The exponential growth of online shopping has meant that many retailers turned their strategic focus to ecommerce in recent years. However, in an omnichannel world, digital can never be viewed independently from physical.
Today, shoppers expect their online encounters to be consistent with their interactions in the physical retail space. To achieve this, retailers need to stop viewing digital retail as a standalone, and integrate their ecommerce with in-store systems; otherwise the whole customer experience is at stake.
Integrating ecommerce into the whole retail ecosystem is something that iVend Retail has focused on in our latest eBook, True Omnichannel Means Bricks and Clicks. Taking this approach can yield significant benefits across the business:
- Loyalty and rewards – today’s shopper expects to be rewarded for shopping both online and in-store. Integrating loyalty and rewards solutions across all channels enables retailers to become more sophisticated in how they incentivize, and see the total value of each shopper to their business
- Order and pre-orders – cross-channel fulfilment methods like click-and-collect continue to experience popularity growth. But to ensure orders are accurate and efficient, retailers need a single view of stock in all channels
- Availability – by enabling the consumer to check stock availability in real-time, retailers can avoid the disappointment of ordering products that are actually out-of-stock. Added value for the business lies in the fact that retail staff can fulfill an order from any store or warehouse, at a faster rate, saving money all-round. Returned or damaged goods can also be handled more efficiently.
- Data analytics – integrating ecommerce with all data collected across all channels provides retailers with very valuable insights into customer behavior and levels of engagement. Using this data, they can target shoppers with relevant, personalized offers which match their browsing and purchasing history – and give store associates greater power to up-sell or cross-sell.
For retailers confident they already have a connected, operationally efficient store, there are ways of continually improving just how well their ecommerce platform is working for them; there’s no room for complacency where the customer experience is concerned!
Introducing a customizable user interface (UI), for example, enables retailers to tailor both what front-line staff and shoppers see; they can introduce new features or simplify the layout for a better user experience. Not only that, but tailored changes can be made on a regular basis, to keep evolving the customer experience.
Convenience is at the heart of retail moving forward, as it becomes increasingly driven by the customer’s desire to shop on the go. Integrating ecommerce with in-store technology solutions will determine just how well retailers can offer this convenience to their customer. Equally, integration of bricks and clicks will enable retailers to make the customer experience more personal, using data to adapt the content they offered online or by the sales associate in-store.
Making the investment in the right ecommerce technology will help retailers to future-proof their business, interact with consumers more purposefully, and become more personalized in those interactions.
Download our eBook – True Omnichannel Means Bricks and Clicks for more in-depth advice and examples of an integrated commerce approach.