Ecommerce has brought in an evident shift in consumer behavior, influencing wishes and habits in the store experience. While stores offer a more direct touchpoint with consumers, the convenience of ecommerce is still unmatched. More than ever, retailers need to focus on improving their in-store shopping experiences and leverage technology to create a seamless customer journey.
As per payment data released by Mastercard in June 2022, while ecommerce sales increased 2.2%, store sales grew 13.4%. More recently, analysts noted store sales have been growing faster than online. Now is the time to leverage the positive aspects of the ecommerce experience and bring them into the store.
From product information and navigation to personalization, here are some ways ecommerce is influencing the kinds of store experience that customers are looking for.
Rich Product Information
Ecommerce websites display a plethora of information: product descriptions, videos, pictures, ratings, reviews, etc. The same breadth of information may be difficult to provide in store, yet consumers are still looking for more. They want to see a consistent product catalog from retailers, making it easier for them to access additional details when store shopping.
When all store operations are unified under one omnichannel commerce platform, it’s easier for retailers to implement store technologies that can address this consumer desire. You can include tech like QR codes linked to product pages with information including variants, recommendations, available colors and inventory in different stores.
Though consumers appreciate personalization, it can still be vastly improved. You need to step up and make interactions focused more on the individual and less about the general audience sharing similar habits and behaviors. Personalization, when used efficiently, creates a win-win situation for retailers and customers. Personal interactions with a large customer segment deliver a lift in sales, in turn driving up loyalty and share-of-wallet among.
According to McKinsey, personalization can unlock significant near-term value, such as 10% to 20% more efficient marketing, greater cost savings and a 10% to 30% percent lift in revenue and retention.
Data analytics have made it possible to provide personalized product recommendations and incentives. It is crucial to imitate these services in the store experience as well. Designing a robust incentive program, consistent with customers’ ecommerce profile based on data they’ve agreed to share, allows you to offer tailored deals, promotions and recommendations in store that sweeten the deal.
Customers expect as much product selection as possible. With an ecommerce store, it’s easier to meet those demands by displaying your entire product catalog, something that can never be accomplished in a store.
The solution to this problem is endless aisle, enabling online orders while in store. Customers can order out-of-stock items that can be shipped to the store or to their home.
Easy Inventory Insights
Product search is far easier online than in store. Layouts get reset often and things move around a lot, making product search more difficult and time consuming. The current macroeconomic landscape and labor shortages also make it impossible to maintain a healthy associate-to-customer ratio. Technology, however, can help share precise product locations, essential for both efficient fulfillment and a smooth customer experience.
Tap the mobile experience to provide shoppers with the right information at their fingertips. Your mobile app can be used to locate items in store by leveraging location data that supports fulfillment. This can be a valuable feature for store customers, such as how much of an item is in stock. Convenient product search is key to any store experience. If shoppers enter the store knowing the exact aisle and shelf or bin and the quantity, you ease their shopping experience and save them time, in turn promoting loyalty.
Provide customers with digital media that can improve and complement the store experience. Interactive technology takes the data from the four points discussed above and brings it one step further.
For instance, take an interactive touchscreen mirror in the changing room. This technology can keep track of items brought in, as well as what fits and what doesn’t, while facilitating communication with associates and creating a dynamic experience.
This solution creates a three-way conversation between the customer, store staff and the data. In the above example, it brings a conversational element to the changing rooms, smoothing over what is usually a chaotic and time-consuming experience for customer and associate.
With growing expectations for ecommerce-influenced shopping experiences in store, retailers are under pressure to do more than just sell products. Leveraging solutions that best integrate online and offline shopping experiences is the way forward. This, coupled with customer data, is paramount in creating seamless shopping experiences.
Frank Kouretas is Chief Product Officer of Orckestra, powered by mdf commerce