E-commercers are going omni-channel: Stores are the new black
Pure-players have to go omni-channel, if they want to grow in the future, according to trends in e-commerce. Especially the physical store is a powerful and indispensable player in an omni-channel strategy.
Today there are many ways of reaching the consumers, such as physical stores, online shops, mobile apps, social media and telemarketing. And in line with the digital revolution, consumers have become accustomed to shop across the different channels. Therefore consumers expect omni-channel today. And the retailers who have transformed themselves into omni-channel, can grow more than pure online shops, the so-called pure-players. Therefore, pure-players have to think in terms of physical channels in addition to online, according to omni-channel expert Kasper Holst from Impact.
“2015 has been a wake-up call for retailers. They have realized the necessity to adapt to omni-channel retail. Here it is vital to look at the supply chain, warehouse and logistics. Drastic changes in existing processes to deliver a true omni-channel buying experience are necessary. In a successful omni-channel strategy order picking, customer service, delivery and return have to function across all channels, ” Kasper Holst says.
The main channel is still the physical store, according to Kasper Holst:
“Stores are really good for impulse purchases, which represent up to 20 % of all trade. In addition, the human interaction in a store is significant to the customer service experience. The physical store is also an important tool for the online shop because it represents a delivery and return alternative for the online shop’s customers. This creates synergy between the online shop and the store, as the purchase may start in the online shop and end up in the store where the customer picks up or returns the online purchase and increases the opportunity for impulse purchases and increased sales for the physical store.”
Omni-channel delivery and return increases customer satisfaction and sales
Vice President at Consignor, Steffen Pasgaard, finds that the delivery service Click & Collect, where the customer picks up online purchases at the physical store, is getting really popular.
”More and more online shops are going omni-channel and offer Click & Collect via their own stores, and this puts pure-players like Amazon, under pressure. In return retailers like American Macy’s, who combines offline sales in department stores with online sales, are gaining market share. The offline store becomes a kind of warehouse and showroom for the online shop, where customers are able try on and not least return items. Good return options are also crucial to a good customer experience, ” Steffen Pasgaard says.
A study by UPS shows just that up to 81% of consumers expect one of the following return options before purchasing a product online:
- That they can return an item purchased online in a physical store.
- That they can send an online purchase back to the online shop with a return label, which is generated and paid by the online shop.
“As an online shop you have to differentiate yourself in a dense market. You have to be unique, offer high customer service or have a special product range. Omni-channel is still a way of differentiating yourself, but is simultaneously also expected by the consumers today. The most progressive pure-players today see opportunities in physical channels through partnerships with existing and established offline stores. Same-day delivery will become a market standard for all actors within a few years. Omni-channel transformation thus put great demands on all actors regarding logistics and delivery methods, ” Kasper Holst concludes.
- Pure-players are pure online shops, who don’t have physical stores, but only online sales. Amazon is an example of a pure-player.
- Omni-channel means multiple channels or across channels, and refers in this article to the use of multiple channels in the consumer buying experience.
- Consignor develops and provides Delivery Management software for companies and online shops.
- A study by UPS shows that online shops offering Click & Collect, experience that 44% of their customers make additional purchases in the physical store whilst waiting on picking up their online purchase.
- Impact is a consultant house, which offers counseling in e-commerce, marketing and business strategy.
- Impact is knowledge leader in the Nordics within omni-channel commerce and data driven marketing.
- Numbers from Impact show that omni-channel companies have a 10% higher customer satisfaction than none omni-channel and a 20% higher basket size in the online shop than none omni-channel.
Text by: Consignor, firstname.lastname@example.org