Why You Need to Know These Omnichannel Trends
Meeting customer expectations has never been more important than it is now. Customers no longer have to settle for subpar customer service and poor product selection. With omnichannel shopping options and a global marketplace at their fingertips, they can simply click their way to an option that serves their needs better.
To keep customers in your corner, and avoid driving them to your competitor, it’s important to pay attention to the latest omnichannel trends. Omnichannel retail offers considerable benefits, however, no omnichannel strategy is future-proof; it needs regular edits based on market conditions and trends.
Which is why we’re sharing the 9 top trends in omnichannel retail with you today.
“Omnichannel retail is still a relatively new business concept and model.” says [Name][Title] at The Fulfillment Lab. “As we continue to discover how it bridges the gap between customers and smoothes internal processes, businesses need to be able to quickly adapt to omnichannel advances and trends.”
Brief History of Omnichannel Retail Evolution
In order to see where business is headed, let’s take a quick look at where we started. The retail landscape has undergone a seismic shift, largely propelled by the internet. Gone are the days of solely brick-and-mortar shopping.
The digital age has ushered in a new era where consumers crave convenience and immediacy. Early in this transformation we saw new shopping trends emerge that included:
- The emergence of e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay.
- Mobile shopping apps.
- Cashless transactions - allowing purchases to be made with just a tap.
- Social media platforms evolved into sales channels.
Omnichannel solutions aren't just a fleeting trend; they're the new retail reality. 58% of consumer spending now happens online. Looking ahead, it's clear that omnichannel isn't confined to just retail. Its principles are influencing broader sectors, reshaping supply chains, and setting the stage for the future of commerce.
9 eCommerce Omnichannel Retail Trends with Staying Power
1. Unified Shopping Experiences
Unified shopping experiences refer to the seamless integration of various shopping channels, ensuring that customers receive a consistent and cohesive experience, whether they're shopping online, via mobile, or in-store. It's creating consistency and an environment where customers can trust they’ll receive the same level of care no matter what platform they engage.
Businesses benefit immensely from unified shopping. It boosts customer satisfaction which also increases brand loyalty and sales. When customers find consistency, they're more likely to engage more deeply with the brand in the future.
Examples of what unified shopping solutions are include:
- Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS): This is when customers can shop online and choose to collect their purchases at a physical location.
- Real-time Inventory Visibility: Whether shopping in-store or online, customers can see product availability across all channels helping them make informed purchasing decisions.
- Integrated Loyalty Programs: Customers can earn and redeem points both online and offline, enhancing their shopping journey and not forcing them to choose between online or in-store experiences.
2. Brick and Mortar
Even in our digital age, brick-and-mortar stores hold a special allure. They offer tactile experiences, immediate gratification, and a sense of authenticity that online platforms can't replicate. Physical stores provide a space where customers can touch, feel, and try products, making their shopping decisions more informed and personal.
Moreover, today's savvy customers crave comprehensive shopping experiences. They desire the convenience of online shopping but also the tangibility of in-store interactions.
That’s why retailers who blend both worlds and offer a harmonized omnichannel experience, are the ones who truly cater to modern consumer needs. By integrating physical stores with digital platforms, businesses can offer a holistic shopping journey, meeting customers wherever they choose to engage.
3. Personalized Customer Experiences
A personalized customer experience tailors interactions and offerings to the unique preferences and behaviors of individual customers. It's about making each shopper feel recognized and valued by delivering content, products, or services that resonate with their specific needs and desires.
- Product Recommendations: Based on browsing history and past purchases, customers receive suggestions tailored to their preferences to their inbox, as a text message, or while they browse online.
- Fulfillment Marketing: Using knowledge of customer’s search and purchasing history, businesses can personalize parcels with free samples or coupons based on their customer profile.
- Customized Shopping Journeys: Omnichannel solutions can adapt the shopping process based on a customer's past interactions, ensuring a seamless and familiar experience.
By offering these personalized touchpoints, businesses foster deeper connections with their customers. This not only enhances the shopping experience but also nurtures loyalty, ensuring customers return time and again.
4. Social Proof
Social proof is the virtual nod of approval consumers seek before making a purchase. It's the collective endorsement from peers, influencers, or satisfied customers that signals a product or service's value and reliability.
Modern manifestations of social proof include influencer endorsements, engaging product videos, and, most notably, online reviews. These elements provide potential customers with a sense of trust and validation.
For instance, when a favorite influencer raves about a product or when numerous positive reviews align, it sways purchasing decisions.
Investing in social proof is more than just a marketing strategy; it's about building a trustworthy brand reputation and creating trust between you and your audience.
5. Supply Chain Management
Poor supply chain management can be a business's Achilles' heel. Inefficient processes not only dent profit margins but can tarnish a brand's reputation, leading to lost trust and customer loyalty.
Today's discerning customers expect more than just a product; they demand transparency and efficiency. This includes real-time inventory visibility, ensuring their desired items are in stock, and swift shipping times that meet or exceed their expectations.
