Home A Thankful Consumer Equals a Full Cart: Why Consumers And Retailers Are Thankful For Omni-Channel

A Thankful Consumer Equals a Full Cart: Why Consumers And Retailers Are Thankful For Omni-Channel

This is an archived post from OrderDynamics, now Tecsys retail division.
A Thankful Consumer Equals a Full Cart: Why Consumers And Retailers Are Thankful For Omni-Channel Whether you call it omni-channel, unified commerce or multi-channel, one thing is clear: the ability to provide a seamless, consistent retail experience across channels is something to be thankful for. After all, this is the season to be thankful. Both retailers and customers have the opportunity to benefit from multiple features of the modern approach to retail. When you have a seat at the omni-channel table, everyone is thankful for several reasons.

Top Four Omni-Channel Areas Where Both Customer and Retailer Benefit:

Measure the value of omni-channel to your retail business in dollars. A report by IDC Retail Insights found that omni-channel retailers see a 15-35% increase in the size of their average transaction and a 5-10% increase in profits earned from loyal customers – meaning omni-channel shoppers are more valuable to your business. Here are the top five reasons why:

1. Price

Question: What is one of the primary drivers of online shopping?  Answer: The ability to compare prices across retailers.  In the past, online channels might have provided ‘better’ pricing options to consumers, which encouraged the adoption of the channel, but that has changed. Today, omni-channel supports pricing consistency across channels. By providing the same great deal in-store as online, retailers reduce price competition between their own channels. Special promotions and coupons still drive sales; however, retailers often make these deals available for both online and in-store shoppers. Harvard Business Review demonstrates the benefits of omni-channel for both retailers and customers with a recent study. “Our findings showed that omnichannel customers loved using the retailer’s touchpoints, in all sorts of combinations and places. Not only did they use smartphone apps to compare prices or download a coupon, but they were also avid users of in-store digital tools such as an interactive catalog, a price-checker, or a tablet.”

2. Inventory

Inventory visibility for consumers is one of the most empowering aspects of omni-channel.  The ability to see the items' availability and locations, allow customers to choose the most convenient method of delivery or pick up.

Is the item located in a distribution centre? Can it be sent to a nearby store or pick-up location? Is it easier to have it delivered right to the customer’s home? Or is the item available in a store nearby, meaning it can easily be purchased online, and be ready for pick-up at a convenient time? Omni-channel helps anticipate these questions and provides the answers. It allows the customer to personalize their purchase fulfillment. Omni-channel also gives retailers the ability to gather data on where, when and how their stock moves through each channel in use.  Without real-time inventory visibility, it can be challenging to manage stock effectively; however, with it, retailers have a complete view of where the stock is, and where it needs to be, and therefore the information needed to move stock efficiently. According to Digital Commerce 360 a study by the Aberdeen Group discovered that omni-channel retailers with engagement strategies saw: an average 9.5% YOY increase in annual revenue, a 7.5% YOY decrease in cost per customer contact, and a healthy 89% customer retention rate. versus companies with poor omni-channel engagement.

3. Customer Service

Consumers continue to value the in-store experience for a couple of reasons. Topping that list is the ability to have face-to-face contact with knowledgeable retail associates. These interactions between employee and customer are best when omni-channel enables the employee to easily obtain the information necessary to really help the consumer. With omni-channel technology, a store associate can have visibility of inventory, can assist with Buy Online Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) purchases, and offer product and service knowledge. For the retailer, an empowered employee can help create long-lasting, trusted relationships with customers; which solidify the seamless experience that consumers expect. Customer brand satisfaction leads to loyalty, and loyalty leads to future sales.

4. Pick-up Location

Omni-channel retailers give customers the power to choose where and how they want to buy and pick up their purchase. This freedom and control allow the customer to enjoy a customized buying journey each time.  Customers who may value convenience above all else like knowing that there are many options, including delivery and pick-up in-store. The option to pick up their online order in-store also offers the option to save the cost of shipping fees. For omni-channel retailers, offering pick-up options to customers creates a distinct competitive advantage. Providing a better shopping experience through added convenience, it also leads to bigger basket sizes and higher conversion rates.

Thankful for Omni-Channel

Employing omni-channel strategies encourage retailers to help themselves, as well as their customers, so that they can be thankful in several areas including price and customer service. Modern retailers who want to thrive in the industry will continue to add more to the omni-channel experience; and therefore, increase full carts and thankfulness.   Author: Karen Stephenson is an Omni-Channel Consultant at OrderDynamics. She has over 20 years' experience successfully leading finance, system implementations and organizational change in medical, technology, and financial industries, as well as not-for-profit boards. Karen has a BA in Finance & Economics from Western University, and a Global Executive MBA from Rotman, University of Toronto.
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