With the interweaving of our real and digital lives, shopping and selling experiences have also evolved.
Gone are the days when customers just stepped into a store, looked around, and made purchases. Instead, we live in a time when they have access to much more information and are more conscious of making buying decisions.
According to a report, 73% of shoppers use more than one channel in their purchase journey. As people discover new channels and rely on them for seamless shopping, eCommerce marketers realize and act on the need to leverage omnichannel retail experiences. As a result, forecasters have also predicted that omnichannel retail sales will shoot up to 46% by 2023, a significant rise from 40.4% in 2019.
Growth of multichannel (also known as omnichannel) retail sales over the years.
What Are Omnichannel Retail Experiences?
Have you seen instances where a customer discovered a product on their social media and visited the eCommerce store to learn more about it or just make a purchase? That’s the impact of omnichannel marketing.
The omnichannel retail experience takes an integrated retail approach to reach your target market on the channels they spend their time on. The hallmark of this approach is that it goes beyond one single channel and ensures that your product is visible and available to the customers from every direction they look.
How Do Omnichannel Retail Experiences Help Retail Brands?
Brands that invest in omnichannel retail strategies stand to win in a world where consumer engagement is a crucial commodity. Although developing an omnichannel strategy can take some time, brands who invest can see tangible results.
1. Improved customer satisfaction
Omnichannel approach breaks away from mass communication and delivers more personalized messages across all channels for the target audience.
2. Higher engagement
You create an integrated, connected omnichannel customer experience by integrating your product, sales, and customer data.
3. Better reach
When digital omnichannel experience meets physical shopping, you have the scope to reach people beyond a geographical limitation.
4. Increased conversions and profits
When you interact with clients through several touchpoints and engage them with personalized content, you demonstrate your understanding of them and nurture their willingness to invest in your products.
Steps For Creating A Good Omnichannel Retail Experience
Once you guage the strength of integrated retail, you can’t help but start implementing omnichannel strategies for your brand. Here are a few steps to give you a headstart in this journey:
1. Understand customer profiles and behaviors.
Feedback is a crucial factor in creating exceptional experiences. To do so, begin analyzing customer profiles and collecting feedback. Then you can use ideal customer profiles and implement channels and strategies to target the right audiences.
An ideal customer profile helps you get into customers’ shoes and make decisions from their perspective.
2. Understand pain points and gaps within the customer experience
With customer satisfaction surveys or NPS software, you can gain insight into customer journey stages, including pre and post-purchase. Customers can tell that you understand them and are prepared to try to get to know them when you connect with them across many touchpoints and engage them with customized content.
Understanding these pain points can help you bridge the gaps created in customer experience with the help of integrated retail.
3. Design an exceptional customer experience during the purchase journey
As you clearly understand the customer, their journey and their behavior, you can start planning a multichannel retail strategy. While there are various strategies, you can use, one of the best ways is charting your ambition and establishing a continuum using three techniques –
For this strategy, brands generally prioritize one channel and employ other cross-channel strategies to support the channel in focus. For example, brands like Everlane have a digital-first strategy and physical stores to enable foot traffic.
An omnichannel personalized strategy differs from general rudimentary personalization. It involves tailored communication designed according to the channel used. Sephora is an ideal example, as it uses in-app personalization, specific behavior-based push notifications, and even in-person beauty consultations.
This is one of the most experiential strategies, which goes beyond a few channels. The focus is to create a platform for customers to enjoy content, offers and community-based interactions with fellow buyers.
Starbucks, for example, has an in-app-based ordering system and special discounts and even launched Starbucks Odyssey for communities to purchase NFTs.
Chalking out your customer experience for the purchase journey.
4. Align key stakeholders and resources
The secret to a smooth omnichannel retail flow is prioritizing company goals and ensuring that internal processes support those goals.
Your KPIs should be linked across all departments, including marketing, sales, and IT, just like your channels. Work backward to satisfy the company objectives if your organization’s goal is to integrate all sales channels for a frictionless experience fully.
For example, suppose you want your business to have better website traffic. In that case, your IT department should work on the backend and overall user experience, your marketing team should strategize for getting traffic from other channels to the website, and your sales team should assist people in completing purchases on the website or navigating through for a good experience.
Thus, you get a perfect package aligned with the needs of your business.
5. Leveraging technology to create omnichannel experience touchpoints
Brands must connect with customers across all channels to reinforce communication and personalize experiences. Leveraging this has challenges. In 2022, numerous technological innovations can help you reach the customer faster and in more innovative ways. How?
From robotized customer support, digital payment options in-store and mapping out phygital experiences, there are a lot of routes to consider. However, video commerce is ruling the roost as a tool for building omnichannel retail experiences.
According to a survey, 94% of marketers agreed that videos improve customer understanding of a product or service. With people dedicating a chunk of time to videos, brands can use them as a medium to connect with customers.
Additionally, video commerce is an umbrella term considering various strategies like livestream shopping, shoppable videos, etc., which can be used across multiple channels.
