Retailers need to offer omnichannel experiences to fulfil sales profitably
With omnichannel retail fast becoming the norm, consumers' heightened shopping expectations are placing pressure on brands to offer a more competitive range of delivery and returns options.
It's clear that consumer expectations are rapidly shifting, and today's consumer demands an integrated omnichannel experience throughout the purchase process and beyond. To achieve this, retailers need to stop focusing on individual channels and start ensuring that they are meeting the needs of consumers wherever, whenever, and however they approach the brand.
A recent study, The Omni-Channel Fulfilment Imperative, revealed that only 16% of retailers and brands can fulfil their omnichannel sales profitably. Of those surveyed, 57% said their top priority was to improve their omnichannel performance, with 57% saying they wanted to invest in new customer experiences.
According to Forrester, 50% of all US retail sales are predicted to be omnichannel by 2017. Therefore it is no longer just the shopping experience, but the whole customer journey that retailers need to focus on. No matter the evolving processes or technology, the target should be on continuing the retail relationship with the consumer across all platforms, channels and mediums, from pre- to post-purchase.
Customers are increasingly demanding features; guarantees that their product is available; quicker delivery times; up-to-date notifications of where their order is; alternative pickup locations. Omnipresence strategies involve understanding customers' behaviours and needs across all phases of their journey with a brand and offering solutions to their issues.
Many retailers mistakenly view the purchase as complete once a sale is completed, however the post-purchase phase represents a huge opportunity to enhance the customer's experience from how the brand, products and services are delivered, installed and used, and any real complaints are effectively dealt with.
Providing an omnichannel environment for customers is no longer an option, it needs to be thought of as a necessity. It is important to remember that the majority of consumers will already be shopping omnichannel, and ensuring that products and services are properly communicated across multiple channels needs to be considered the norm.