E-commerce Trend #3: Omnichannel trends to know in 2023
When we talk about omnichannel in retail, we refer to a strategy in which a retailer’s sales, service and communication channels are merged to create seamless, unified and personalised shopping experiences. Experience Consulting Lead, Georg Kafka, shares the retail trends to look out for in this space and the practical learnings he has gained.
What are the must-haves in omnichannel commerce that companies should look out for in 2023?
One of the most important trends in e-commerce is personalisation. Customers expect personalised advice – just as they would get in a shop – based on their preferences, purchase history and any previous contact they’ve had with your business. A retailer should provide personalised offers on its website and, if possible, customised content to retain customers.
A prerequisite, and at the same time a major challenge, is to get to know a customer better and to collect information about their interests and behaviour along the way, whether it’s online or offline. Integrating personalisation software into sales data is particularly helpful, which is usually available in a CRM or customer loyalty programme.
Not quite as new, but just as significant, is having a really good user experience on mobile devices and being present on social media platforms.
Process optimisation in the areas of fulfilment, returns processing and exchange is equally vital. Along with speed, this is also about quality and sustainability, i.e. avoiding negative experiences such as:
• Damages during transport due to poor-quality packaging
• Excessive bureaucracy
• Lack of clear and transparent information and communication.
An omnichannel retailer’s advantages through its physical stores should be emphasised in communication, for example Click&Collect, Click&Reserve, Click&Tryout and home delivery.
Why is omnichannel retail called the future of e-commerce? What are some examples of its superpowers?
With the shift from a seller’s market (where it’s all about the goods) to a buyer’s market (where it’s all about the customer), modern retail is focusing on ‘customer-centricity’ as the key to success. Putting the customer at the centre of what you offer have advantages and disadvantages for bricks-and-mortar retail and e-commerce.
With an omnichannel approach, the retailer gets the chance to combine the strengths of different business models and to compensate for the weaknesses of respective counterparts. For example, let’s take personalisation. A salesperson in a shop knows one or two customers and can provide them with a tailored service – but they can’t do this for thousands of customers. But in the digital world, especially if you’re using AI, that’s not a problem at all. All you have to do is to feed the machine as much data as possible. On the other hand, there are customers who need advice, encouragement and empathy in order to be converted – this is a clear advantage of the personal touch.
Another undeniable added value of an omnichannel retailer lies in combining the best of both worlds: Click&Collect, Click&Reserve and Click&Tryout as well as the home delivery of in-store purchases. If a company offers in-store shopping, it can also communicate these online and either transform access to these services (e.g. video consultation) or create convenient access, such as online appointment booking at the nearest branch.
How can you improve customer satisfaction in retail and win customers’ long-term loyalty?
If you want to consistently promote customer satisfaction, you should include existing knowledge about your customers in every customer contact – digital and face-to-face. To do this, it is important to make relevant information accessible at every customer touchpoint. Therefore, it is crucial that your employees – salespeople, advisors, customer service agents and cashier – learn how to use this knowledge in the interest of both customers and your business.
And last but not least: new insights from customer interactions should flow back into the data treasure trove to support future interactions.