The Omnichannel Commerce experience is becoming more central to the fortunes of retailers and brands. The factors driving it – pandemic-driven impetus to digital commerce, the demographic profile skewing to digital natives and the ever growing clout of eCommerce marketplaces.
Omnichannel Commerce enables retailers and brands to create a seamless experience for their customers across multiple platforms. A great Omnichannel experience drives great engagement throughout the customer journey across platforms, enhancing the buying experience and building great loyalty.
Landscape of Retail in 2023 :
With retailers constantly finding new ways to reach their audience to uplift their buyer-seller relationship, the consumers essentially navigate what trends work and what don’t. Here’s a lookbook on the landscape of retail trends in 2023.
Customization is no longer enough. Retailers go beyond : In a world where custom-made products speak volumes, they have now become a common service provided by all retailers to satisfy their customers. But what sparks the trend curve is how retailers have begun to combine customization with consideration. Let us explain – it is easy to market to people with the data collected. But what if we did something considerable with that data to make the shopping experience more meaningful? For example, many retailers now give a choice to their consumers to opt out of marketing for certain holidays/festivities. This gives them an opportunity to earn their trust for a long term.
“I Influence Your Shopping Needs.” Retailers now leverage relatable influencer marketing : With Influencer Marketing receiving so much praise and engagement, retailers are now expected to leverage influencers who are more relatable to their target audience and who can genuinely influence a large number of consumers to build trust for their products with the help of user-generated content (UGC).
Seamless shopping experience : Omnichannel retail is upgrading by the minute to bring a seamless experience for all customers who visit brands to leave a lasting and memorable impression. The shopping experience that brings out a positive outcome ultimately compels consumers to react or purchase a product. When consumers see brands lay out customer-centric solutions with their services, it promotes their brand loyalty, which is what consumers are looking for.
As we head into the 2023 Holiday season, let us look at how Omnichannel is likely to evolve in 2024.
The distinction between digital and physical channels will continue to diminish
A McKinsey report states over 60% of customers engage in online search and browsing. Google search trends indicate that the number of people searching for nearby retail locations has grown 3X in the last 2 years. A report by Shopify states 59% of customers search the products online, before buying them from a store.
Store Associates will get more empowered
The role of store associates will gain increased importance for omnichannel customers. Associates will be expected to provide more personalized customer service. They will be increasingly enabled with connected hand-held devices to understand the customer’s journey and personalize their in-store shopping experience.
AI & Automation will play bigger roles
AI is being used to enhance online buying experience, predicting customer choices and driving hyper personalization. Addition of more in-store connected devices will bring that personalization to the stores. It will also be used to drive more in-store automation – shopping guidance, virtual trials, preselected collections to review – and much more.
The role of data will only increase
Retailers are working on integrating their customer data to create a 360-degree view. The online browsing behavior will be used to curate collections, in-store merchandize planning and personalized offers for in-store shoppers. In-store purchase data will be used to drive online promotions and new product launches.
Streamlining the supply chains
Omnichannel strategies will drive change throughout the organization. This will include localized inventory planning, distributed fulfillment centers and an increased role of stores in fulfilling online orders. Retailers will also strengthen their curbside pickups and in-store return capabilities for online orders.
Why should brands invest in omnichannel?
Before the covid pandemic, customers were shopping across multiple channels and devices.
More and more were searching online and then proceeding to the store to purchase.
Research collected by Think With Google indicated that omnichannel strategies help generate around 80% of the in-store visits by customers. Furthermore, as much as 74% of customers do online research before actually visiting a physical store.
Because here’s the thing: According to data, 55% of consumers still enjoy going to physical stores to touch and see products. Even if they end up buying online, their in-store experiences often affect their decisions.
Alternatively, customers may be at a physical shop, select an item they like but there is not the correct size, dimensions, or color, and then pull out a smart device to check online for it and buy it there. 77% of shoppers who use their smartphones for inventory research within a shop state that it has become an essential part of the experience.
It’s evident then that an essential aspect of omnichannel is that each channel is interconnected to provide a consistent brand experience and connected purchase journey.
For instance, data from RetailMeNot concluded that 69% of consumers had used their mobile devices to check products at home, with 53% having used their smartphones to check reviews before chatting to a store employee.
By the year 2024, it is anticipated that mobile commerce (“mcommerce”) will constitute 40.4% of total ecommerce sales.
And by 2025, mobile sales are projected to account for 10.4% of all retail transactions.
In omnichannel marketing, a brand will use several channels to reach a customer, but each touchpoint is managed separately with a different strategy.
A customer-first omnichannel marketing strategy is centered around the customer and ensures that customers can quickly and effortlessly switch between each brand touchpoint to make a purchase.
Brands with a top omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5% yearly increase in annual revenue, compared to 3.4% for poor omnichannel brand strategies.
Furthermore, according to research, solid omnichannel brands witness a 7.5% yearly decrease in cost per contact.
And yet, only 11% of organizations claim to have a sophisticated omnichannel implementation.
It’s important to note that 77% of highly effective omnichannel businesses store customer data across various channels. This is in contrast to only 48% of less effective omnichannel companies.
3 Retail trends set to boost sales in 2024 :
With a shift in economic and consumer loyalty patterns, industry leaders are steadfast in boosting sales in retail in 2024.
Enhanced CX with Automation to Boost Sales : In 2024, you will see retailers giving more emphasis to automating their services like restocking, fulfillment services, customer care and checkout for better and enhanced customer experience (CX) which allows retailers to focus on more complex inquiries and provide faster service in other ways, further contributing to the quest to boost retail sales.
Personalized Omnichannel Everywhere : Personalization is no longer a cutting-edge approach. It is something you do to stay connected with your customers to retain loyalty. All through the pandemic, we saw consumers dwelling into omnichannel features such as ordering online and picking up in-store and the Gen Z consumers opting out of traditional shopping culture to a more seamless experience online. Catering all consumer expectations is what would help boost sales in 2024.
Embrace Omnichannel Ecosystems : Become an integral part of your customer’s life by not just being a physical or online brand but by embracing the entire omnichannel ecosystem to create relatable content, offers and community interactions that help in sustaining customer engagement beyond traditional shopping transactions. For example, Nike has apps like SNKRS and Run Club that do more than just sell products—they also plan events, meet-ups, and running groups. Personalized exercise routines and fitness regimens are offered by their Training Club app. By making an investment in these experiences, Nike surpasses its core business of merely selling footwear and apparel and integrates itself into consumers’ daily lives, ultimately boosting retail sales.
Omnichannel Commerce will continue to be a strategic priority for retailers in 2024. Additional investment will go into strengthening current omnichannel capabilities. The goal remains to make Omnichannel commerce truly omnichannel.