Last week we took part in a Twitter discussion on omnichannel retailing. We felt it would be good to share with you some of the highlights. The debate was organised by Ebay, Paypal and Retail week. With omnichannel being such a prevalent topic at the moment, the discussion attracted lots of interactions and raised lots of interesting points.
@LauraH_RW from Retail Week magazine kicked off the debate by asking: What does omnichannel mean to today’s consumer?
We feel it provides today’s consumer with multiple avenues to support their shopping habits, whilst at the same time providing them with a consistent experience across all channels. It’s all about enabling the customer to shop the brand, not just the channel. There was a general agreement that it was about enabling customers to pay and shop however and whenever customers wanted. The views were that it is about making the most of online, embracing and adapting to new technologies. @eBayCorp_UK added, customers are in the driving seat now more than ever, shopping in new ways that fit into their busy lives.
The conversation then moved to the importance of a seamless journey, again drawing a general conclusion that this was a crucial element of any omnichannel journey. It is about gaining and retaining customer loyalty, through a personalised and smooth transition from product purchase to product delivery. A seamless experience across all channels is no longer what customers want, but it is what they expect of the omnichannel journey. It encourages brand loyalty and a positive experience regardless of channel. @eCommera added that the customer sees the experience despite the channel as black or white. Customers simply want and expect a constant retail experience through whatever channel is most convenient for them at the time.
@gemmagoldfingle from Retail Week Magazine asked: Does shopping behaviour differ in the omnichannel shopper?
Omnichannel consumers are being influenced in their shopping habits – new technology is making it easier for them to spend. Customers simply reach the same outcome via a different mix of channels. @eBayCorp_UK added, customers don’t think in channels, they don’t see themselves as omnichannel shoppers – just shoppers. Different customers have different demands, but delivering reliability is absolutely key.
@LauraH_RW: Does an omnichannel offering mean in store sales are being cannibalised?
We felt that this was not the case, shoppers aren’t abandoning the high street they regard the high street as complementary to online shopping.
@LauraH_RW: What motivates ‘Super Shoppers’?
Strong motivation for ‘super shoppers’ is the use of a combination of channels, helping deliver a consistent experience across the brand, providing multiple avenues to support shopping habits. The benefits of having a broad online presence was the next issue raised, and we remarked that a combination of channels and containing a consistent experience across the brand was definitely a core benefit. Also a broad presence across multiple channels can help ensure support for higher spending consumers and ‘super shoppers’, giving consumers a wider view of products and providing access to more niche items.
@LauraH_RW: How are customers behaving before they enter a store?
We acknowledged that customers are now definitely doing their research, and using stores for ‘show-rooming’. Statistics in Drapers back this up saying that 31% of shoppers visit the store, but equally consumers also use online as a virtual showroom, with 34% researching online before purchasing in store. @OmnicoGroup agreed with this adding, on the go research is now engrained.
@gemmagoldfingle: Retailers would agree that stores, online and mobile form their current omnichannel strategy – what’s next?
@OmnicoGroup talked about Google Glass in terms of the next strategy, noting its importance for retailer and consumer. @PayPalUK mentioned fingerprint scanning, providing the perfect mix of security and convenience. We felt however that mobile and tablet technology still hasn’t been explored enough, especially not when used in store.
We then asked: Is omnichannel shopping linked to the value of goods?
We commented that 63% of consumers use multiple channels when the value is +£100, this statistic was from research conducted by @Deloitte. @EbayCorp_UK commented on this saying the omnichannel effect is more prevalent at higher price points, but super shoppers seem to use all channels at any price point. However research in Drapers notes that when purchasing a considered item people refer to 9 reference points, over 7 days covering 5 devices, constituting a non-impulse buy.
@Adam_Yeoman: What does the perfect supply chain look like?
We responded that it has the ability to fulfil multiple channels from a single stock pool, this is crucial for seamless omnichannel retailing. @eBayCorp_UK agreed with this statement saying their research showed that its best when there is a single view of customer & goods, creating a seamless experience, agile channel-agnostic supply chain.
‘Final thoughts’ concluded the debate, eBayCorp_UK said, the omni effect is here to stay, customers are in the driving seat, some will seize the opportunity – will it be you?
We concluded recognising that a seamless experience across all channels enables the consumer to shop the brand not just the channel.
Before the debates conclusion @PayPalUK said, it’s exciting times for retailers and consumers, following this with a bold statement;
“We know the future is mobile, we predict by 2016 you won’t take your wallet out shopping.”
The omnichannel purchase journey has become complex as a result of the wider ranges of channels through which consumers are shopping. Mobile payments would help to make purchasing goods an easier experience, helping to further engage consumers at every stage of their shopping journeys.