Can companies improve the retail customer experience by offering effective omni channel shopping options?The early years of the 21st century witnessed the demise of once-solid retailers like Circuit City, Linens & Things, and Radio Shack. Many industry analysts have pointed to the rise of online retailers like Amazon as the cause of death to these brick-and-mortar outlets, but that explanation may not be as cut and dry as we once thought—especially when we take a look at how Apple re-imagined the retail experience.The success of Apple’s retail stores transformed the way customers purchase by shifting the industry away from a transaction-focused model to a new browsing one.Now the most innovative retailers are bringing together both online shopping and brick-and-mortar browsing with a bird's-eye-look at how customers are interacting with their brand. This is what we refer to as omni channel shopping.
The principle behind an omni channel shopping experience is simple: retail brands become platform and device agnostic, where any and all touchpoints are used to create a coordinated purchasing experience. When shopping for something like a new TV, for example, a customer might research on their laptop for pricing and features, head into a store to compare image quality and chat with a sales representative, and then make the final purchase for home delivery on their smartphone.In order for retailers to deliver the kind of shopping experiences customers are looking for, it’s imperative to get to know how and where their customers like to shop. This information can help a retailer determine how to develop apps, websites, and/or in-store experiences that will provide value at each step.
Providing an omni channel experience for customers has its perks. Retailers who adopt this approach can look forward to a number of advantages, including:
While there are a ton of reasons why retailers should offer omni channel shopping experiences, it can also be a challenge to provide them. Before changing models, businesses should consider how to address the following:
The best part about providing seamless omni channel shopping for your customers is that you’re giving them the type of experiences they really want. Customer buying behavior is shifting and the companies that know how to cater to this shift will be the ones with a loyal and dedicated consumer base.