The Omnichannel Retail Advantage: Why Operate On and Offline?
25th June 2020
There’s no doubt that the retail landscape has significantly changed in recent years, as ecommerce retail has grown exponentially to occupy its fair share of the market, which has had a lasting impact on consumers’ shopping behaviour.
Although online shopping is only set to continue its upward trajectory, this piece will look at why it can be advantageous to embrace a more holistic approach to retail – operating both on and offline to deliver a retail strategy that unifies the entire shopping experience for consumers.
In the industry, this approach is called omnichannel retailing. As the name suggests, it aims to provide customers with a multitude of ways to interact with retailers both online and in-store – fusing the two together to create a seamless, convenient shopping experience however and wherever consumers choose to connect with a brand.
Diversifying your revenue streams
When examining the advantages of having both an online and offline presence, one of the most obvious positives is that it can provide a backup revenue stream when one arm of the business is struggling.
You only have to look at the heavy reliance on ecommerce during the current Covid-19 pandemic to see that online sales have provided a critical source of revenue for retailers who would ordinarily be at least partially reliant on in-store sales.
While there’s still some uncertainty among consumers hesitant to return to shopping in stores right away, this isn’t to say you should solely focus your efforts on generating online sales. Instead, look to diversify your revenue streams across different areas of the business – including both online and offline strategies that will not only offer greater convenience to your customers, but also create the foundations of a more solid retail strategy moving forward.
Providing seamless shopping experiences
An omnichannel approach should span across your in-store marketing and your online presence, giving you the opportunity to connect with customers at every stage of their journey – thus offering them a seamless shopping experience.
For over 60% of consumers, this journey begins online, as customers take advantage of the convenience of smartphones and other devices to research, compare prices and browse products online regardless of whether they intend to buy online or in-store.
This makes optimising your online visibility on search engines as well as across social media is essential. An omnichannel retail approach goes further than this, though – ensuring brands don’t merely satisfy a consumer’s initial search query but also cater to their needs when it comes to their buying intent.
This can be achieved by ensuring you offer customers multiple ways to browse and buy, which go beyond the popular Click & Collect service. Modern consumers should be able to browse and buy whenever, wherever they want – and each channel should be interlinked through targeted social media and email marketing, smartphone apps, in-store services and more.
The advantages of this multifaceted approach will mean your customers can choose the most convenient option to suit their lifestyle and shopping habits. This could mean scanning items in-store via their mobile app, buying it online later, having it delivered to their work address and then returning it in-store. The result is a tailored shopping experience that adapts to how, when and where customers want to shop.
Making convenience king
When it comes to success in the current retail environment, providing your customers with convenient shopping experiences is a powerful strategy to have in your arsenal. Adopting an omnichannel retail model offers numerous ways to up the convenience factor for your shoppers across different channels.
As we all lead busy lifestyles, sometimes we don’t have the time or inclination to head to the shop or wade through a lengthy online checkout process – so keep this in mind when you’re devising your retail strategy.
For in-store shopping, optimise your shop floor layout to make it easy for shoppers to find products using retail shelving displays that group complementary products together, as well as providing convenient upselling offers at the till. You can also sync online and offline functionality with the option to Click & Collect in-store or from secure lockers in key geographical locations.
When it comes to online, interconnecting data gathered through previous purchases to notify consumers of new product lines they may be interested in serves as an effective way to harness the power of omnichannel retailing.
It also pays to implement a strategy that ensures shoppers’ details are integrated across multiple shopping channels for consistency and convenience. For instance, shoppers should be able to view products across multiple channels and have their details or preferences saved – saving them from wasted time retracing their steps and allowing them to pick up where they left off from any channel.
Adopting an omnichannel retail strategy could be the key to securing the future of your business and meeting ever-changing consumer demands. However, it requires every element of your business to operate like a well-oiled machine – from the customer-facing ecommerce and brick-and-mortar stores to behind the scenes in your stockroom where order fulfilment takes place.
Of course, when it comes to organising your stockroom, we’ve got you covered. With a diverse range of high-quality retail shelving units and other storage, you’ll find versatile, durable and reliable solutions to keep inventory organised and streamlined.
Browse our complete range online now or get in touch with our sales team if you’d like to discuss your unique storage needs in more detail.