In today’somnichannel world, where retailers are trying to meet customers at various touchpoints, it’s more important than ever to merge online and brick-and-mortar stores for one seamless customer experience. This consolidation becomes even more significant when we take into consideration that many customers may begin their shopping journey online and complete it in store. I’ve done so many times myself, purchasing something online and picking it up in person, especially if I don’t want to wait for delivery. It is vital for businesses to strategically integrate their online and offline presences, so customers can more easily recognize brands, no matter where they run into their branding. An omnichannel strategy also increases organizations’ bottom lines by providing more than one place for customers to shop. Omnichannel consumers actually spend15 to 30%more than shoppers who only utilize one channel; moreover, a study by Google, Ipsos MediaCT, and Sterling Brands discovered that75%of customers are more likely to shop in-store if they find retailer information online. Thus, the marriage of online and offline can boost traffic, strengthening profit.
1. Brand Consistency is Key
Let’s say a customer discovers a brand or retailer from a social media ad. Next, a shopper will visit the company’s website and become familiar with the unique logo and aesthetic associated with the brand. In many cases, the customer may want to try out the products in person, so they visit a brick-and-mortar store; if the business has done a consistent job blending its online and offline branding, the shopper will recognize the same ethos that the business propagated online. This consistency ensures brand recognition, which can help companies stand out in a crowded market.In fact, according to Forbes, consistent branding on every channel can increase revenue by 23%.
2. Utilize Marketing Campaigns for Retention
Reaching customers even after they check out online or leave a store can be a helpful way to merge physical and digital presences. If a shopper typically buys in person, then a brand or retailer can entice them to visit the e-commerce store by asking for their email at checkout, and then sending promos, marketing material, or personalized product recommendations for the online store. This strategy can persuade one kind of shopper to consider another shopping habitnext time, while also keeping the brand and retailer in the back of their mind. On the flip side, if a business wants to expand their brick and mortar stores, it can offer specific perks to shoppers who come in person.
3. Optimize Customer Service
Goodcustomer serviceis the backbone of a retailer or brand and is integral tofostering customer loyalty. Giving shoppers multiple ways to return a product, across platforms, can be a good way to share that a brand or retailer is flexible and cares about what’s easiest for their customers. To merge online and brick-and-mortar stores, brick-and-mortar businesses should consider giving shoppers the option to return or exchange items online. This amalgamation may increase loyalty, too, because shoppers will know how seamless and easy it is to chat with a representative. Considering how difficult getting ahold ofcustomer service is these days, a brand or retailer that optimizes this part of their business is sure to be recognized and lauded by shoppers.
4. Digital Showrooms, 3D Modeling, and In-Person Digital Touchpoints
One technology that can help merge the omnichannel experience for customers is utilizing a digital showroom or 3D modeling. Apparel, home, and beauty brands might rely on physical showrooms to entice customers, but some shoppers may find it inconvenient to visit a physical store. With this kind of cutting-edge software, customers can browse on their own timelines and purchase products all in one digital space. They can gain the experience of seeing how an item fits in a room, for example, without having to either purchase the product or see it in person. Utilizing digital showrooms will not only cut back costs for brands and retailers, but it will also haveless environmental impactand may be more useful to customers.
On the other end of the spectrum, brick-and-mortar stores can provide digital touchpoints that combine the online and offline experience.Sephora, for example, equips iPads in their stores so customers can look at online reviews and makeup tips to supplement their in-person buying journey.
5. Robust Integration Management
Goodintegration technologyis vital to blending online and offline stores. An e-commerce integration is a connection between a business’s frontend e-commerce store and its backend system. Using a cloud-based connector, brands and retailers can manage, control, and view their supply chain and transactions all in one place, on every platform they sell on. A unified system will also glean customer data, creating an experience for each shopper that is frictionless and consistent across all touchpoints and channels.
Today’s shopping world is anything but simple, with40%of purchases finalized from multiple channels. To keep up with the continual merging of online and offline shopping, brands and retailers must prioritize new ways to provide a good experience for their customers. This omnichannel strategy can help businesses retain customer loyalty in an ever-changing shopping environment.