6. Gain the insights you need to create a successful omnichannel retail experience
You will be able to identify the points of friction in your omnichannel retail strategies—whether customers are browsing in-store, completing orders online, or contacting customer service—by surveying them across the whole customer journey.
Measuring the effectiveness of your omnichannel retail strategy is as simple as reviewing customer experience data and making the required modifications to keep people coming back and promoting what you have to offer.
Video Commerce As An Effective Omnichannel Retail Strategy
As the future of retail evolves with digital omnichannel experiences, brands are looking for ways that can hold the audience’s attention. Enter video commerce.
A survey by Lemonlight highlighted that 94% of consumers believed that watching a video enabled them to make a purchase decision. With the high engagement rates that videos enjoy, video commerce is an inevitable part of a brand’s omnichannel strategy.
Two effective parts of video commerce to consider while making an omnichannel strategy are:
1. Shoppable Videos
People enjoy watching reels on Instagram or shorts on YouTube. Now imagine if these led to actual real-time conversions rather than just serving an entertainment and informational purpose.
Shoppable videos are short, actionable videos that brands use to motivate instant buying and reduce long checkout processes. Shoppable videos are a tool for omnichannel marketing, optimized for mobiles, websites and other channels and devices, have instantly actionable buttons, and are time-effective.
They also have the power to drive customers to your website, which helps you raise first-party data. Famous brands like Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty have used shoppable videos to increase omnichannel experiences.
2. Livestream Shopping
The best way to ace the omnichannel experience is to digitally recreate in-store experiences for your customers. What started as a revolutionary phenomenon in China, livestream shopping, is now an unavoidable part of an omnichannel expansion.
Livestream can be featured on an official website and linked to other platforms like social media to maximize engagement. They can further be repurposed into shoppable and marketing videos and create massive engagement.
Like shoppable videos, these events or sessions can also be optimized for the phone and other devices. Hence, it becomes easy for your audience to reach out to you in real time.
Examples Of Omnichannel Retail Experiences In Action
1. American Girl: Livestream Shopping Meets Omnichannel Experiences
International brand American Girl leveraged digital omnichannel experiences for their ‘Girl of the year’ announcement. They did this by inviting figure skater Tara Lipinski to host a livestream.
The results showed high levels of engagement. The brand also used Firework’s simulcast integrations to reach audiences on Pop Sugar and Momtastic (collaboration partners).
As a result, it generated 25% of the livestream views for the first 30 days of the campaign. Additionally, American Girl used shoppable actions on its livestream video, which garnered 11% click rates, depicting purchase intent.
Takeaway: Livestreaming is an excellent way to generate engagement for your website, and with tools like simulcasting (casting the livestream on other platforms), you can digitize the omnichannel experience.
2. Timberland: Integrated Retail With Phygital Experiences
By integrating near-field communication technology (NCT) in its physical locations, Timberland fosters a social consumer experience. NCT is the software behind data transfer tools such as Apple Pay and Android Pay.
Users of this technology can tap their mobile smartphone against a unique chip to wirelessly transfer data between the two gadgets.
Timberland’s multichannel retail strategy focuses on creating phygital experiences
Source: Retail TouchPoints
Instead of employing this technology for online shopping, Timberland uses it in-store by providing customers with tablets that can be pressed against items and signage all over the store.
Information about that product or deal is displayed on the tablet when put against the chip. As a result, customers may readily see the discounts offered for each product without asking store personnel for more information.
Takeaway: Timberland’s omnichannel approach is a success because of the individualized and personalized experience it provides. The tablets and tap feature helps customers discover products that might be missed otherwise.
3. Starbucks: The Omnichannel Savant
We briefly mentioned Starbucks earlier, but it would not be fair to leave it out of the best omnichannel examples. The seamless user experience that Starbucks offers is outstanding. For example, every time a customer uses a Starbucks card to make a purchase, whether they use a physical card or a mobile device, they accrue reward points.
Additionally, coffee aficionados can:
- Find nearby stores
- Give gifts
- For a quicker experience, place your drink orders in advance.
Consumers may also check the songs playing in that particular store and add them to their playlists with their smart Spotify connection. The app’s remarkable ease of use exemplifies a flawless implementation of the omnichannel experience.
Not to forget, their recent announcement of Starbucks Odyssey is a smart step in conquering Web3 experiences while they are already shaping up. The platform will create a community that can purchase non-fungible tokens and unlocks other experiences and rewards.
Starbucks forayed into Web3 while already acing an omnichannel presence.
Takeaway: Omnichannel retail strategies are not constant. Your brand should expand to other channels based on consumers’ interests and buying behaviors.
To increase sales, brands need to increase their presence. Omnichannel retail experiences are the only way in which brands can reach maximum potential buyers and build trust and loyalty in their brand.
Additionally, multichannel retail is not entirely possible today without exploring video commerce. By leveraging livestream shopping and shoppable videos, brands have the chance to engage with audiences and create traction from multiple directions.