Why retailers need to deliver a seamless experience that is in sync with the consumer’s journey in the marketplace
Omnichannel communication connects with customers by placing them at the core of the marketing strategy of a brand or modern retailer. Such an approach delivers personalized conversations via interconnected channels to create a unified experience that synchronizes naturally with the consumer’s journey in the marketplace. Progressive Grocer observes one such digital solution offered by online shopping app Fynd and the functional principle it is based on.
Omnichannel seeks to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience, whether they’re shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone, or in a brick-and-mortar store. The term itself may be a marketing buzzword, but it refers to a significant shift: marketers now need to provide a seamless shopping experience, regardless of channel or device. Consumers can now engage with a company in a physical store, on an online website or mobile app, through a catalog, or through social media. The entire process entails viewing the business model through the eyes of the customer, orchestrating the customer experience and rendering it more integrated and consistent. It anticipates that customers may start in one channel and move to another as they progress to a resolution or buying decision. Making these complex ‘hand-offs’ between channels fluid for the customer is what omnichannel retailers aim to do. According to research from Vantiv, young adults aged 18-34 are more likely to own a smartphone and are more likely to use mobile devices to cross traditional channel boundaries when shopping. The spending power of Millenials is growing as they enter their peak earning years, meaning that cross-channel interactions from these consumers are expected to grow as well. But it’s not just Millenials that are crossing traditional channel boundaries. The research also identifies that a significant number of older consumers are also adopting the attitudes and expectations of omniconsumers. There are pockets of older consumers that have a youthful enthusiasm for mobile payments, while higher-income consumers are also more likely to be interested in cross-channel behaviors. As consumers become more comfortable using their smartphones and tablets, they will become increasingly comfortable interacting with a brand on their devices. A senior citizen looking to buy a smartwatch might be texted a recommendation by a grandchild, then walk into a physical store to purchase. That same grandchild, on the other hand, might spend weeks parsing smartwatch reviews, adding, then abandoning items in their cart on both mobile and desktop, before finally purchasing because of an enticing e-mail offer. It is imperative that brands and retailers realize this erratic browsing and buying behavior and adapt their strategies to accommodate the modern consumer. Marketing approaches must be geared and oiled to enable customers to convert on any channel while interacting with a brand. There are a number of online tools that can assist brands in targeting a vacillating audience via a number of outreach programs to ensure brand visibility.
Online fashion startup Fynd follows an onlineto-offline model, where it showcases fashion products from a brand’s in-store inventory on its app. Essentially, it allows consumers to choose products from a neighborhood store, based on their respective location. The company picks up the product from the stores and delivers them to consumers. Fynd also dabbles in hardware. It also developed Fynd Store, a screen that allows consumers to browse all products sold by a particular brand. These screens are placed inside the brand stores. A variant of a product that is unavailable in a particular store can be ordered on Fynd Store and sourced from the nearest outlet that stocks the product. While acting as omnichannel partner for fashion label AND, Fynd was able to help plug in lost sales due to unavailability of the product and act as a digital catalog for customers to
browse and shop from. This provided 99% catalog coverage and produced a 2% increment in sales while approximately saving 6-8% sales. An impressive tech-platform such as Fynd has tremendous potential to scale within and beyond fashion in India. A storedriven commerce approach, without inventory and warehousing, such as the one used by the innovative app has a unique position in the marketplace and can serve to influence food and grocery retail as well.
An online multi-store platform acts as a promising omnichannel solution as it overcomes the challenge of low brand coverage due to unavailability of product images and enables customers to search for brands on an image less and hidden product catalog. It also addresses the persistent customer complaint related to product search using an item code or human memory. Consumers can use an online channel to scan barcodes or enter key product attributes in an app to locate a product in their vicinity. An integrated solution using impressive media also solves technical glitches much more efficiently while placing orders and making payments. The omnichannel method enhances customer experience and also enhances the brand performance by providing complete and easy-to-locate product lists in an organized, methodical fashion. An online service partner can also track orders at the store level and link consumers to end-to-end order tracking solutions, thus reducing dependency on consumer support. Another advantage of this strategy is that it brings about a 24-hour access to the customer, which helps build brand loyalty. Retailers also benefit from omnichannel by improving analytics to understand consumer behaviors since building a personalized customer experience is a must in the digital age. Cross-channel inventory visibility truly unlocks the key of a successful omnichannel retail system.
When retail and wholesale channels are integrated into one omnichannel strategy, system or fulfillment program, retailers and brand merchandisers can better control their purchase orders, stock counts, sales data, shipping fulfillment information from a single platform. Moreover, this new channel to create more innovative work flows and manage more complex systems and this level of visibility would be significantly important to warehouse management. To systematically implement omnichannel customer touch points, a seller needs to understands the target market and capitalize on group-specific data points. It helps to segment the audience using market automation and build rich profiles about customers and their buying preferences. Marketing teams must develop content/messaging that addresses variable cases and behaviors. For example, if a customer has put something into a cart, but hasn’t purchased it yet, targeted marketing content must focus on referencing that intent. By adapting a systematic and well-desgined omnichannel strategy best suited to a seller’s business landscape, both front-end and backend chains can be better executed to maximize profit.
Technology has wholly disrupted the retail industry and has majorly impacted marketplace interactions. Consumers are no longer loyal to a single brand or type of shopping. They now shop in an omnichannel fashion, sometimes buying on a mobile device while in a brick-and-mortar store, or browsing a marketplace before heading to a category-specific site. Today, India’s hyper-connected consumers expect businesses to provide unparalleded and consistent communication and service across all touch points. The mobile revolution, increased digitization and e-commerce have together played a significant role in changing the face of retail as we know it. The result? Omnichannel is growing in popularity and redefining the retail experience.
Retailers and brand merchandisers can better control their purchase orders, stock counts, sales data, shipping fulfillment information from a single platform.