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Is it Time for Retailers to Fulfill the Promise of Omnichannel Engagement?

sales person shows woman sitting on display couch tablet in furniture showroom

According to CB Insights, more than 90 percent of leading retailers either have an omnichannel strategy or plan to invest in omnichannel technology, while only eight percent think they have mastered omnichannel. Yet, coming out of lock-down, customers now have higher expectations of true omnichannel access to their favorite brands – anytime, anywhere, any way. If your business doesn’t have an omnichannel strategy, it’s time to build one before you get left behind!

What does omnichannel really mean, and is hybrid shopping achievable? 

A few years back, providing shoppers with an “omnichannel” experience was a trendy topic. However, wiring up digital and in-store shopping platforms properly proved costly and complicated for most retailers. Omnichannel engagement allows customers to have a consistent and seamless experience whether they interface with a brand in-person, via mobile, or online at home. Until recently, most retailers haven’t had the technical muscle at their disposal to make this experience a reality.

However, the pandemic accelerated that change when lock-down forced retailers to use their technical tools to connect with shoppers. In-store shopping became extremely limited, often only allowing customers to pick up or return online orders. That experience taught retailers about the importance of investing in omnichannel and creating a cohesive blend of online assistance and in-store experiences.

Hybrid shopping is the new omnichannel. It is now part of a renewed focus on centralizing customer experience to build trust and loyalty. And, unlike a few years ago when it first emerged as a trendy topic, retailers now have options to provide an omnichannel experience without breaking the bank.

Omnichannel is here. Are you ready?

Retailers need to embrace the blend of their online and physical stores. Customers not only desire but expect the ability to research a product or company online while having the experience and convenience of going to a physical store. In the last few years, we’ve seen a huge increase in customers buying online and picking up in-store (BOPIS), as well as buying online and returning in-store (BORIS). 

Many retailers have taken steps to bring the online experience in-store. Take Lush, which has tablets set up around their shops to show the ingredients and processes used to make their products. Likewise, Wayfair offers physical locations to help customers to see products up close and digital to see product options and place orders. There are so many ways to incorporate online resources into your store.

Another way customers are creating the omnichannel experience is by bringing the in-store experience online. This may not be getting enough attention but is equally impactful. Retailers can do several things to bring the in-store experience to their customers before they set foot in a physical location. Online, customers might be offered services such as a product tour by a bot, video chat and cobrowsing with a sales agent, or schedule an appointment for a virtual consultation with a product expert. Sales agents can walk around a showroom and provide a tour of what’s in stock via mobile video, help customers narrow their choices, then schedule an in-store appointment to make a final selection and close the sale. With Vee24, contacts run through a centralized platform that recognizes the customer no matter which channel they are engaging on and provides them with a consistent experience that satisfies and delights.

Let Vee24 build your omnichannel experience.

Where do you start? The Vee24 team provides a true omnichannel platform for your hybrid shopping initiatives. We also have a team of experts who can help you start small, earn quick wins, and deliver the kind of seamless experience that today’s shopper demands. 

Are you ready to expand your reach? Learn about how The Watches of Switzerland Group created the ultimate luxury shopping experience with its virtual boutique.