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BFS Capital Blog

Omnichannel Retailing: How to Combine Physical and Online Shopping

August 11, 2016

The retail world is changing. Window shopping used to mean physically going to a shopping center or mall, walking around, and looking at things we wanted. Now, the windows we look at are on our phones, tablets and computer screens. Thanks to today’s technology, retail shopping online is growing at a much faster pace than traditional shopping at brick-and-mortar stores.

Consumers today expect information to be readily accessible at their fingertips. That’s where omnichannel retail marketing and shopping comes in, creating a seamless digital and physical shopping experience. Consumers and brands, therefore, can be connected at all times, making it easier for businesses to push sales and for customers to make purchases.

Here are three ways omnichannel retailing can help your business reach and engage more customers:

The Best of Both Worlds

There’s no doubt that online shopping channels will take over in the future. But for now, physical stores are still the top consumer choice. With omnichannel retailing, businesses and consumers can have the best of both worlds.

The inconvenience for customers of shopping in brick-and-mortar stores is that it requires them to physically go to the store, look around, and decide on purchases. The inconvenience of shopping online is the wait for production and shipping. With omnichannel retailing, the two can become one. Customers have the option to seamlessly browse online markets, compare prices and products without ever needing to leave their home, and even opt for picking up their purchase in store, skipping the long lines.

With access to wider product selections, more opportunities for discounts, and multiple options for pickup or delivery, omnichannel shoppers also have a tendency to spend more money than regular shoppers.

On-Demand Customer Service

In the past, when customers needed to speak with someone about an issue with their purchase or a question about a product, they would have to make a trip to the physical store to speak with a customer service representative. Now, customers can simply go online to a store’s site, where there will generally be an FAQ section or option to chat online with a representative.

Through point-of-service smart devices and applications, sales associates and customer service representatives can instantly access a customer’s shopping profile. Having the ability to see a customer’s shopping preferences and buying history gives the sales or customer service rep an advantage when offering new products or services.

Adding Value to the Shopping Experience

One of the most crucial and beneficial aspects of omnichannel retailing is the added value for the customer experience. Getting deep into the heart of consumer preferences and activities, and seamlessly responding to them creates a stronger, longer lasting experience for customers.

Omnichannel retailing, if done correctly, provides consumers with a consistent brand experience across all platforms – website, mobile site, social media profiles – and across all devices, such as smartphones, tablets, computers, and in-store kiosks. This experience may include personalized messages and promotions being pushed to customer’s mobile and smart devices, or an online store carrying the same inventory as the physical store.

Businesses should take advantage of omnichannel retailing to strengthen the strength the bond they have with customers. It’s no longer about what a company wants; it’s about what the consumer wants. Omnichannel retailing is the start to providing just that.