Omnichannel customers drive revenue
Confidence is a key factor when making a purchase. People only need to go back and think about any major purchases they have made and look at all the factors that contributed to those sales. For example, when people buy their cars, they often look at multiple dealers, do research online, talk to their friends, hire third-party mechanics to take a look at certain cars and take other steps to ensure they are making the most informed purchases possible. Information leads to confidence, and once people are confident, they often feel ready to make a purchase.
This behavior is increasingly seeping into standard shopping practices – it is no longer relegated to just major purchases. One reason for this is because information is so available – people can research products easily and quickly through their phones, social media, their home computers – pretty much anywhere. One study conducted by GE Capital Retail Bank found that 81 percent of customers research products online before making purchases. Some customers spend as many as 79 days gathering information about their prospective purchases before sealing the deal on them as well.
A separate study conducted by Wharton found that two-thirds of customers are leveraging two or more channels to gather information and influence their purchase decisions, while one-third regularly use three or more. For customers, information is power, and retailers need to cater to their shopping habits.
Omnichannel customers = greater revenue
While omnichannel shopping may introduce concerns regarding customers leaving a retailer’s ecosystem – a patron’s research may take him or her to a competitor’s’ websites, for instance – embracing omnichannel strategies are beneficial in the long run. People are looking for convenience when they shop, and allowing people to shop how they want, when they want is critical.
Customers are rewarding the major retail brands that empower them to use multiple channels. Whether people use online reviews, advice from in-store sales associates or any other source to inform their purchase decisions, sellers are finding these customers to be more profitable. The added flexibility and greater confidence encourages them to spend more than shoppers using only a single channel.
“We’ve seen the economics at play, and we can verify that the customers who engage with us through our wholesale partners, in our stores and online are nearly twice as profitable,” said Kyle Gallary, vice president of corporate strategy and digital commerce at Cole Haan at the NRF Big Show, as quoted by Retail TouchPoints. “So we’re thinking about how to bring commerce as well as our content and brand point-of-view to them across all these different channels as seamlessly as possible.”
However, embracing the omnichannel nature of customers require change. It is easy to want to be an omnichannel retail empire, but it is a whole new ball game to take the right steps to get there, and it is a pursuit that many merchants are still struggling with to this day. Retailers understand the value of omnichannel shopping, it is the getting there that is the challenge.
So, what are some of the biggest challenges that retailers face as they look to cater to omnichannel customers? The biggest issue is the seamless shopping experience. People feel retailers do not offer consistent experiences across all channels – maybe the offerings are different, the prices are mismatched or customer service agents are unable to serve shoppers across channels they did not make purchases through.
As retailers look to capitalize on profitable omnichannel shoppers, it is critical they look to craft consistent, seamless shopping experiences.