Why omnichannel strategy is important for retailers

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For retailers today, creating omnichannel experiences isn’t just a better way to foster consumer engagement – it is a cornerstone of survival. In fact, offering customers an omnichannel experience will not only boost brand loyalty but also help guide customers to your physical stores and guarantee they come back, whether that’s on or offline. 

The last two years has been transformative for retailers, with 46 percent planning for increased investment in omnichannel following the impact of the pandemic. More brands are recognising the value of complementing their retail performance with an integrated omnichannel experience, but many still wonder…

…What does embracing an omnichannel approach mean for retailers?

Fostering a ‘phygital’ customer experience 

The future is phygital: this means that brick-and-mortar isn’t going away entirely, but customers are increasingly blending their experience between channels. To make this a seamless journey, retailers must ensure their customers are guided from their online channels to their physical stores. An interconnected omnichannel presence means customers are more likely to go between digital and physical rather than sticking to one or the other. 

  • 73 percent of shoppers use multiple channels throughout their customer journey
  • While the accessibility of e-commerce is what makes online channels so popular, nearly half of consumers still prefer the in-store experience
  • 72 percent of digital shoppers even consider the in-store experience to be the most important channel today

Customer behaviour is increasingly hard to predict, so offering your consumers the best of both digital and physical worlds is key. Facilitating an omnichannel experience is a guaranteed way to do this. 

Connecting with younger consumers

Gen-Z shoppers are most keen on trying out new ways of shopping, and more likely to shop with retailers which offer a seamless experience across channels. While millennials are accustomed to the convenience of online shopping, according to McKinsey, younger consumers are more open to diversifying their shopping experiences.

  • Compared to other age groups, Gen-Z shoppers are 50 percent more likely to shop for fashion in store 
  • 58 percent of Gen-Z shoppers see the retail experience of browsing shelves and clothing rails as a form of retail therapy which allows them to disconnect from social media 
  • 88 percent of Gen-Zers prefer omnichannel to single-channel consumer experiences 

Omnichannel is a must for Gen-Z shoppers who are digitally native but still interested in the tactile in-store shopping experience. When it comes to the future of shopping, it’s all about offering convenience across as many options as possible. 

Boosting customer loyalty

Since companies providing an emotional connection with customers outperform the sales growth of their competitors by 85 percent, it’s important to consider the role of both brick-and-mortar and online channels in boosting customer engagement. Customers keep coming back to brick-and-mortar because many feel its personal touch can’t be beaten, while on the other hand many brands are finding that they can enhance customer engagement further via online channels. It’s the combination of both online and offline engagement that cultivates a holistic consumer-brand connection. 

  • Personalisation across all channels is key: brands that personalise the customer experience using an omnichannel strategy can achieve a 5 to 15 percent revenue increase across the full customer base
  • While 15 percent of online shoppers are return customers, companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89 percent of their customers
  • According to Raydiant, customer-first service in retail stores can result in higher spending, both in-person and online: 90 percent of customers will return again after a positive experience, while 61 percent will spend more money, and 65 percent will spend more later online 

Key takeaways:

For retailers, omnichannel strategies are more than just life rafts to post-pandemic recovery. Since 2012, the number of companies investing in omnichannel strategies has jumped from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since 2012. It’s clear that this isn’t just a trend, but a fundamental framework for retail’s future. Placing the customer at the centre, omnichannel strategies prioritise convenience across a seamless buying journey – one where the role of retail is as important as social channels and online storefronts. To secure a future where brick-and-mortar thrives, brands need to position it alongside their other channels, embracing an omnichannel ecosystem where each customer touchpoint interlinks with the next.

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