Shopping in the digital age
For some years now, more and more consumers have been shopping on digital channels, rather than going in person to retail stores,this widespread trend has brought a revolution in retail. Although online sales in Italy make up only 6.5% of total sales (in Europe 10%, the USA 17% and China 19%), in 2015 alone there was a 23 percentage point increase of sales by internet shops.
“The world of commerce and services is adopting the DNA of video games.fast solutions, immediate usability, a pleasing and undemanding design, measurable performance, from delivery time to possible savings. The world of Amazon!” Francesco Morace, sociologist and founder of FCL, Future Concept Lab.
To rise to the challenge, many businesses have decided to focus on omnichannel retailing.
It focusses on giving the public a seamless shopping experience between online channels and bricks and mortar shops. This gives you a competitive advantage over retailers who only sell online and those who only sell offline.In addition, it allows the customer’s needs to be better met, while maximising financial returns.
How do you become an omnichannel retailer?
The first step is to understand how online channels work to the advantage of retailers and entice customers into the store. They are your window to the world and your target customers, so it is important to pay close attention to the content, ensuring that it leaves visitors with the assurance that you are knowledgeable and competent in your sector.
For example, they can be used to show before and after photographs of makeovers, to share details of new products arriving in the store, as a place for customers to leave reviews or somewhere to create themed events. These are just some of the ways to increase visibility and stimulate word of mouth advertising.
A blog on the site not only gives us the chance to highlight our expertise on a subject but allows us to offer more information about brands sold in the store and the technicalities of kitchen refurbishment. This enables the retail to become a reference point and consultant for the customer before becoming a retailer.
Have they attended an in-store event?By asking your customers for their email address and permission to send them promotional and informative material related to the products, you can create a channel to keep them hooked into product offers and one which helps you to be remembered.
Contact points between the real and virtual worlds.
Research has shown that omnichannel customers love both virtual and real shops contact points. They use smartphones to find useful information and are more inclined to leave their details if they can download a discount voucher. They very much like interactive tools and apps such as online catalogues and shopping baskets which can give them quick and easy quotes. Buying online to collect in-store is also becoming more popular.
Retail plays a strategic role here and can exploit this opportunity to engage the consumer.Data shows that the more points of contact there are between the real and virtual world, the more customers will buy in-store.
Take your lead from the “big players”
“Steal with eyes and hears” Anonimous
There is no need to fear the virtual or e-commerce world. Designing your store with a mind to both real and e-commerce is the first step to becoming omnichannel:
- Keeping a close eye on your social media and using these channels to promote products and stores allows you to attract and retain more customers.
- By integrating online channels with your stores you can offer an enhanced shopping experience.
- The focus should be on technology, such as rendering and 3D design, which streamlines our project management for customers.
- By collecting the data of people using our stores we can learn more about our target customers and make our online communication more incisive.
- Use social networks to show off your success, for example with positive customer reviews.
- This environment is also ideal for after-sales care and you should pay close attention for customer service requests.
- It is also important not to neglect unexpected courtesy gestures (vouchers, e-books, post-purchase thanks, birthday wishes, etc.)
Nevertheless let’s remember that the “human touch”, the service and the expertise can really make a difference to the user’s shopping experience.
The fusion between real and virtual is something that fascinates us and on which we are working …. Stay Tuned!