The importance for omni-channel retailing in today’s market

The business world is abuzz with the news of Walmart’s latest acquisition – Jet.com for $3.3 billion. This New Jersey-based company is now going to be center stage for the next phase of Walmart’s online shopping strategy. The retail giant has been getting aggressive in e-commerce and yet it hasn’t been able to stand up to its biggest rival in the space, Amazon. While Walmart’s e-commerce sales were $13.7 billion last year, Amazon’s revenue was a whopping $107 billion compared to that. But Walmart is not all about ecommerce. Its total revenue was close to a half trillion dollars. What the brand needs is not a retail plan but a robust omni-channel retail plan that will help balance these figures. The company hopes that the acquisition of Jet.com will help them do just that.

Wal-Mart buying fast-growing online retailer Jet.com for $3.3 billion

Congrats, Walmart! You just realized e-commerce is a thing

The retail marketing industry is changing fast and this is posing new challenges for retailers and businesses looking to reach out to prospective customers. As more people are choosing to buy their goods from online stores, traditional retailers are no longer able to depend on their conventional brand promotion approaches when it comes to reaching out to their targeted customers. Increasing number of companies within a given niche are trying to appeal to a segment of customers, and it has now become necessary for a brand to make use of multiple channels to reach out to the customers and convince them to buy. Retailers like Macy’s and Nordstrom’s are prime examples of how emerging technologies can be leveraged for the omni-channel experience. Magic Mirrors, Smart Fitting Rooms, Neiman Marcus’ Mytheresa and Nordstrom’s Trunk Club are well-worth the study.

The Future Of Retailing: The Technology Revolution Is Now

Statistics has revealed that more people are choosing to shop on the go than ever before, which means that they are using their smartphones instead of desktops to browse goods and buy them. Companies that invest in omni-channel efforts have experienced 89% of customer engagement and retention compared to the meagre 33% of their counterparts. In fact, ardent shoppers are no longer differentiating between the desktop and mobile platforms when it comes to carrying out their shopping, whether it is from an ecommerce store or a traditional store. While 71% of in-store customers say that their device and online search has become intrinsic to their shopping, a mere 45% of retailers have made any effort to harness the new emerging technologies. Unless they do, they may face extinction sooner than later. Such factors and developments have made it necessary for companies to invest in omni-channel retailing.

10 Notable Omnichannel Trends and Statistics

What is omni-channel retailing?

Omni-channel retailing can be defined as a well coordinated multichannel sales approach with the aim to provide customers with a wholesome shopping experience. Whether a customer chooses to shop from an online store or a traditional brick and mortar store, he or she may use a mobile or desktop device or even a telephone to get in touch with the store and the shopping experience would be perfectly seamless. In today’s world, omni-channel retailing has become extremely important as it makes it a lot easier for the customers to communicate with the store or the brand and get everything that they need. This not only encourages more people to buy goods from a specific retailer but also ensures satisfaction for both parties.

It is however necessary to differentiate between omni-channel retail experience from multichannel retail experience. While all retail stores making use of omni-channel retailing implements multi-channel methods, not all multichannel retail experience can be labeled as omni-channel retailing. While a company can have excellent mobile marketing skills, amazing social media campaigns as well as a perfectly well-designed website, they cannot be described as omni-channel retailing unless they work together seamlessly. This is where a robust cloud based ecommerce system can come in to play strongly.

Methods to implement omni-channel retailing

A Forrester Research report showed that while 2015 US online retail exceeded $325 billion in sales, web-influenced in store sales totaled more than $1.4 trillion. This is a case in study for the emerging consumer behavior, 81% of whom do online research before making a purchasing decision. They may still be buying from the physical stores but they are steadily shifting their focus on 100% online purchase. In order to effectively implement omni-channel retailing, a company needs to understand consumer behavior in great detail.

