04 Aug Connected Customers. 4 ways Omni-channel user experiences are changing the retail landscape.
Consumers are connected. They have never been as informed or as in control of their shopping experiences as they are today. They expect to be able to connect with businesses on multiple platforms. They expect to start their journey on one platform and seamlessly move to the next without any issues. They expect that each channel they come into contact with will be consistent with the last. The changing expectations of customers has brought about a new phenomenon, Omni-channel, which is changing the retail industry from its core and bringing about new opportunities and challenges for retailers and small business owners.
What is Omni-channel?
Omni-channel is an integrated approach to sales that uses multiple channels to provide a seamless customer shopping experience. It creates a harmonious link between different shopping channels including online from a desktop or mobile device, in-store shopping and even over the phone sales.
By being consistent and connected, Omni-channel provides opportunities for retailers to improve customer’s experiences, boost customer loyalty and inevitably increase sales.
So how is this new way of connecting with customers changing the retail landscape?
1. The customer journey has changed
Today’s customers are more dynamic and informed than ever before and each interaction with a retailer can no longer be seen as an isolated incident but rather a connected link in a chain of interactions. Omni-channel user experience addresses the whole customer journey, from start to finish. It has simplified the purchase journey for customers, allowing them to smoothly proceed through various journey stages across various devices and platforms.
Consumers expect all touchpoints including, email, text messages, mobile apps, instore etc. to be consistent and connected stages in their journey. For example they can choose to start their journey in store, move online to do some research and then finally purchase items over the phone.
It’s not enough that you have a consistent and well thought out Omni-channel experience for you customers, they want more. Thanks to advances in technology and simplified data capture processes, a level of personalisation is now expected by customers throughout the customer journey.
A recent survey by Infosys found that nearly one third of consumers want a more personalised shopping experience. This includes personalised coupons and product recommendations based on previous purchases.
3. Customer-driven delivery
Customer-driven delivery of goods and services plays an integral part in providing an excellent experience for customers. With the emergence of Omni-channel retailing customers have more options when it comes to deciding how they want to receive their items.
Click-and-collect is one of these new delivery methods, whereby a customer purchases online but then has the option to pick their items up in store. Other options include reserve-and-collect, same day delivery and delivery lockers.
4. New ways to pay
In this new Omni-channel environment an optimal mix of payment solutions is required to ensure customer satisfaction. By giving customers multiple payment options, including online (desktop, tablet or mobile), instore and over the phone, businesses can reduce customer drop off and positively impact customer experiences.
It is important that you choose the right payments partner to help you fully implement an Omni-channel approach to retailing.
What does all this mean for your business?
Omni-channel shouldn’t be seen as threat to traditional retail as it doesn’t mean that customers no longer need or want stores, rather they want something different from their shopping experiences. Customers now expect options when it comes to shopping and paying for goods and services including buying online.
Going online can seem daunting and costly for small businesses but in reality there are a number of tools that are simplifying this process. Shopify, Squarespace and WordPress are 3 examples of website creators that are user-friendly and cost effective that can help you get your business online in no time. Our e-commerce payment solution can integrate with these and many other CMS tools so that you can use this channel to accept payments.
We offer a range of payment options including online, instore and over the phone solutions that will help you to build a seamless payment experience for your customers.
Get a quote.