Meeting Your Customers’ Omnichannel Expectations
With more customers than ever before shopping online or using their phones at the store, access to online channels has changed customer expectations dramatically. Most customers now expect to be able to shop across channels seamlessly, to have immediate access to product information, and to have an in-store experience that is as convenient and simple as their experience online.
This means that your omnichannel services have to be flawless from beginning to end. Much of this comes down to how your team communicates. Can your store managers and associates send and receive messages and notifications in real time? Are your store associates notified when customers are fulfilling omnichannel purchases in the store? Without quick, easy, and effective communication across your retail organization, store associates won’t be able to make omnichannel services work effectively for your customers.
Here are strategies to ensure success with a couple of the most widely-used omnichannel services:
1. Streamline Omnichannel Execution
BOPIS is one of the most popular omnichannel services in retail today; almost 70% of retail customers in the US use BOPIS, and half of retail customers make decisions about buying products online based on whether they could pick up their orders in-store. With BOPIS being this popular and having this much sway over how retail customers shop, it’s essential to make this omnichannel service as convenient as possible, and to properly equip store associates to seamlessly fulfill BOPIS orders.
In order to ensure that customers are able to easily collect their BOPIS orders, store associates need real-time visibility into when BOPIS orders need to be fulfilled. With mobile devices, they can be immediately notified when a customer is ready to pick up an order, giving them time to collect it and bring it to the service desk. Two-way communication is also essential to BOPIS fulfillment; if store associates successfully fulfill BOPIS orders, store managers need to be immediately notified so they have consistent and accurate insight into which orders are completed and which are still in progress.
2. Enable the Endless Aisle
While physical stores can offer customers unique, tactile experiences, Amazon and other online retailers have one clear advantage. Even if some items aren’t immediately available and have a longer fulfillment timeline, online retailers have such a wide product inventory to choose from that it can make physical stores seem empty in comparison. This can lead to expectations that physical stores are simply unable to meet: customers may become frustrated by a lack of product availability at physical stores because they’re so used to an enormous catalog of products being available online.
With endless aisle access on mobile devices, store associates can bridge the gap between online and physical retail, offering customers a much wider array of products than what is available on shelves. The endless aisle also makes these products readily available, giving retailers the ability to ship to customers’ homes or make products available for in-store pickup. This not only helps store associates meet the expectations customers have around product availability, it helps them suggest other products to purchase as well, increasing both sales and customer satisfaction.
For more insight into how to provide an excellent omnichannel experience, read our latest insights: “Achieving Simplicity: 3 Ways to Streamline Your Retail Operations.”