The influx of new technologies has drastically altered the retail industry. With smartphones, tablets, and computers, customers are exposed to—and expect, a multi-channel way to shop. Omni-channel retailing is the evolution of multi-channel retail—extending past social networks, email, web, and mobile to encompass the entire customer experience. Omni-channel retail includes the in-store displays, kiosks, and interactive televisions, as well as the traditional brick-and-mortar store and catalogs and marries them together seamlessly. While this may seem overwhelming, here are 4 tips for successful omni-channel retailing.
1. Know your Audience-The IDC identified three types of omni-channel shoppers: omni/integrated, young mobile and social networker. The omni/integrated individual is affluent, home-oriented but well connected on the move and at the office, 30-50 years old. The young mobiles are shoppers younger than 30 who are constantly on the move, but who primarily text and rarely email. The social networkers are primarily young but span all age groups. They are connected by interests rather than age or location. Creating a business model that is consumer focused is an absolute necessity for the omni-channel retailer. By identifying the target audience and tailoring the business model to them, you better your chances for omni-channel retail success.
2. Utilize Available Technologies-The omni-channel consumer is at the cutting edge of new technology. Armed with 4G and mobile devices with WiFi, they carry vast amount of information in the palm of their hand. Since they are always on the go, if the consumer cannot find what they want, they have no trouble going somewhere else to find it. By utilizing available technologies, you can satisfy the consumer and keep them at your store. For example, offering customers access to free WiFi encourages them to log on. The system can then access a customer’s previous purchases and send them coupons on their mobile device based on their shopping history. For larger stores, the customer can be tracked and an associate can offer them assistance. Armed with technology, associates can use tablets to show customers items not in store for the customer to order. The purchase can be shipped directly to the customer’s house. For the brick-and-mortar store, joining technology with personal service creates a customer-focused plan that is guaranteed to satisfy.
3. Have a Knowledgeable Staff-Outfitting your store with new technologies makes it an attractive place to shop for the omni-channel customer. However, if you do not know how to use the technology, or you are not using it to its full potential, it means nothing. Training your staff is imperative. Many people still appreciate the personal service they can only get at a brick-and-mortar store. Arming your staff with competitive technology, and the knowledge to use it creates an amazing service. Associates can work closely with customers and fulfill all of their needs, even if the item they want is not in stock. Having a friendly, helpful staff adds the personal element online shopping lacks. Consumers have the ability to utilize apps to find the best deals on the items they covet. A good staff will create an enjoyable atmosphere in store, so the customer can be satisfied with their purchase, even if they did not get the best deal.
4. Create More Time- With a target audience of individuals who are at the cutting edge of new technologies, it is imperative that the omni-channel retailer is always a few steps ahead. However, the manual tasks associated with running an omni-channel empire can make that challenging. Choosing to leverage an integration platform would eliminate the need for manual tasks. Utilizing a platform like logicbroker allows you to integrate your website with your POS system; synchronizing online and in store data in real-time. This ensures your inventory levels are always up-to-date, and you will not lose a customer because of inventory inaccuracy. Logicbroker’s flexible connectivity effortlessly exchanges information with suppliers and trading partners as well, and utilizes EDI to automate order processes. By automating the order process, you save time and money, and can allocate these new resources to staying innovative and satisfying the needs of your target audience.
The omni-channel retailer must have both an online, mobile, and brick-and-mortar presence, and offer customers a way to seamlessly shop each channel. By following these four tips, you can free up resources and focus on what is truly important; providing the best possible shopping experience for your customers.