The rapid pace of change within the industry along with consumer demands means that regardless of how we try; as retailers, our work is never really done. The Omnichannel Retail Index (ORI) was recently published, and we’re sharing key insights from 2017, across several blog posts in the coming weeks.
In this post, we highlight four key features that present as opportunities for retailers to improve loyalty, increase online sales and heighten the customer experience overall.
Convenience IS King
Making it easy for consumers to find what they want is key. Smart retailers are leading the way in providing a range of services that go part way to achieving this. However, even with the biggest brands, there are still many opportunities to improve the overall customer experience.
1. The Most Implemented Cross-Channel Functionality is BORIS – 92% ADOPTION RATE
Buy Online and Return In-Store (BORIS) is now A MUST HAVE. Customers want to buy their products on the channel that suits them most, with the option to return wherever is most convenient for them to do so.
By offering a seamless experience to customers can switch their buying channels increases loyalty and customer satisfaction.
2. Buy Online – Pickup In-Store (BOPIS)
Adoption is still lacking. In 2017, there were only 41% of retailers across the ORI who offered this service. Although this has increased on the previous year, this is a service that customers are demanding and a huge opportunity for the year ahead for those who are not providing this service to their customers. The reason shoppers love this service is due in most to the discounted shipping costs, the instant availability of the item, and the easy-return options that are linked with BOPIS purchases.
Retailers are also benefiting from add-on sales and impulse buying instore with this particular type of purchase.
3. Reserve Online – Pickup In-Store (ROPIS)
In 2016, only 9% of retailers within the ORI offered this service. In 2017, there are now 14% who offer this service. It is still a huge opportunity to those looking to be part of the early adopters.
It is ideal for customers who want to view or try out a product before they buy and not surprisingly, apparel retailers are leading the way with this initiative.
4. Real-Time Inventory Lookup
While the achievement of multichannel inventory lookup is not always easy, customers expect the ability to be able to quickly identify where the product they want is available at any particular point in time. The more information they have about this, the more likely they are going to be to make a purchase. This is all part of the seamless shopping experience that customers expect. 56% of retailers have adopted this, leaving another significant opportunity for those who haven’t, to make changes in the year ahead.
A subcategory within this point is the ability for people to search/filter out results based on their availability. With only 27% of retailers onboard with this functionality, another huge opportunity exists.
Whatever the size of your business, adopting these key functionalities within your business is essential to remain competitive in the future of online retailing. They will also endear your customers to your brand which as we all know, is crucial to the success of any business.