Customers buy where they want, when they want and how they want. At least that’s what they want. Retailers who best meet these key needs of emancipated customers have the greatest opportunity to build stable, valuable customer relationships and increase sales.
In practice, this requires an intelligent omnichannel organization and powerful, networked commerce applications – especially e-commerce, POS and merchandise management systems. In addition, there is a retail philosophy that focuses on the customer. For an initial orientation, six tips and hints have been compiled here on how retailers can master the central challenges of Omnichannel commerce and what to think about.
Starting with a mobile perspective
The smartphone is a constant companion on the customer journey. No matter where the potential customer is in the decision-making process, no matter what questions he is dealing with, the smartphone promises immediate information and clarification. Dealers can only get closer to their customers through direct contact, but this is rare. So they need to be optimally mobile, especially since the step from searching for information to mobile shopping is not far away. In Asian markets, however, “mobile first” is already a thing of the past, here it is called “mobile only”.
The goal of combining all processes and all sales channels into an organic whole in order to offer the customer a seamless shopping experience is often contradicted by the grown sales and marketing structures. In the digital age, however, there is no room for divisional egoisms. SLAs and additional, combined performance indicators, which focus on the customer or the assortment and do not consider the performance of individual channels or marketing alone, form an integrative superstructure.
User Centered Design
Design and the associated usability naturally also play an important role in the offline world. However, if merchants make mistakes online in these areas, this has an even more negative effect, because here they become decisive factors besides the price. Design and usability have a lasting impact on the brand experience and are the key to high conversion. The better they are geared to the individual user in the respective situation, the greater the success.
Collect data and create a single point of truth
The consistent use of shopper insights requires above all the availability of reliable and relevant data. This is about the customer and his purchasing behavior, but also about the article data that must be related to each other. On the system side, Omnichannel retailers therefore need at least web analysis tools, a CRM and an ERP system, which in turn serve as data sources for a data warehouse. Here, the data is consolidated into a single point of truth and can then be meaningfully analyzed.
Agile Framework as Central Commerce Platform
Successful Omnichannel commerce has a lot to do with trial and error, as well as constant adaptation to market conditions and customer needs. This requires a central online commerce platform that acts as a transaction layer for a variety of channels, but which can also be used at any time to try out new ideas, measure them and, if necessary, bury them easily. This is only possible with shop systems that are designed as a framework. Then all output and input channels can be connected individually – including POS applications – and adapted at any time.
Develop Omnichannel into Omni-Commerce
Omnichannel is still thought from the perspective of sales channels. But if it’s about satisfying the needs of customers everywhere, anytime, and the way they like to shop, then Omnichannel must evolve into Omni-Commerce. Here, all aspects such as procurement, logistics, presentation, assortment policy, ordering, shipping, returns and payment options are understood as services for the customer and as fully as possible geared to him.
Add everything and never hide it
E-commerce transactions are only successful if there are no hidden costs behind the return policy. Offer the customer a free return to facilitate the sale, as it doesn’t cost much to arrange a pick-up. Rather, it disturbs the customer to return the package, can push him away from future shopping in the store. Make everything clear and make the customer’s attention easier by posting a detailed return policy on a page other than the checkout page.
Do you want your business to grow like a house on fire? Spread the value of your brand through social media channels and call potential customers out loud that you have the crown at your top.