Consumers push for seamless shopping experiences
Siloed retail operations are going by the wayside if consumers have any say in the matter. A new report from Exolevel found that merchants who treat their online, mobile and physical retail stores as different, distinct channels may be losing shoppers who prefer a cohesive, unilateral experience.
The study found that 89 percent of respondents believe it’s important for retailers to allow them to shop in a way that’s convenient from them – that means letting them shop on the Web, via mobile devices or at brick-and-mortar stores. They expect the same shopping experience, regardless of the channel of their choice.
This means stocking similar items across all channels and offering similar services.
Customers definitely have preferences – 94 percent of respondents prefer in-store shopping, compared to the 74 and 26 percent of respondents respectively who would rather shop online or via mobile devices. However, it’s the convenience that matters most, and even if customers prefer to buy in-person, they don’t want the shopping experience to suffer just because they are online or on their smartphones.
For example, 73 percent of respondents expect retailers’ online pricing scheme to be identical to in-store pricing and 61 percent want promotions to carry over regardless of the channel they are shopping on. This all goes back to convenience: If customers can’t make it into their local stores, they don’t want to miss deals or pay more because they are shopping online.
The omnichannel future is a work in progress
While many merchants have taken steps to make this omnichannel shopping experience a reality, some still aren’t quite there yet. For instance, the Exolevel survey found that while 73 percent of the merchants polled have the same promotional scheme online and offline, only 16 percent have uniform prices across all channels. Additionally, whereas 43 percent of consumers expect merchants to carry the same products on and offline, only 19 percent actually do so.
In the past, retail merchants functioned as if the different channels were their own unique silos, with eCommerce operations being distinctly separate from other functions. In fact, many merchants even viewed their eCommerce platforms as internal competitors to brick-and-mortar sales. This type of mindset will only prevent companies from better serving their customers and delivering a truly omnichannel customer experience.
Tools such as SalesWarp can help companies as they strive to create a parallel shopping experience, regardless of their preferred means of shopping. SalesWarp can consolidate data and information from a variety of different channels, whether they’re internal, external or even across channels.
This information can be used to identify discrepancies in the omnichannel shopping experience. For example, you can easily track how much various products are being sold for across every sales platform you have inventory on. It could also identify trends and behaviors that help secure future sales.