a miniature shopping cart on macbook laptop

Omnichannel excellence is a continued focus for retailers

This article was based on the interview with Kristin Schoenstein and Elizabeth Robillard from eTail Palm Springs by Greg Kihlström, marketing technology keynote speaker for The Agile Brand with Greg Kihlström podcast. Listen to the original episode here:

Omnichannel excellence has become a key focus for retailers in recent years and will continue to be in the future. This concept refers to the seamless integration of various channels, such as brick-and-mortar stores, online platforms, mobile apps, and social media, to provide customers with a consistent and excellent shopping experience.

The retail industry has witnessed a significant shift in consumer behavior, with customers now expecting convenience, personalization, and flexibility in their shopping journeys. They want to be able to browse products online, make purchases in-store, and have the option to return or exchange items through various channels. Retailers have recognized the importance of meeting these expectations and have been investing in creating a cohesive omni-channel strategy.

However, the maturity level of retailers in terms of omni-channel excellence varies. While some retailers have made significant progress in integrating their channels and delivering a seamless experience, others are still in the early stages of implementation. According to a study by Boston Retail Partners, only 7% of retailers consider themselves to be at an advanced stage of omni-channel maturity.

The challenges of achieving omni-channel excellence are numerous. Retailers need to overcome technological barriers, such as integrating different systems and platforms, ensuring data accuracy and security, and providing a consistent user experience across channels. They also need to align their organizational structure, processes, and culture to support a customer-centric omni-channel strategy.

Despite these challenges, the importance of omni-channel excellence cannot be ignored. Customers today have more choices than ever before, and their loyalty is heavily influenced by the quality of their shopping experience. A study by Harvard Business Review found that customers who engage with a brand through multiple channels are more valuable, spending an average of 4% more on every shopping occasion in-store and 10% more online than single-channel customers.

Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for omni-channel excellence. With lockdowns and social distancing measures in place, consumers turned to online shopping in record numbers. Retailers who were already equipped with a strong omni-channel strategy were able to adapt quickly and continue serving their customers, while those who lacked a robust online presence struggled to stay afloat.

Looking ahead, retailers will need to continue investing in omni-channel excellence to stay competitive. As new technologies emerge and consumer expectations evolve, retailers must adapt and innovate to meet these changing demands. This may involve leveraging artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics to personalize the shopping experience, implementing contactless payment options, and integrating emerging channels such as voice commerce and augmented reality.

Omnichannel excellence is a focus for retailers and will continue to be in the future. The ability to provide a seamless and excellent shopping experience across multiple channels is crucial for attracting and retaining customers. While retailers are at different stages of maturity in their omni-channel strategies, the importance of investing in this area cannot be overstated. As the retail landscape evolves, retailers must adapt and innovate to meet the changing demands of their customers and stay ahead of the competition.