Retailers Delivering Convenience in the Omnichannel Environment
Today’s omni-channel environment is defined by flexibility and convenience. If people are shopping online and an item is out of stock, they aren’t going to hold their online purchases until merchants get a new shipment.
Shoppers have options these days, and if retailers don’t make purchasing as easy as possible, customers will shop elsewhere.
So what do customers really want from retailers? How can merchants satisfy their shoppers needs in today’s omnichannel environment? Convenience is key, as evidenced by the four demands covered in a recent white paper from IBM.
- Price consistency across channels: Many merchants have discrepancies in item costs across channels – an item may be less expensive online, or sales are only applied to brick-and-mortar purchases. This is understandably frustrating from the perspective of customers and should be fixed in the omnichannel environment.
- Better tracking: This is crucial for both real-world and Web-based retailers. Online, people want to be able to track online purchases from the moment the order is placed until it arrives at their doorsteps. Offline, many retailers are beginning to offer the option to deliver out-of-stock items straight from a warehouse to customers’ homes. Again, tracking the progress of the order is crucial in the omnichannel environment.
- Cross-channel coordination: If retailers have both brick-and-mortar and online extensions, people want to see better coordination between the two. This can manifest in a variety of ways, from simply offering in-store returns for online purchases to offering online product recommendations using offline purchase histories.
- Consistent product offerings: Webrooming and showrooming are real trends – sometimes people look at an item offline and make online purchases, while others research products online before running to the store to quickly make a purchase. This means that retailers need to have consistent offerings across channels, or else they may run into problems when customers don’t finalize the online purchases they want to make.
As brands look to compete in this sphere, it’s paramount that they respond to the needs and desires of their customers. The popular saying “the customer is always right” has never been more true than now, and if retailers want to succeed in their prosperous industry, they need to make the right improvements to deliver convenience in the omnichannel environment.