The omnichannel dilemma – why stores need to embrace the best of digital

It’s the omnichannel dilemma – customers still love shopping in a store, but once they taste the things that the digital world can offer, they get frustrated with the bricks and mortar experience.

They love the immediacy of walking in, trying on, seeing, touching, feeling and trying out the product, and walking away with it there and then. But then – they get caught in a checkout queue, they’ve forgotten their loyalty card, or they see other people using vouchers, they get frustrated and their love of the store is tinged with disappointment.

“Online they know me”, they think, “online, they tell me now many points I have how I could spend them. Online I don’t queue. Online I get product suggestions, and special offers. Online I feel special – here I feel like a nobody”.

At iVend, we understand this dilemma – and in fact have helped to articulate it to retailers, through our shopper research program, which statistically validates the issue, with significant numbers feeling disappointed with their in-store experience.

The reasons for the differences in customer service aren’t hard to understand – online shopping is a product of the digital age; the digital world has access to data about its shoppers that make personalisation readily possible. It is so much easier to be flexible online, to trial new ideas and ways of interacting with clients, than it is in a network of stores, across cities and countries. Stores have existed since way before the digital age and so have to retrofit personalisation and digitisation into structures and processes that were designed and put in place long before the advent of today’s technology.

And yet…what if stores could put into practice some of the techniques used by online stores, make their customers’ experience more enjoyable and more personalised…what then? Just think how powerful a store could be if it could harness all that it is already good at – branding, immediacy – and combine it with the best of online.

At iVend, we believe that with the right tools and approach this is 100% achievable – so let us paint a picture for you of how the store could look if it implements the best of digital alongside the best of bricks and mortar:

  • Brand relationship – stores will be the ultimate place to be for shoppers to experience their unique relationship with a brand.
  • Welcome – the digitised store will know when you enter its doors and send you a personalised message on your smartphone
  • Personal shopping – based on your preferences, and past purchases, the store will identify products you’re likely to like and send you a personalised suggestions list
  • Offers – along with the shopping suggestions will be offers and discounts against those products, based on your loyalty program status
  • Availability – when you find a product you like, staff will have information at their fingertips to tell you if it is in stock, in your size and colour. If it’s not in that store, they’ll be able to tell you where it is, and reserve it for you, or arrange home delivery.
  • Digital payment – you’ll be able to pay by putting your mobile wallet/phone to activate NFC technology
  • Digital loyalty – your loyalty details will automatically synchronised and the points for this purchase added. You’ll be given the option to use your points for some/all of the payment
  • Digital receipts – instead of having to stuff your wallet with paper, you’ll be emailed a digital receipt
  • Thank you – you’ll be sent a thank you email with an offer on products that will be available next month and optionally a choice to receive a notification when the products are available.
You can put the building blocks in place now and ensure that your store adds the best of digital to the best of bricks and mortar.

To find out more, download the iVend report – The era of unlimited shopping possibilities: How to take the leap to omnichannel?

Senior Vice President of Sales for Asia Pacific and the Americas, for CitiXsys, Paula Da Silva has more than 10 years’ experience in the retail industry associated with delivering innovative software solutions to mid and large sized retailers. Known for her strong track record of operational excellence and managing a global ecosystem of technology partners, Paula has been instrumental in building the iVend Retail into a global market leader in the retail industry and plays a major role in the Company’s overall performance.

Paula Da Silva