10 Omnichannel Retail Statistics You Can’t Avoid

For instance, the retail store and its brand should have a clear idea about their main customer segment, their location, demographic, web browsing habits and the things that they like to shop for. They should also try and measure customer behavior both online and offline as well as across multiple devices. The information collected in this way can then provide with valuable insight on how web and mobile user experience can drive in-store visits. In this way, the quality of digital user experience can be enhanced, cross device conversions can be increased and retailers can make use of omni-channel retailing facilities to maximize their profits.  Without a strong online retail presence backed by a large inventory and supply chain network, without robust ecommerce efforts, businesses are setting themselves up for failure.

How to Make the Most of Omnichannel Retailing

As Omnichannel Grows, Retailers’ Needs Multiply

Five Lessons Retail Can Offer B2B for Commerce

Survey reports predict that B2B ecommerce industry is going to be worth $12 Trillion by 2020. If you want a share of that pie then you need act fast and get your b2B platform on the right track. Just getting your business online is not enough, everyone’s out there and doing everything they can to beat the competition. So unless you have the right ecommerce partner, you cannot expect phenomenal results. Increased buyer expectations and improved technology is complementing the rising need for business automation.

Online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Alibaba have changed the SMEs do business. B2C procurement managers are ever on the lookout for integrated solutions to B2B procurement that will make their jobs and lives easier, source goods at much cheaper prices than retail. In order to offer them with a stellar shopping experience, all you need to do is look at how the top retailers are crushing it at B2B and B2C ecommerce.

#1 – User friendly sites across multiple channels – One of the most important features of a successful ecommerce enterprise is to offer an attractive and engaging website which will attract and entertain customers. Along with being engaging and beautiful, they need to mobile friendly as well so that the customer can experience the same easygoing and friction less feel through every platform they can engage in. The quality of the web and mobile presence says a lot about the brand – about the quality of the product and the customer service that a user encounters. The powerful interface and user-friendliness will make it a pleasure for your customers to visit and interact with.

#2 – Driving engagement through enhanced personalized experience – Ask anyone is retail and they will tell how enhanced personalized experience delivers the biggest profits. B2B websites can learn a lot from retail here by replicating the easy online shopping experience. A personalized B2B interface will allow them to choose, modify and update their purchases across categories. With the user-friendly platform mentioned above and innovative design experiences, the efficacy of the B2B site will be boosted manifold. When customers can find what they are looking for quickly with unique and personalized suggestions to match their search, the likely of their returning and spreading the word is higher.

#3 – Unique content-assisted purchasing – Unique and descriptive content is very important and this does not mean just well-written product descriptions, which is of course of extreme importance in ecommerce. But there needs to be a proper content strategy that is unique to every ecommerce site, giving customers a clear idea of each product and then linking the product pages with other related products, leading to larger (combination) sales. Specialized content paired with multiple visuals of the product, stories behind the products and then connecting with a social cause, could also lead to higher customer engagement.

#4 – Working on your reviews and making them available at multiple platforms – More than 61% of customers today read online reviews before making any purchase decision. This shows that more than anything it is social proof that drives credibility. The first place to start with could be the “Testimonials” section of your own ecommerce site but then you need to ensure that these are available across all the multiple channels that your business is present in. This is not all, for businesses need to have favorable reviews on every social media and industry websites as well. A great way to showcase these is to integrate these reviews and the social media buttons right into the product descriptions, again enhancing customer engagement. With an intelligent ecommerce platform this is easy to develop as well.

#5 – A clear call to action button – If there is anything that retail has always done well, it is their call to action strategy. Traditionally, the B2B industry is not known for this but in the age of digital selling this is an important skill to learn. So while framing that all important and well-written product description, make sure that you have a unique call to action strategy. This can highlight different things at different time like a discount, some additional offers or incentives, newer items, colors or models. They should ideally convey a sense of urgency which will drive the customer to take action, thereby resulting in quicker sales. Make sure that the navigation throughout the site happens through of least resistance and friction.

When you make it easy for your customers, when you deliver an absolutely irresistible customer experience, you will be driving up your customer loyalty numbers.