Rise of Omni Channel Shoppers – Reality of Revamped Retail
The persistent parade of new technologies has been unfolding on multiple fronts. Today, almost every remarkable innovation is billed as a breakthrough and the list of “next big thing” keeps on growing even bigger. While not every emerging trend has the power to alter the business or social landscape, some truly have the potential to disrupt the status quo by altering the way people live and work. It is therefore critical for businesses to adapt to the burgeoning realm of changes which are re-arranging the consumer value pools in entirety. One such disruption that has absolutely transformed the way retail functions, is the retail’s transition from the brick and mortar setup to an omni present avatar. With the advancement of technology, the line between digital and physical has really blurred. The new brigade of consumers want access to everything and that too, from anywhere, anytime. This changed consumer behavior has given rise to this trend which we call as omnichannel retail. In line with its literal meaning, omni channel is all about creating a seamless experience for the consumer whilst ensuring consistent brand messaging across multiple channels.
The basis of omnichannel, i.e. being present over multiple channels in a consistent fashion, is the idea of channel synergism, in which online and brick-and-mortar operations are complementary to each other. Based on this idea, majority of the retailers these days are ensuring that their marketing strategies are geared towards ensuring customer conversion through any channel.
Rise of Omnichannel Shoppers
New-age consumers are more connected, tech savvy and often switching between channels while they are shopping. As per a recent survey report, almost 73% consumers are omnichannel shoppers, while 7% are online-only and 20% are store-only shoppers. This staggering number is enough to prove that what we have at hand is an in-majority and empowered creed of consumers. This new-brigade of shoppers, before making a purchase, generally do their due diligence in researching the product online, following it on social media for reviews & recommendations and then finally stopping by a retail location, only after going through the search results in their smartphones. Thus, it is evident that for businesses, the future of omnichannel retail will be driven by digital solutions that make it possible to sell everywhere without introducing any complexity.
Furthermore, with this dynamic consumer behavior, that too in such a competitive industry, it becomes pertinent for the brands to ensure the cohesion quotient in their sales strategies. There comes in the advantage of sales enablement platforms. Leveraging the power of humungous quantity of data and then application of analytics over it – sales enablement practices ensures that the brands don’t stray away from the required trajectory.
Perfecting the Omnichannel strategy through Sales Enablement practices
A well-researched data is the backbone of any great strategy. Owing to the nature of retail industry, there is a huge quantity of data which the brands gather each day. However, the challenge comes in when, despite having such a powerful ammunition, they fail to leverage the same. A complete 360-degree view mapping is possible with the apt application of analytics over the available set of data. Buying pattern, seasonality parameter, impact of offers, preferred channel etc. are couple of insights which analytics brings to the table. With such in-depth study of consumer behavior for predicting the shopping patterns, brands truly become customer centric and are able to leverage the gathered information for offering a better omnichannel experience.
Couple of ways in which sales enablement practices can help brands in provisioning a seamless omnichannel experience
Connecting the new age shoppers
Retail is quite a saturated industry and there are no two thoughts about the same. With complete understanding of the industry, competition etc. the primary requirement is to expand the target audience base. With technologies like whitespace database discovery, untapped customer base can be reached out.
Based on the consultative selling approach, well-thought sales strategies are put in place pertaining to audience who belong to varied channels. After all, for selling different goods to different set of consumers, that too, through different channels – the pre-sales and post sales plan will be completely different.
Use of contextual content specifically tailored towards multiple channels bring in consistency in coordination and communication. Both the elements are critical in ensuring a positive consumer engagement. Such a targeted approach works upon the propensity of the potential buyer and eventually helps the brands to get consistent conversions – through all their channels.
Building brand loyalty
By using analytics and its resultant – trend maps, brands can decide on the rightmost engagement and action the same at a pre-decided time with the help of digital marketing tactics. That ways, they increase the response-rate since this time, the approach has been two-pronged and not just brand-centric.
Survival of the fittest
This is the true age of customers – reason being that they now wield colossal influence than ever before, clearly showcasing the fact that “customer is the king”. It has thus become imperative for the brands to understand their target customer and then dig deeper into their buying behavior. No more, can they ignore the piles of data they collect each day. With technology becoming the alter ego of today’s consumers, they the segment don’t want to get hassled with single-channel or even multi-channel (many avenues, but not in sync with each other), all that they want is, to shop from anywhere at any time.
The brands who will adopt the omnichannel practice, as well as, adept to the continuous changes which keep on happening in this new-era, are the ones who are going to survive in this industrial battle. Others will undoubtedly take a road towards obsolescence. Ultimately, it all boils down to being able to provide a rich and fulfilling journey to consumers so that they can experience their favorite brands in a seamless manner.
(Authored Article by Sunil Munshi, CEO- India, Denave)