Rising demand for omnichannel retail may herald a return to the glory days of brick-and-mortar retailers, provided they embrace the digital revolution this time.
Though creeping its way into the economy for a while, digitalization was braced into people’s daily lives by the global COVID-19 pandemic. With approximately 1.6 trillion U.S. dollars spent in 2022, the investment in digital transformation is expected to reach 3.4 trillion U.S. dollars by 2026. However, interestingly, with a hike in the digital transformation in the payments industry, online one-stop-all-shops like Amazon are losing their relevance.
The Re-emergence of the Traditional Retailers
Online shops were primarily price comparison points, eventually becoming the most popular stop for cost-effective shopping. But with the increase in the involvement of the tech-savvy generation in the marketplace, the demand for personalized experiences spiraled. Around 72% of users rated personalization as highly important, with 8% having no regard for it and about 20% being neutral about its importance. Consumers are becoming more aware of and comfortable with digital payment channels.
And now the consumers want more. Not only do they expect an omnichannel retail structure, which allows them to shop from anywhere, anytime, but those who still engage in physical shopping expect a seamless payment and checkout experience. Over two-thirds of shoppers engage with self-checkout occasionally, while 44% use the retailer’s app, and 29% pay using QR codes. And to leverage the opportunity of omnichannel retail, retailers need to ensure an omnichannel presence. All they need to do is, have a digital presence, to make their physical stores more accessible.
Listening to the Customers’ Demands
In the world of omnichannel retail, merchants know that the customer is always king. With technology driving changes in consumer behavior, it’s clear that customers are more informed and vocal than ever before. Recent studies show that 79% of organizations recognize that customers are smarter and more knowledgeable about products and services. Moreover, 85% of businesses acknowledge that customers today are more likely to share their positive or negative experiences. In this landscape, merchants understand that providing exceptional customer service is crucial. Merchants who excel in omnichannel retail understand that listening to customer demands is the key to success. To answer the whats and ifs, here is how omnichannel retail can ensure robust customer service in a digital era:
- Omnichannel retail is on the rise because the customer today is omnipresent. And the only way to accommodate them is by providing them the option to pay when, where, and how they want to.
- Another shopping trend that has seen a rise in mobile order ahead for pickup in-store. It also benefits businesses by reducing the overall cost of brick-and-mortar shopping.
- Customers continuously demand the option to have contactless payment methods, even at physical stores. The trend has also shown to reduce abandonment rates significantly. Customers frequently abandon shopping carts when their preferred payment method is unavailable, according to 59% of surveyed businesses.
- Hybrid shopping options are also great for engaging customers and creating resilient omnichannel retail. It simply refers to a retail model combining traditional brick-and-mortar and online shopping.
Establishing the Omnichannel Retail
As a retail strategy, omnichannel retail integrates multiple online and offline retail channels, like online websites, mobile applications, brick-and-mortar stores, and social media, to create a seamless, personalized customer shopping experience. The intent is simple, to allow customers a shopping experience that fulfills all their needs and expectations, undeterred by the mode they opt for. Judging by the trends, it is safe to say that by 2030, shopping will be highly personalized. Today, the omnichannel retail solutions market is one of the fastest growing markets, with a valuation of USD 6.46 billion in 2022 and an expected CAGR of 13.6% from 2022 to 2030. The components of omnichannel retail are:
- Sales on Social Media: Social selling, that is, selling goods, products, or services vide social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., is on an all-time upswing. The market amounted to USD 727.63 billion in 2022, with an expected growth rate of 31.6% from 2023 to 2030.
- Engaging in e-commerce: Businesses must have an eCommerce store created, as it enables their reach to be expanded, sales to be generated beyond physical store hours, and customer data to be collected to make big data decisions. Additionally, the sales process can be automated, saving time and resources, while providing a convenient shopping experience for customers.
- Creating a Digital Marketplace: Digital marketplaces benefit businesses by providing an established customer base and reputation, increasing sales and reach, and minimizing costs and efforts. They also offer tools to manage inventory, shipping, and customer service. Around 80% of Americans will join the e-commerce user market by 2023.
- Having Mobile Applications: By investing in mobile applications, organizations can enhance the customer experience through interaction opportunities, such as shopping, discounts, reward points, and customer service. It will also help organizations build brand loyalty, increase engagement, and provide a seamless shopping experience.
The one-stop-shop concept, which roared a decade and a half ago, is experiencing significant crises today. Now, shoppers are demanding a more personalized experience, which means the stores they are looking for should be specialized in a category instead of offering products under every category imaginable. This poses great opportunities for traditional independent stores if they stay agile and proactively respond to the paradigmatic shift.
The time is not just to accommodate the upsurging demands of the customers but also to leverage the potential benefits that chaperone. Improved contactless payment options with hybrid shopping experience hogging features like ordering online and picking up in-store are the embryonic stage of digitalized omnichannel markets. And the future is bright for those who crack the code of merging traditional with digital ahead of time.