The way we buy products today is entirely different than 20 years ago. At that time, we had no option but to visit a shopping mall and look for stuff till our time and patience ran out. Even after that, we had to settle on whatever options were available. Even brands didn’t have much data and resources to personalize the shopping experience. The closest they could come to personalization was their sales representative asking: “Sir/Ma’am, how can I help you?”
However, today the scenario is entirely different. Customers have thousands of options and the luxury of shopping online. Brands also have enough data to personalize shopping and mediums through which they can remain active across multiple channels. Omnichannel retail is the new norm, and if a brand wants to win customers and maximize its revenue – it must keep track of the latest omnichannel retail trends.
What is Omnichannel Retail?
Omnichannel retail provides customers with a seamless and integrated shopping experience across all channels and touchpoints. Retailers use it to connect with customers through multiple channels, including physical stores, online platforms, mobile apps, social media, and more.
Omnichannel retail is closely retailed to multichannel retail. However, the difference between both is that while omnichannel retail offers a seamless and consistent experience across all channels, the experience may differ from channel to channel in multichannel retail.
Let’s understand the Omnichannel Vs Multichannel Retailing difference with the help of an example:
Suppose you’re a fashion retailer offering products through physical stores, an e-commerce website, and a mobile app. In a multichannel retail environment, customers can purchase the same products from you through any of these channels, but the experience will differ depending on which channel they use. For example, a product may be less expensive on a website than in the physical store, or certain items may not be available depending on the channel.
On the other hand, the consumer experience and the price of products will remain the same no matter which channel the customer purchases the product. A customer can also shop for the product across the channels. For example, they can browse clothes on the retailer’s website, add some items to their online shopping cart, and then visit a physical store to try them. When they arrive at the store, the items they added to their cart online are already waiting for them to try on. The store associates can also access their online shopping history and preferences to provide personalized recommendations.
11 Omnichannel retailing trends that will redefine Online shopping in 2023
1. Social Commerce
Social commerce is quickly catching up with the world, and this year it will exceed $30 billion in sales, making up 20% of global retail eCommerce sales. Especially Gen Z buyers active on TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram love social commerce because of its convenience.
If you’re an online store looking to maximize your eCommerce sales, you shouldn’t miss being active on social networking platforms. It can double or triple your revenue by helping you sell more products.
While Metaverse is still in its initial stage, many brands and individuals have already started taking a plunge into it for selling their products and services. Last year, the world witnessed the first Metaverse Fashion Week in which Tommy Hilfiger and Dolce & Gabbana were prime attractions. Even Zara announced its third collaboration with the Zepeto Metaverse platform.
Also, according to Gartner, 26% of people will spend at least one house a day in Metaverse for work, shopping, or entertainment by 2026. Hence, this is the right time to hop into Metaverse. This omnichannel retailing trend can open many new avenues for you.
3. Thinking beyond a Great Customer Experience
Over the years, brands have emphasized offering customers a remarkable experience that would make them return for more. But now the time has changed, and you also must change with it. Post the pandemic, customers don’t just want excellent service from brands. They also want them to move, inspire, and entertain them. So, the focus should be on offering a great shopping experience and making it as frictionless, remarkable, and memorable as possible.
4. Personalization is the Key
According to Twilio, 60% of consumers are more likely to become repeat buyers after a personalized shopping experience. Hence, you should not miss on the personalization front and tailor your shopping experiences based on each buyer’s needs.
Amazon leverages personalization like a pro by emailing personalized recommendations based on the consumer’s shopping history. Their website shows products that match each buyer’s style, budget, and preferences. You can also borrow a trick or two from their book.
5. Retailers are Expanding on Channels
According to a survey, 81% of retailers plan to sell on more channels in the next 12 months. This way, they want to seize every opportunity to contact buyers and sell their products. It is non-negotiable for them to refrain from being active on new channels, as online sales bring about 43% of their revenue.
Hence, more than being active on 3-4 available channels is needed to survive the cut-throat competition and establish a genuine omnichannel retailing ecosystem to maximize your sales. You must be willing to expand on new channels as well.
6. Preparing for Uncertainty
The COVID pandemic was a hard lesson for everyone. It showed us that anything could happen at any time, and it’s best to prepare yourself for each situation.
Hence, most retailers are taking measures to prepare for difficult times. Some diversify their products and services to ensure they don’t rely on one market or customer base. Some establish a crisis management plan outlining how to respond to unexpected events. Some retailers also invest in technology to streamline operations, improve efficiency, and reduce costs.
Lesson: You must also prepare yourself for every uncertain situation to stay afloat in any uncertainty or disaster that hits.
7. Use of automation
A few years ago, customers preferred personalized experiences where they could interact with the sales assistant and fellow buyers while buying products. However, these days, consumers want retailers to use automation instead of staff in some areas as it helps them shop faster.
Automation also helps retailers better manage their inventory and offer consumers a great experience. For example, a consumer can know whether an item is in stock or not without having to ask a member of your team. Even your staff doesn’t have to leave their task midway and look for the item manually.
You must invest in automation if you also want to offer your customers a smooth experience across multiple channels. It would help you become much more productive.
8. Customers Want to Hear from Brands
86% of customers want to hear from retailers they frequently buy from. 60% of consumers would feel delighted if they got a personalized email from the brand. Also, 32% of consumers would prefer to hear on Facebook, 17% on Instagram, and 10% on TikTok. Hence, you must regularly contact your consumers and engage them through emails, social media posts, and other personalized communication.
9. Value-driven Purchasing
With abundant information available at their fingertips, consumers (especially Gen Z) base their decisions to buy a product on how their values align with the brand’s values. They don’t just care about your product but also about what your company cares about. Hence, it’s essential to incorporate your brand values into your messaging. It can help you connect with consumers and build a loyal customer base.
10. Contactless Payment
Amidst the cut-throat competition to convert buyers into loyal consumers, retailers don’t want to miss out on any chance. Hence, they offer diversified contactless payment options like Apple Pay, Google Pay, API payments, etc. According to a MasterCard Study, 79% of consumers worldwide use touch-free payment.
You must also offer contactless payments if you want to maximize your sales. They would be willing to buy from you if they can seamlessly complete the purchase.
11. Appointment Shopping
Appointment shopping is another rising omnichannel retailing trend in which customers can set an appointment and show up at the selected time to shop in-store. It is an efficient strategy, as 34% of consumers were interested in it last year. Also, the number of installs for appointment booking apps shot up by 23% worldwide.
Appointment shopping is amassing popularity because it lets consumers be assured about the quality of the products before buying them. They’re also a plus point for retailers like you who can use the appointment to offer a personalized shopping experience.
Omnichannel retailing is the key to success in the eCommerce landscape. If you do it wisely, you can build a seamless ecosystem where consumers can buy from you seamlessly. All you need is to strategize and keep your eyes open to the latest happenings in the omnichannel landscape. Hopefully, the list of omnichannel trends of 2023 we shared above gave you enough idea of what’s trending in omnichannel retail and how to make the most out of it. Now, it’s time to implement what you learned practically. Best of luck!