“Alexa, re-order laundry detergent.”
Same-day delivery? Yes, please!
Buy Online, Pick Up In Store — so convenient.
This is how we retail today. From curbside pickup to leisurely browsing while blowing off steam, long gone are the days of all-day, meticulously planned Saturday shopping trips. We interact with retail brands when we want and how we want. That is the necessity for ultimate brand experiences.
This easy, à la carte relationship with a retailer is what keeps consumers coming back again and again. But for a retailer, there is more to this relationship. All relationships need a solid foundation to last. And in this case, that foundation is a solid omnichannel strategy.
The Way to the Customer’s Heart (and Wallet) is Omnichannel
Your everyday consumers may not be able to perfectly recite what omnichannel is, but they can tell you that they expect to be able to interact with brands and retailers in every way: web browsers, mobile applications, social media, and brick-and-mortar stores.
From personal experience, I can say that I click “buy” more often after Saks Fifth Avenue recaps my viewing history in a weekly email and provides suggestions of similar items on sale. The company knows my preferences and, most importantly, has mastered turning those personal preferences into action through an omnichannel experience.
This is omnichannel retail, a multichannel approach to provide consumers with a seamless shopping experience from wherever and however they shop. It is the basis of strong customer loyalty and makes for a great brand experience. Here are the retail trends that define a positive customer relationship, all supported by omnichannel:
Experiential Retail – With the omnichannel experience and consumers shopping from just about anywhere, retailers and brands are reimagining what physical brick-and-mortar stores can offer customers. They are aiming to give a customer a unique experience that keeps them engaged when they are physically in stores and keeps the brand memorable. Experiential retail is a marketing strategy where physical retail stores provide customer experiences beyond shopping for products.
Autonomous Fulfillment and Delivery – Customers want instant gratification. When they order a product online, they expect to receive it quickly. Hence, same-day delivery was born. Being able to see inventory levels and trust an accurate delivery window boosts customer loyalty and increases engagement over time. Additionally, finding efficient ways to deliver is necessary to meet these customer demands such as Amazon utilizing drones and local kiosks to deliver packages. In fact, by the end of 2025, more than 580,000 autonomous mobile robots (AMR) will be deployed to help Amazon warehouses fulfill customer orders. Practices that support autonomous fulfillment and delivery have dual benefits as they increase customer engagement and loyalty and push retail companies to be more efficient within their supply chain operations saving time and money down the road.
eCommerce & mCommerce – The ability to use electronics to purchase goods and services is eCommerce in simple terms. It is part of omnichannel retail and thanks to the advancement of mobile devices, robust mobile applications, and social media platforms, mCommerce is also emerging as a way of shopping that retailers need to engage. By 2023, eCommerce is expected to make up 22% of all retail sales worldwide. By 2024, U.S. purchases made from mobile devices will hit $418.9 billion in sales. Recently, social media platforms have elevated mCommerce with brands and retailers using Instagram, TikTok, and their own mobile applications to market products and make it easy for a customer to buy what they want when they see it.
Brand Transparency – Living in a world where data and information about every topic are readily available has helped create the conscious consumer. Your customers are so connected to what is occurring in the world that they are much more aware of the individual impact that they have, and the impact that the retailers and brands they support have. To introduce another personal example, I’ve always been a fan of H-E-B, a Texas-based grocery store that cemented itself in my personal community in 2017 when Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast. H-E-B mobilized operations rapidly and worked with first responders to meet the impacted communities’ needs by providing mobile kitchens and groceries to their customers. They showed they are a brand that supports their community, so I want to support them how I can, with my wallet.
Where to Start For Omnichannel-Focused Brand Experiences
Creating the ultimate omnichannel brand experience for your customers does not happen overnight. Retailers need to start by assessing their operations in each of the consumer channels they offer and evaluating the ones they do not and why.
- How can you collect and analyze your customer data better to personalize your interactions?
- Do your supply chain operations need to be modernized to create timely inventory transparency?
- Is your current website scalable for mCommerce sales and expansion or maybe a new robust mobile application is needed?
Ultimately, all of these efforts come together to create your relationship with the customer. From re-ordering a “favorited” beverage on the way to work to seeing a push notification with a suggested birthday gift for a beloved family member, retailers are creating moments that make a customer feel seen. Investing in those moments will allow you to nurture your customer relationships for years to come.
Interested in how Sendero can help? Drop us a line and a consultant will reach out to you soon.