cuts when it comes to building a brand. With the help of analytics, it has become possible to understand a customer’s buying pattern, his/her preferences and, more importantly, their loyalty towards a particular brand. And it is becoming more clear with each passing day that customers are no longer satisfied with just one mode of purchase, be it online or offline. They already expect an integration between different channels. They expect that if they aren’t satisfied with the item they ordered online, they can go to the store and return it. Here, from retailers’ point of view, it is imperative that they make sure the customers’ expectations are met. To do that, it is of extreme importance to monitor and measure the buying behavior of the shopper. Several factors are taken into consideration while measuring such customers’ behavior such as gender, demographics, location, internet browsing patterns, in-store shopping history, etc. To exceed the customer’s expectations, retailers should understand their customers in even greater detail by understanding their specific traits, what influences them to shop online and in-store. Armed with these insights, retailers can better serve their customers and draw the online shoppers into their stores. Also, it is important for a retailer to keep the customer updated with relevant information. Informed customers, who find local retail information in search results, are more likely to visit the store. This can be done with the help of Local Inventory Ads, Product Listing Ads, etc.

Why go through the pain?

1. Improved Customer Perception

Happy and satisfied customers tend to be a company’s BIGGEST brand ambassadors. Brands that create an experience for their customers by going an extra mile, get remembered and gain more advocates in the form of customers. Brands who do not provide such experience, are likely to lose customers. Improved perception also results in customers willing to pay a little extra for the convenience provided by the brand and also result in repeat purchases.

2. Increased Sales

All of this, is because a retailer wants to increase his/her profits. And that is possible only if there’s an increase in product sales. Multi-channel retailing offers a customer the convenience of multiple engagement points to make a purchase. Some might not want to go physically to the store to buy a perfume, for them the convenience of online purchase. Some would want to go to the store to buy a pair of jeans because it makes sense to try them on first to see if it fits. For them, the in-store kiosks. Increased number of options results in increased sales.

3. Better Customer Insights

Multiple point of sales provides more opportunities to gather information about the customer. If a retailer can track what a customer is purchasing, and where, more targeted marketing can be introduced. Someone who tends to browse online and then purchase in-store, for example, can be emailed an invitation to a private showing in a store, and the list of products to be shown can be sent before the event, increasing the likelihood of purchase.

Omni-channel shopping is the future of retail. The sooner the marketers realize this fact, the better they’ll be able to serve their customers and reap benefits. Give customers what they crave, provide them with necessary, relevant information and spoil them for choices, for soon it is going to be impossible to work with just one retail channel.

I’d love to have your thoughts on the post. Any feedback is highly appreciated. 🙂

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