As technology makes it easier for businesses to market directly to customers, the expectations and the stakes go up.
Today’s consumers, millennials in particular, don’t want to sit on hold waiting to speak with customer service representatives. They don’t want to limit their selections to the products on store shelves or to clip and save coupons. They use technology in all facets of their lives, and shopping is no exception.
Omnichannel retailing allows businesses to deliver a technology-enabled shopping experience built around individual customer preferences.
Point-of-sale solutions can provide sales associates with data about customers and allow them to review information customized for specific shoppers. Mobile POS systems extend these capabilities throughout a store. Rather than being confined behind cash registers, associates can carry tablets that let them check inventory and conduct transactions with customers from anywhere on the retail floor.
But many retailers struggle with how to communicate appropriately with customers. With targeted marketing reaching customers through email, websites, mobile apps, postal mail, catalogs and in stores, it’s easy to cross the line from useful to excessive. If marketing goes too far and customers feel they’re being spammed or that their privacy is being invaded, a business can take a hit in terms of brand loyalty. If companies are too conservative, however, they run the risk of seeming as though they’re not interested in engaging with customers. The challenge is figuring out where that line is. The more loyalty customers have to a brand, the more likely they are to embrace omnichannel marketing.
By its very nature, omnichannel retailing is about tuning in to the customer to enhance the shopping experience. The easier it is for customers to order products, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
Grocery stores are a prime example of successful omnichannel marketing. Customers can sign up to receive targeted email discounts. Then, they can shop online or via mobile app and have the items delivered to their home. When they shop, they can use a mobile app that saves their shopping list and, as a result, they can receive coupons based on the items they’ve purchased in the past.
When done properly, omnichannel retailing helps customers feel as though their needs are being met, which can go a long way toward increasing customer retention and loyalty.
To learn more about how technology can improve the shopping experience, read the white paper “Creating the Omnichannel Retail Experience.”