Published: 16 July 2019
Savvy marketers are fully immersed in providing an integrated multi-channel approach but market leaders are already offering omnichannel retailing; breaking down the silos between online and offline interactions.
Omnichannel retailing is a fully-integrated approach that embraces all channels to provide a seamless shopping experience that carries online from desktop to mobile, over the phone or in-store; making it easier to ‘do business’ with brands.
As technology evolves so must our approach, and in the age of the consumer, this is becoming ever-increasingly essential for those wanting to lead the way in digital innovation within their sector, and for those not embracing this change… they risk being left behind by their ‘loyal’ customers for competitors offering a more seamless experience. Those already embracing this approach retain, on average, 89% of their customers compared to 33% for those that aren’t!
Consumers expect to be able to make real-time purchases, check stock, make same-day collections and have access to free delivery and returns as a standard and too many retailers just aren’t offering enough of these simple services to keep shoppers content and stay ahead of the competition.
It’s also important to note how Augmented Reality (AR) is becoming a common theme across the home, garden and manufacturing industries when it comes to omnichannel retailing because it gives users visualisation of the product they’re looking at, making the need for it all the more tangible and increasing the desire to purchase. However, AR tools are only valuable if they can connect online with purchase behaviours, because whilst it might be fun to use for it to be part of a successful marketing strategy brands still need to be able to measure if the user buys online or not.
Many home and garden retailers are already implementing signs of an omnichannel approach and for some, there’s still a long way to go, below I’ve included a few brands in this sector that are already leading the way in omnichannel retailing.
Karndean’s virtual floor fitting app puts a fun twist on an otherwise mundane task of walking around stores searching for flooring only to bring it home, discover that it just messes with the feng shui in the rest of the room and it’s back to the drawing board.
The app uses Augmented Reality to show users what a specific flooring type might look like in their designated room just from using their mobile device or tablet.
Jacksons Fencing offers website users access to a fence-builder tool which allows them to specify their desired product and prevents users from missing commonly forgotten items such as hardware, nails, screws and postcrete which in turn means that when customer’s items are delivered they have everything they need for the project and don’t need to return to the website or an alternative retailer for extra products.
Additionally, we’re in the process of helping Jacksons define and develop a ChatBot which will allow customers to self serve; helping to free up Telephone and Live Chat operatives so that they can continue to better serve customers.
Screwfix lives up to and exceeds the expectations of consumers looking to buy online and obtain products quickly and easily.
For consumers looking to buy parts for a broken shower or a fitting for their sink, the last thing they want to do is stalk up and down a store with lots of shelves and no clue what they really need. With Screwfix, shoppers can search and locate their part effortlessly via Google Search or in Site Search, read reviews, check stock, purchase their item and collect from a local store where they will be notified once a member of the team has picked their item within hours and sometimes minutes of purchasing; an effortless interaction.
This no-fuss approach is what makes Screwfix such a hit with DIYers and tradespeople.
With Dfs, the buying story is slightly different. Whilst a sofa-shopper will carry out lots of research online, they still want to be able to sit and ‘test’ the sofa before parting with their money, therefore it’s essential that Dfs provides a user experience that answers all of their needs. With this in mind, Dfs launched a new feature that allows shoppers to use AR to see their sofa in ‘real-life’ mode, ensuring that it fits / matches with the rest of the room which helps prevent the number of returns the retailer gets for sofas that are too big and this is where we see the AR offering really coming into fruition for brands.
Dfs have also been embracing other technologies including neural linguistics to analyse the performance of telephone interactions, in-store location beacon technology, as well as AI-assisted software to enhance learning and recruitment activity all in a bid to drive their omnichannel experience.
Renowned not just for their meatballs, IKEA is at the forefront of innovative thinking in the industry. Back in 2013, they launched the first version of their ‘IKEAPlace’ a catalogue app that allowed users to see a preview of what items would look like in their homes using augmented reality. Fast-forward to 2019, the use of AR has streamlined the purchasing journey for IKEA customers as they can move from viewing items in their home to purchasing products in a few easy steps.
IKEA’s experience doesn’t just end there, they offer customers a variety of tools to help with planning the design of their homes from their wardrobe planning tool to the kitchen designer, users are able to access all of this online before then collecting their item or in-store at one of the designated design areas.
Even in-store IKEA use technology to join-up the customer experience; allowing users can scan items as they walk around the store using their app to determine if that item is in stock and then allowing them to add them to their basket before then telling them exactly where to go to collect their items.
Crate & Barrel
This US-based company is hitting the nail on the head when it comes to omnichannel retailing.
In-store they offer shoppers ‘Mobile Totes’ which is essentially a tablet shopping bag that allows users to scan items they like as they walk the length of their stores. Each scan gives shoppers the ability to read reviews, check stock and read more about the item. Customers can then choose to either email themselves their shopping list or check-out in-store where a member of staff will gather their chosen items for them.
If the customer chooses to email themselves their shopping list, Crate & Barrel are then able to retarget the customer with ads featuring the products added to their list and the brand even reported a 10% rise in sales within 2 months of releasing ‘Mobile Totes’ in one of their stores!
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