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Omnichannel service is more important than ever

April 29, 2014

Omnichannel shopping - which refers to the connection between the in-store and online shopping experience - is the hottest new trend in the retail industry.

Omnichannel shopping – which refers to the connection between the in-store and online shopping experience – is the hottest new trend in the retail industry. Consumers want to be able to order products online when in-store, pick up products ordered online in-store and much more.

The results of a recent survey conducted by CFI Group and eBay found that roughly 95 percent of shoppers at a given retail outlet also use that retail company’s website to shop for products. This suggests that there is already a major base of shoppers using in-store and online shopping experiences simultaneously to find the products and prices that they desire. 

“With consumers wanting more options when shopping, especially within the realm of cross-channel shopping, it is important for retailers to increase their customer service standards both online and in-store,” Terry Redding, vice president of marketing and product development at CFI Group, told Internet Retailer. “Tactics such as staying consistent across channels with stock as well as coordinated cross-channel promotions will help consumers stay loyal to a brand, and stores will gain higher customer satisfaction rates.”

What omnichannel features are consumers demanding?
It’s clear that e-commerce is now an integral part of the shopping experience: a recent eMarketer report, for instance, noted that online sales will account for almost $500 billion in retail revenue by the year 2018. Omnichannel refers to the practice by which those e-commerce sales will influence and interact with sales made in-store. Yet, how exactly do consumers want these two different shopping experiences to interact?

The eBay and CFI survey went into further depth investigating that question, according to the Internet Retailer report. For instance, the survey found that roughly 90 percent of all shoppers would be more likely to shop at a store if that store allowed them to return products bought with the brand online at a brick-and-mortar location. Additionally, almost 4 out of every 5 consumers reported that they’d also be more likely to shop with a retailer if they could pick up products from a physical location after ordering said products online.

These figures illustrate one finding quite clearly: retail outlets can not focus solely on either in-store or online credit card payment processing stations. Instead, retailers need to focus on linking these two points of sale.

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