Over the next 12 months, it is vital for retailers to deliver a consistent experience across all channels. Three-quarters of shoppers expect retailers to offer the same promotions and prices online and offline, yet according to Forrester, just 16% put this into practice. More than ever, retailers must aim to deliver a seamless shopping experience with identical offers on all touch points or face missing out on potential sales as a direct result.
This lack of consistency often stems from how retailers operate. By putting different teams in charge of online and in-store retail, for example, retailers struggle to present a unified front to shoppers. This inconsistency is further compounded by competition between different departments within the same company, which removes any incentive to work together.
Omnichannel retail is all about providing a seamless shopping experience. Consumers are channel agnostic: they don’t think in channels and often want to buy from a particular brand. Consumers don’t understand why offers are not always accessible across all consumer touch points, or why certain promotional offers are only available online but cannot be redeemed in high street stores.
John Lewis give a great example of how to run omnichannel retail successfully. This pioneer of seamless customer care is now operating both online and offline channels through the same unit. The brand provides a great shopping experience for the customer irrespective of what channel they’re using. The consumer is at the centre of the firm’s innovation, therefore it is not surprising that John Lewis has voted as the nation’s favourite retailer on more than one occasion.
To impress mobile shoppers, retailers must be more relevant.
Retailers must also be nimble about how they reach out to their customers. Most brands recognise that a well-timed and well-targeted promotion can be extremely effective, however what they often don’t realise is when the right time is and what promotion to send. As a result, retailers are left guessing, and shoppers may get annoyed by irrelevant promotions and ad spend wastage.
To target shoppers with more relevant promotions this year, retailers need to gain a fuller understanding of who their shoppers are, what they want, and ultimately how to sell them. Insights such as how often a shopper makes a purchase, what they have looked at or purchased previously, and average spend, can all make it easier for retailers to offer more relevant promotions and create a more personal experience.
At RetailMeNot, we recently partnered with a prominent department store in the UK for the Black Friday weekend, to test geofencing technology to send targeted offers through the VoucherCodes.co.uk app to customers nearby. The results have shown that 18% of the people who clicked on the offer in the app went into the store.
Retailers must unify all marketing and sales channels.
In order to acquire a deeper, more valuable understanding of individual shoppers, retailers must find ways to connect the dots and create a unified consumer profile, allowing them to target shoppers efficiently across all channels.
For instance, by introducing functions such as ‘save for web’ or ‘save in basket’, retailers can bridge the gap between mobile and other channels, helping to develop a greater understanding of the consumer purchase journey or likelihood to make a purchase.
Similarly, retailers can strengthen the in-store and online connection by creating shopper profiles linked to loyalty or payment cards, or alternatively via the use of mobile and digital coupons to encourage shoppers to go in-store or online to make purchases.
Forward thinking retailers are adopting a channel-less world. By encouraging greater collaboration and viewing all channels as a single experience, retailers have more freedom to innovate now more than ever.
By Giulio Montemagno, SVP & GM International at RetailMeNot
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