Innovations in retailing is an ongoing thing. Every change churns the industry and what remains is, time and place tested lessons. Technology has placed a long drawn bet on the retail sector that is continually endeavouring to upgrade its customer-focus in unique ways.
Drones are the new carriers of customer packages; shoppers are welcoming self check-out kiosks, store to the fridge is a fantastic order fulfilment option to ease customer’s life – such shake-ups in the retail industry are the only constant thing, one can expect.
All these tactics and beyond are to meet the oscillating customer preferences in an omni-channel retail environment so that the retailer is wherever the customer is. It is necessary to inform, invite, engage and deliver to the customer based on their preferences. The dynamic technology inventions are a great tool to achieve that elusive perfect customer satisfaction.
The smart way is to be prepared and adoptive of changing market dynamics and cater to the customers by being omnipresent.
Here are some compelling omni-channel retail strategies that have tested the waters and survived!
- Seamless access to shortlisted products
The customers prefer to have a smooth experience of shopping whether they are browsing the products from a laptop, placing them in the cart from a tablet or ordering from mobile. Whatever device they choose to use, the shopping experience must run uninterruptedly from where they had left. An ideal e-commerce platform should enable the retailers to provide such expertise to its customers efficiently.
- Flexible purchasing options
Not all the customers prefer the same means of purchase. In fact, the best practice is to club the online and offline purchase experience to provide the customers with the ease and flexibility to look-up, buy and pick the product from anywhere they want.
The customer may want to place an order online and collect it from the store, or buy in store and have it home delivered, or some may want to stick to the in-store browsing and buying experience. The retailers must be able to cater to all of these customer preferences overlapping the channels, to give them a consistent brand experience.
- Create personalised shopping experience in-store and cater online
Investing in a physical store and carrying all that inventory may become a hassle. Instead, the retailers can use their brick-and-mortar stores to showcase their products and offer a personalised shopping experience to the customers through touching and trying the products. They can place the order online and get the product delivered to their doorstep when they want. This strategy scores hugely on providing a personal experience of products to the customers while dismissing the burden of inventory carry costs.
- Quick and easily redeemable reward programme
Purchase points, coupons, additional discounts serve well to build a brand loyal customer base who make a repeat purchase from the retailer. Reward programme has enormous potential to attract new customers and nurture the loyal customers, by keeping it simple, easily accessible and quickly redeemable on all the channels.
- Digitally equip the physical store and its staff
Research studies say that majority of the customers do their homework about the product they want to buy before entering the store. They come to the store to explore the product further and have a personal experience. The omni-channel retailers can set up self-help kiosks providing more details of the company and FAQs/review sites, or set up assisted screens to view product features. Alternatively, the companies can equip their in-store sales staff with electronic devices to help customers on the spot, or enable the store with Wi-Fi. These are some of the examples how a retailer can create a digitalised environment in the store to allow the customers make purchase decision confidently and enhance their shopping experience.