Exponential growth in the online retail sector has monopolised retailer focus, especially since Amazon promised to obliterate competition upon entering Australia. However, brick-and-mortar retail is far from collapsing. The ultimate growth opportunity awaits those retailers who create the best omni-channel shopping experience.
It’s important to remember that 70% of shoppers spend more in a retailer's physical store than on their website. Furthermore, 69% are more likely to make a recommendation after a good in-store experience than they are a positive online experience. These benefits of brick-and-mortar retail aren’t likely to fade. Thus, maximizing them is strategically important.
Create a Supreme Omni-Channel Shopping Experience
So, how can retailers with both an in-store and online presence distinguish themselves among the growing number of online-only retailers such as Amazon, et al.? Evidence reveals the best way is through a supreme omni-channel solution. Customers want it; 67% find current online and on-site shopping experiences enormously detached, and 72% can’t associate a retailer’s in-store brand with their corresponding website without seeing the logo. From a branding perspective, this is disastrous. Here’s how retailers can mend that disconnect:
Step 1. Use Brick-and-Mortar Retail Expertise to Improve Customers’ Online Experience
As I mentioned in a previous article, 50% of online shoppers say they could be better engaged. This neglect of online customer engagement has created a $695 million market gap in the Australian online retail sector alone. One reason the gap exists is that 46% of consumers still compare online shopping to on-site shopping, and 55% of Australians find the brick-and-mortar shopping experience far superior.
Step 2. Use Online Data to Improve the Brick-and-Mortar Experience
When we talk about the future of retail, one paradigmatic tactic is employing online customer data to improve in-person interactions. For example, providing the in-store sales associate with the customer’s online shopping history. However, the use of e-commerce data to improve in-store shoppers’ experience is largely overlooked, though it’s an extremely useful tool.
How do we best use e-commerce data to improve on-site shopping? One way is to use the data to optimise store layouts, in-store promotions, and features. These tactics enable shoppers to easily associate a brick-and-mortar store with its website. This maintains optimal customer satisfaction when they transition between shopping online and in-store, the key for merchants to become successful omni-channel retailers.
Bringing it Together: Convert Browsing into Sales
We know 85% of shoppers do browse online without a specific item in mind or intent to buy, at least slightly often. Browser-consumers present a twofold opportunity. Strategy step number one improves shoppers’ online conversion rate. Strategy step number two brings more shoppers back into the store to buy, the benefits of which are clear. This outcome is important, as 43% of shoppers have made an in-store purchase after browsing online.
The Result: Your Share of a $695 million Market Gap
As I’ve mentioned before, accessing the $695 million untapped market that currently exists in Australian online retail will be vital to surviving the Amazon invasion. Improving the omni-channel retail experience is a significant way retailers can break into this enormous market opportunity.
I’ll be posting more insights about the paradigm shift toward a holistic shopping experience emerging in the e-commerce landscape, which I’ve talked about in previous articles entitled, “$695 million Market Gap Found in Australian Retail Industry” (link) and “58% of Online Shoppers Want Less ‘Promotional Noise’” (link).
If you’d like to chat about it or contribute to the ongoing conversation, please feel free to connect with me.
Sources: 1. The 360 Mall Omni-Channel Shopping Survey August 2017 (600 Australian online shoppers). 2. The 360 Mall Online Shopping Survey February 2016 (<5% margin of error). 3. The 360 Mall Online Shopping Behaviour Survey May 2017 (1000 Australian online shoppers). 4. The 360 Mall Online Shopping Research November 2016 (825 Australian 18-34yr old online shoppers, 6% margin of error).