Growing offline with omnichannel sales and unified commerce
Growing offline sales requires businesses to understand why customers enjoy online shopping. Customers have greater access to information that makes choosing and purchasing an item easier and more satisfying.
This, however, does not limit businesses from benefiting in their brick-and-mortar presence when considering online options. Businesses can still use online customer profiles in-store to make the sale experience more enjoyable.
Incorporating customer research and profiles into an omnichannel sales workflow allows businesses to obtain and retain customers more easily.
For this reason, read this text to learn what is and how to establish a sales flow of omnichannel processes in your store.
From desktop, to mobile, to the store
Many customers begin their purchase by researching products that they need or want online. This research usually involves reading reviews, comparing products, comparing prices, and checking local availability.
It is usual for customers to browse websites and check mobile apps during their research. It is unfortunate for many customers that their shopping history from website to mobile app to in-store does not transfer. This loses many customers during the sale.
Deena M. Amato-McCoy of Chain Store Age highlights that "within three years, 50% of companies plan to offer a complete unified commerce experience that allows a customer to start and finish the sale anywhere." Businesses have found their broken sales channels to be troublesome, and unifying these channels into one omnichannel sales workflow will provide advantages.
The principle of unified commerce stresses that businesses provide their customers with a consistent flow of information. Abnesh Raina, published on Retail Customer Experience, describes this simply: "Shoppers...expect that all product information, including images, sizing, or any additional details to help inform the shopper and make the sale...remain consistent across all platforms."
Having accurate images, product descriptions, and proper instructions are vital for customers to feel secure about the purchase they are about to make. When a customer moves from researching online to buying offline in store, any deviation introduces doubt about actually buying the product. People will likely move to another store or make a purchase from a competitor if they feel uncomfortable about their first choice.
Building an omnichannel sales workflow
While customers conduct online research, transferring that history to use in-store will help to achieve a satisfying sales experience for the customer. Customers enjoy the benefits of loyalty programs like better prices or special promotions, but when those benefits do not integrate with an online sales profile and their in-store purchases, customers feel turned away from completing purchases in store. This pushes them away to look for other vendors.
Retail businesses can begin their transition to an omnichannel sales workflow by bringing all information into a common accessible area. By giving retail employees and website maintainers the same accessible information, a consistent view of the product will give people a sense of trust. This includes having up-to-date, real-time records of available stock, accurate images of the product in-box and out-of-packaging, product dimensions, its intended use, and any accessories or related items also available.
It is also necessary to merge customer accounts online with in-store purchase history. One possible implementation involves using a "Complete Purchase In-Store" option for customers to select on a website or mobile app. This not only gives the advantage for businesses to have their cashiers at checkout to recommend other products similar to the shopper's current purchase, but it gives them the chance to recommend products based on their browsing and purchase history.
This also works in the reverse. Online recommendations can now be implemented to recommend items that customers will likely buy in-store, and this gives customers an incentive to make purchases in-store if they were likely to make one online.
Growing in-store sales requires businesses to understand why customers have adapted to online shopping and why they enjoy it. An omnichannel sales workflow benefits from a unified commerce approach because it allows businesses to give customers the information they need to make comfortable purchasing decisions. It also allows businesses to gather information themselves to recommend items online and offline that customers will likely buy.
Once you understand how an omnichannel sales-focused workflow can provide a more personalized shopping experience for your customers, check out our article about migration to SaaS platforms, which, by the way, can be the first step in integrating your sales channels .
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