Thirty years ago, the buying process was simple.
If you wanted a new pair of shoes, you’ll walk into your favorite store on the weekend with coffee in hand, ask for recommendations from the sales associate, try on a few pairs of shoes and walk away with your purchase in hand.
Today, you can’t predict how shoppers behave.
Shoppers browse endless shoe catalogs and research product reviews before buying online.
The reverse is also true. Shoppers can either research online and complete their purchase in-store, or do research in-store.
Today’s shoppers move seamlessly between physical, online and mobile storefronts to buy that same pair of shoes.
In Criteo’s State of Cross-Device Commerce’s report, more than a third of online purchases from health to motor vehicle accessories were completed over multiple devices.
The signs are clear – now is the time to start developing an omnichannel approach.
But how do you create a consistent and extraordinary customer experience across multiple channels?
Start with the essentials.
Come, let us show you how.
Understand Customer’s Expectations
Omni-channel retailing is providing an easier and enjoyable shopping experience for your customers regardless of when and where they intend to shop from.
According to a study done by CommBank, customers prefer digital channels for convenience, whereas customers preferred shopping in-store for the shopping experience.
Source: CommBank Retail Insights
Make things easier and enjoyable for your customers in these five areas.
#1: Think Mobile-First
Mobile is your shop’s new storefront.
Did you know in the last 5 years, people are now visiting stores less, but spend more money per visit?
Shoppers now research on mobile, identify what they want to buy and even select the stores they want to visit to pick up their product in-store.
Often, they already know what they want when they arrive at your store.
The mobile-first trend doesn’t stop there.
Shoppers are also doing more purchases on mobile.
Think about how your customer buys a pair of headphones, for example. Google highlighted 3 shopping ‘micro-moments’ shoppers go through before buying something.
- I-need-some-ideas. “Hmm, what kind of headphones shall I get?”
- Which-one-is-best. “OK, I’ve narrowed it down, let’s see which one is better”.
- Time-to-buy. “Great! Where shall I buy from?”
How can retailers take advantage of these micro-moments?
Be present when shoppers pick up their phone to take notes, research or browse retailers.
Be useful. Provide detailed information, user reviews or product comparisons on your site for customers to decide with.
#2: Provide Multiple Order Pick Up And Delivery Options
Convenience takes priority for today’s omnichannel customer.
They want to control where, when and how delivery happens.
If you don’t provide your customer’s preferred or affordable shipping options, potential customers find what they want, elsewhere.
Besides home delivery options, consider offering options to collect in store, click and collect, workplace delivery collection from designated pick up points.
#3: Provide Delivery Tracking
Remember, if your customer has not received their purchase, their customer journey is not complete.
According to MetaPack’s State of eCommerce 2017 Report, a massive 90% of consumers track the delivery status of their online orders. Delivery has to fit in with hectic lifestyles; with 29% of consumers changing aspects of their delivery spontaneously.
Consumers want to control their delivery experience. Start by providing delivery tracking.
Instead of letting your customers track their deliveries from your carrier, why not offer delivery tracking under your site? With a branded tracking page, customers continue interacting with your brand instead of a generic carrier page.
This is a golden opportunity to further engage your customers.
#4: Prepare For Customer Service Across Multiple Platforms
The omnichannel customer communicates across multiple digital and offline mediums at any time They expect you to meet them where they are.
According to Aberdeen Group, companies providing consistent service quality across multiple channels retain 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for those who do not.
Are you ready for customers to engage you via social media or mobile devices?
Make it easy for customers to solve delivery issues themselves by compiling a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) faced by customers.
#5: Have A Flexible Returns Policy
Did you know 72% of online shoppers do not return to a shop if they had a difficult returns experience?
In omnichannel retail, online shoppers love retailers who can provide an easier and enjoyable returns policy.
Shoe retailer Zappos is a master of this.
They are extraordinarily service-focused, offering a 365-day returns policy and free two-way shipping
Zappos’s returns policy and customer conditions is clearly stated on their website. Furthermore, they offer an easy-to-print returns label with their orders.
How Do You Get Started?
If you’re reading all this and feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. Go one step at a time.
Consistency is important to build trust.
Remember, omni-channel retail is about delivering a seamless retail experience regardless of where the customer is at. Keep consistent and stay focused on your customers to reap results.
You want to gain more hands-on insights and understand how your webshop can position itself to compete in a highly competitive retail environment? Reach out to us and discuss with our experts. Our team here at Parcel Perform is happy to share more insights with you.