To meet these demands, businesses can:
- Implement a robust Warehouse Management System (WMS) to streamline inventory and order processes.
- Collaborate closely with suppliers for timely restocking.
- Invest in predictive analytics to forecast demand and manage stock levels proactively.
Seamless Shopping Experiences
A seamless shopping experience is one where customers are able to transition effortlessly between online and offline channels. While doing this they don’t encounter friction or hurdles, and receive consistent service throughout their journey.
What Does a Seamless Shopping Experience Look Like?
A seamless shopping experience can look like this: a customer browses a product online, saves it in her cart, then visits the physical store to touch and feel it. The online app tells the customer where to find the item in a store near their home.
After going to the store and seeing the product, they realize they need a different size, which is not available at that location, but it’s at a different location or can be purchased online. They choose to order the different sized item online and have it delivered directly to their home.
Such fluidity between online and in-store shopping isn't merely a trend; it's a modern-day customer expectation. Omnichannel retail is the only avenue that can truly deliver this level of integration, ensuring businesses meet and exceed these evolving demands.
6. Faster Response Times
Customers today expect swift service and near-instant interactions. Faster response times not only meet these expectations but also demonstrate a brand's commitment to its customers, enhancing trust and loyalty.
To speed up service times without compromising quality, consider these tips:
- Automate. Use chatbots for immediate answers to frequently asked questions.
- Train Staff. Ensure your team is well-versed in products and policies to provide quick, accurate information.
- Leverage Technology. Implement a robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to access customer data swiftly and tailor responses.
By prioritizing rapid responses, businesses can stand out in a crowded market, ensuring they're always a step ahead in customer satisfaction.
Did you know fulfillment marketing can take your omnichannel strategy to the next level? Find out how in our blog:
Cookies have long been digital breadcrumbs, helping retailers understand user behavior by collecting data on their online activities. However, with growing privacy concerns and regulatory changes, these tiny trackers are being phased out.
Businesses now face the challenge of navigating a cookieless future, requiring new strategies to gather valuable customer insights.
In preparation, many businesses are turning to first-party data, directly collected from their audiences, ensuring transparency and trust. This shift impacts omnichannel operations, emphasizing the importance of unified platforms that integrate data from all touchpoints.
Centralized Data Solutions
Centralized data is the backbone of a successful omnichannel presence. It ensures consistency, accuracy, and real-time access to vital information across all channels, enhancing decision-making and customer experiences.
Examples of centralized data solutions include:
- Unified Customer View. Central systems consolidate customer interactions from all touchpoints, offering a holistic view of their journey.
- Inventory Management. Real-time stock levels and demand forecasting become streamlined, reducing overstocks and stockouts.
- Efficient Marketing. Tailored campaigns can be designed using consolidated data, ensuring relevant messaging across channels.
- Enhanced Collaboration. Teams can collaborate effectively with access to the same data, ensuring cohesive strategies.
How a WMS Solution Enhances Omnichannel Retail Operations
When creating a robust omnichannel approach to retail operations, a Warehouse Management System (WMS) isn't just a luxury—it's a necessity. Let's delve into how a WMS can supercharge your omnichannel retail strategy.
- Streamlined Inventory Management. With a WMS, businesses gain real-time visibility into their inventory across all physical stores and online platforms. This ensures stock levels are accurate, reducing the risk of overselling or stockouts.
- Efficient Order Fulfillment. A WMS optimizes the order fulfillment process. Whether it's facilitating Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) or ensuring that deliveries are timely and accurate, a WMS is instrumental.
- Data Integration. Omnichannel retail involves multiple touchpoints. A WMS consolidates data from these various channels, providing a unified view that aids in informed decision-making.
- Enhanced Customer Service. With all information centralized, customer service teams can address queries and issues more efficiently, regardless of the channel through which the customer reaches out.
- Scalability. As businesses grow, so do their operational demands. A robust WMS ensures that as sales channels expand and order volumes increase, operations run smoothly without any hiccups.
- Fulfillment Marketing. A WMS can be part of your fulfillment marketing strategy. Create personalized package solutions, speed up shipping times, and ensure every sales channel is treated equally.
Incorporating a WMS into your omnichannel strategy is like adding a turbocharger to your engine. It ensures efficiency, accuracy, and most importantly, satisfied customers.
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Embrace the Future of Omnichannel Retailing with The Fulfillment Lab
Omnichannel is here to stay, that’s not surprising to anyone. Those that can meet customers on their level and provide solutions, products, and services as conveniently as possible will always be a step ahead of the competition.
With The Fulfillment Lab and our WMS platform, we can help businesses achieve these goals and keep pace with the new normal of retail by helping to manage inventory, customer information, shipping, and packaging from a single user-friendly interface.
To learn more about how our WMS can help you build a better omnichannel business model, contact our team today.