The term ‘omnichannel’ has become so ubiquitous that there doesn’t seem to be any real separation between the online and offline channel anymore. Consumers buy online and pick up in store, or buy an in-store item to shipped to their home or shop at the store, having already researched the product online.
In fact, there are very few retailers who can exist without an online presence, and even successful online retailers are opening physical space to build their brand, connect with customers and boost their sales. In general, we all understand this. So, the real question is what are the current opportunities and challenges that the omnichannel model is bringing to retail?
Here are a few takeaways from the ICSC Omnichannel session:
- In a world where consumers can find the same product in many locations, online and offline, experiential retail is key to getting consumers in the door and winning their loyalty.
- Offering pick up in-store is more profitable for retailers, since consumers usually buy more than what they came for. The net spend is approximately 107% of the ticket price, even factoring in returns.
- Webrooming trumps showrooming. Approximately 69% of consumers practice webrooming (where consumers research the products online before coming into the store) while only 46% practice showrooming.
It seems pretty clear that the way we determine value for the retailer has to change given that stores are not merely transaction points, but act as distribution hubs, return centers and showrooms. Traffic counts, while possibly helpful, will never tell the true story when consumers are doing their research online first and making fewer but more productive visits. Perhaps it’s a confluence of several metrics like traffic, geofencing data, social media buzz and NFC/Beacon data that will determine how successful retail stores are.