Got an online channel? Got a brick and mortar store? Going omnichannel, eh? Good for you! Just a concern – how well are you connected omnichannel wise? You get a new visitor to your store and they register onto your database. What do we do now? Bombard them with text messages about how they received XX loyalty points? Say, you have a sale on your website. Do you expect offline buyers to visit your sale out of word of mouth or would you want to invite them yourself?
Omnichannel is a multi-channel approach to sales to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience. Whether they are shopping online from a desktop, mobile or through ads or at your brick and mortar store, omnichannel approach assures a smooth and consistent experience across all platforms.
How will an Omnichannel strategy serve?
Consider Carol visits your brick and mortar store. She is overjoyed by the range, looks and feel of your products and decides to go on a shopping spree. Upon checkout, you ask Carol for her contact number and store it in your database. Carol leaves happy with her purchase and you’re happy with the revenue. Next week, you decide to have a sale on your online store. You do everything right – setup ads, blogs, social media. However, wouldn’t it be great if Carol also knew about the sale, considering her past purchase, likes, and inclination?
To essentially build an omnichannel strategy, you’d require to integrate marketing, customer support, customer experience, supply chain finance, and IT. But you probably know about it. So, what is the purpose of this article? So glad you asked!
According to Google, 78% of Americans referred to the Internet when they needed help. 80% of people took the resort of a search engine to search for a local business.
Since the rise of smartphones, shoppers have developed a new trend: Research Online, Purchase Offline over the past decade. Consumers tend to research online to look for relevant information before deciding to make a purchase offline.
Rising trend of ROPO (Research Online, Purchase Offline) can be backed by the trust issue in e-commerce. Even though more and more people are moving online for their shopping needs, the need for a personal contact, the look, feel, trust in a person, safety, no wait time, and additional services play a role in decision making. Consumers still feel safe to put their trust in a salesperson.
It seems highly unlikely that a consumer wouldn’t want to complete his purchase on the selected platform – whether online or in store. However, when you put together all the pieces of the puzzle, it becomes intuitive.
Internet and Smartphones are changing the way we shop
Whether it is educating self about the product, making a decision based on reviews or using social media to find inspiration, smartphones have adopted all at your fingertips. Everyone is looking for some sort of validation and social media gives them exactly that! Finding a product at a local store which your favorite blogger could carry off, is more than just satisfying!
Consumers rely heavily on reviews for making a decision. With electronics being the most popular category, consumers also rely on reviews for food and beverage, retail stores, etc.
Consumers Research Online before Shopping In-store
Since shoppers are becoming smarter, they believe in making well-informed decisions. They read reviews, talk to each other and engage in online forums talking about the product before buying it from their local retailer.
Consumers Research Online while Shopping In-Store
Shoppers tend to research online while they are shopping at the respective brick and mortar store. They intend to find a competitive price, read reviews, find coupons/offers and any other relevant information about the product. Since algorithms are also becoming intelligent, it is easy for the system to pick your location or other demographics and suggest alternatives or nearby stores with similar products.
Electronics, appliances, automotive, and F&B constitute as high ROPO categories whereas people online traction of apparels, shoes, etc is still low.
Increase E-Commerce Conversion in the era of ROPO
Personalize Digital Touchpoints Based on In-Store Interaction
Interact with consumers who visit your physical stores, digitally. Share email updates, newsletter, blog updates, upcoming sale, new stock, etc and invite them to be a part of your community online. Share social media posts, invite them to participate in online contests, engage in social communities and make them feel connected. Additionally, target offline buyers with paid advertisements across various channels. Whether it’s Facebook, Adwords or any other advertising platform, use a separate “offline buyers list” to target curated ads and find lookalikes for the same.
Provide an end to end service. For instance, if a user abandons his cart, it could be because he purchased it offline. Identify these users and promote your product to them. Keep in mind how online and offline buyers differ in behavior and offer what they might find useful.
Reduce the no. of Steps in the Conversion Funnel
A major reason for cart abandonment and search for an alternative is “the complex process”. You wanted to be helpful and thought that showing users a “You may also like these products” before checkout will improve your conversions. Well, little did you know that once a user finds what he was looking for, he’d like to close the deal as easily as possible, i.e., in the least number of steps possible. Yes, credits to you for thinking about complementary products, but I urge you to think about their placement. Usually, it is advisable to show complimentary products on the product page rather than right before checkout.
Similarly, asking for reviews or referrals or even a survey before checkout just increases the steps in the conversion funnel. As a result, you risk a higher attrition rate and fewer conversions. Make the conversion flow from selecting a product to paying for the product stupid simple!
Connect Loyalty Cards with Online Store
All of us love redeeming points off our “loyalty cards” while shopping in the store. Wouldn’t it be incredible if we could redeem them online as well? And why shouldn’t we? We earned those loyalty points. The platform shouldn’t be criteria for deciding when and how I can redeem my points.
Integrate loyalty cards with your online store. Let offline buyers enjoy a similar experience online as they did offline. Make them feel special by offering the option to redeem offline purchases online. Not only will you increase your conversions and customer retention, but also benefit from “word of mouth marketing”.
Focus on Reviews
An imperative part of online shopping and researching products online is “ratings and reviews”. Focus on your reviews. Read what your customers have to say about you. Hear how they feel about your brand and product. True there is little to no quality check on reviews, but do not let that hinder you in taking the appropriate steps. Customer feedback bridges the gap between your expectations and customers’ understanding of your product. Use it as a metric for requirement and improvement.
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