Omnichannel: closer than you think
Retail is undergoing a transformation. The growth of in-store sales is slowing worldwide, while e-commerce sales continue to soar, expected to reach US$632 billion in 2020. But it would be wildly premature to call this the end of the brick-and-mortar store. A look at the activity of numerous online pure-plays tells a different story, with a number of them developing physical presences.
But why? The store still plays a crucial role in the buyer journey; shoppers are typically seeking an experience where they can establish a strong emotional connection to the products and services on offer, via a full sensory experience – something that’s still impossible to deliver in the online space. Smart businesses are adopting a hybrid model that incorporates the best of both worlds – becoming a “phygital”business in the process.
Let’s get phygital
The “phygital” concept is relatively new in Australia. Online-based retailers here have typically experimented with the format via pop-up stores, rather than establishing permanent storefronts. But it’s a well-established practice in the US, with major players like Amazon already weighing in.
The primary advantage that these phygital businesses have is that they are free of legacy systems. They’re able to start from scratch, and accordingly build their in-store experience around the expectations of today’s shopper. When executed properly, the result is frictionless, omnichannel commerce – redefining what the shopping experience should be in the process.
So what about existing physical retailers? No-one wants to be left behind, but the journey to omnichannel can appear daunting – consolidating fulfilment; integrating in-store POS systems to online commerce platforms for CRM, order management, and stock management.
But the process doesn’t have to happen overnight. Introducing elements such as “buy online, collect in-store”, endless aisles and in-store/in-app purchases can be introduced gradually. This allows merchants to build into an omnichannel business over time.
And the secret glue holding these processes together is actually payments. With omnichannel payments, businesses can remove friction from the buying process, letting the shopper browse, and buy, and collect, as it suits them. In the background, all payments feed into a single system, so you can track performance and drive optimisations at both a strategic and granular level. Additionally, businesses can also leverage omnichannel data to build a unified, unique identifier for each shopper – both in-store and online, and track user behaviour across multiple channels
Although a full omnichannel operation might still be some way off, the right payments partner can help you start reaping the benefits of omnichannel now.
Click HERE For more information on how you can delight your customers with a payment solution that works best for them.
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