The future of retail is omnichannel: the 7 most important things retail brands should do

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The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected the retail sector, with many stores forced to close at the height of lockdown. During that time, consumers switched their spending to online. The shift back to in-store purchasing has begun, but a far higher proportion remains online than before the crisis.

"As of July 2022, 57.5% of worldwide internet users buy something online at least once a week."

Many customers enjoy the convenience of shopping online. But still, enjoy going into a store to see and feel a product.

Customers expect a seamless experience and won't stay loyal if they don't receive it. Building a strategy for your omnichannel shopping experience is more important than ever.

Here we look at how retailers can rethink the omnichannel shopping experience for customers to meet new expectations.

  1. Seamlessly connect online and in-store shopping to provide a consistent level of service and allow customers to quickly and easily start orders online and finish them in-store and vice versa.
  2. Use in-store apps to engage customers personally, elevate the in-store shopping experience, drive sales, and deepen customer loyalty while capturing data to understand customers wants and needs better.

"57 percent of the customers have used a retail mobile app while in-store, new research by Yes Marketing states"

  1. Create frictionless and convenient returns processes and make customers aware of the return options whilst shopping to provide a risk-free shopping experience, reduce ''returns anxiety'', and give customers the confidence to buy.

A former head of customer experience at Amazon said, "Customers who had a great seamless return experience would drive more sales than a customer who never had to return a product"

"When customers know that they can get their money back just as easily as they can spend it, they’ll shop with more confidence and spend more.” — Sanaz Hajizadeh, Happy Returns

  1. Make the click-and-collect process as quick and frictionless as possible to make it convenient for customers to collect their orders at a time and place that works best for them and remove the worry about missing a delivery.

Click and collect turnover in the UK is expected to be 11.9 billion euros in 2023.

  1. Capture, analyse and use customer data to personalise the shopping experience, recommend the right products, guide on size and fit, and help to minimise the number of returned items resulting from miss-buys.

People are 40% more likely to spend more than planned when they identify the shopping experience to be highly personalized.

  1. Equip in-store staff with hand-held devices and give them direct access to customer data to enable them to personalise the shopping experience and guide customers through their purchasing decisions.

"68% of consumers say it's absolutely critical or very important that associates understand their personal preferences or needs" — Salesforce state of service.

  1. Use technology to support customers to find items, pay for things, return items or collect items themselves without the need for in-store staff assistance, freeing up staff to provide support where it's better needed.

Here at Engine Service Design, we thrive on fixing, re-imagining and innovating services that help our clients deliver brilliant customer experiences. Discover more about our work with THAT lifestyle store and Sainsbury's.

If you have any questions about how we can help or would like any further information, please get in touch: we would love to help.

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