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In 2019, omnichannel IS the new normal for retailing. Is your retail management solution efficiently integrating your channels to give your customers the best experiences regardless of how they shop — and providing your business with the best technology ROI?
Effective omnichannel retailing requires creating seamless shopping experiences for your customers, whether in a brick-and-mortar store, shopping on a PC, buying through a smartphone app, or through other channels. Think of your selling channels as multiple roads that lead to the same destination – money in your pocket. But just as there are consistent road signs helping travelers reach their destinations, your omnichannel platforms must have consistent design, branding, and strategy to help guide your customers to your business to make their purchases.
In 2019, no one thinks of omnichannel retailing as a trend. It is how retailers are remaining competitive in the marketplace. But there are trends within the omnichannel model that can help you optimize revenues to stay on top. Your business strategy should include these omnichannel retail trends in 2019:
Omnichannel retail trends in 2019 all come back to customer convenience. So if it’s more convenient to use multiple channels for a single purchase, that’s the path shoppers will take. According to Google, about 85% of online shoppers start a purchase on one device and finish on another. Your customers may spend their lunch break shopping your online store from their mobile device, and then complete checkout at home on their desktop or in a brick-and-mortar store. If your retail management system isn’t set up to accommodate these types of shopping experiences, you could risk losing sales from omnichannel customers.
In addition to making sure shoppers’ information transfers across devices, it’s also important to make sure your content displays well on all device types. Your web pages should be designed responsively to work smoothly no matter if accessed on a desktop, phone, TV, or tablet. Lastly, continuously monitoring your website’s data to analyze your shoppers’ device interactions will help you plan for ongoing improvements and specific device-targeted strategies.
Leveraging consumer technology is one of the most important omnichannel retail trends in 2019. Mobile technology in particular has enabled retailers to communicate with customers in ways that were once unheard of. Retailers can now push offers, using beacon technology, to consumer smartphones when they are near your store’s physical location or even when they’re shopping in a particular aisle. It’s also easier than ever to use texting as a vehicle to distribute promotions to loyal customers — or reconnect with those who haven’t visited in a while.
Offers and promotions delivered online are also more personalized, as brands begin to collect more data on individual consumers. Retargeting and personalized messaging are two growing marketing techniques used to enhance the omnichannel buyer’s journey. As technology advances, the ways in which retailers interact with customers will continue to evolve, and those retailers who have the tools in place to accommodate the modern buyer will gain a competitive edge.
Even though keeping the doors of a physical location open 24/7 is not possible for many businesses, it is feasible to offer 24/7 online shopping, ordering, and customer service. When aligning your retail strategy with omnichannel retail trends in 2019, consider enhancing customer service with 24/7 accessibility. Google reports that searches for “24/7 customer service” have grown over 400% in the past 4 years. Use this as an opportunity to stand out from your competitors and show your customers that they’re important to you at any hour of the day.
Shopping across many different platforms and devices has its perks, but it also can bring more questions from your customers. Ensure that you have an outstanding in-person, email, and online customer service program for your shoppers. You don’t want to offer amazing customer service in your store but lousy or nonexistent customer service online. This could create mixed reviews about your business, which can be harmful to your brand image.
If you haven’t already done so, set up a separate customer service email. Also, look into implementing a chatbot on your website that’s always available to answer customer questions when they’re browsing online. In a recent Oracle study, 80% of business owners said that they use, or are planning to use chatbots on their website by 2020. Improving customer service across all channels will help create exceptional customer experiences that will keep shoppers coming back.
When looking at omnichannel retail trends for 2019, an innovative checkout process is high on the list. Retailers are realizing how crucial it is to deliver fast and efficient online and in-store checkout processes for their customers.
To improve the in-store experience, retailers are adopting the latest point of sale technology. Mobile point of sale, in particular is continuing to gain traction in retail businesses because of its line-busting capabilities. Arming your employees with mobile POS systems allows them to process shopper transactions from anywhere in the store, quickly and easily.
Checkout process improvements shouldn’t stop there. Retailers also need to update the checkout processes on digital channels. To boost online and mobile experiences, focus on simplicity. One-page checkout forms that include autofill fields and don’t force account registration have been seeing the greatest user satisfaction. Additionally, providing various payment options at checkout, such as PayPal and Apple Pay, will give your customers the convenience of using their preferred method of payment and make shopping easier than ever before.
Providing your customers with the connected shopping experiences they expect is key to mastering omnichannel retail trends in 2019. With expectations rising, retailers need to adjust their order fulfillment strategies to keep up with these demands. Options such as buy online pick up in store, ship-from-store, and two-day shipping are all growing trends taking over the retail industry. It’s important to provide easy returns on any channel as well.
To maximize fulfillment and return options, it’s vital to have a strong inventory system. It’s necessary for your inventory management system to provide real-time updates across all channels, because the last thing you want is for a customer to make an online purchase and then not have the inventory in stock to ship it. Additionally, real-time inventory management will help you better analyze selling trends to forecast accordingly. It will also allow you to stock up on your best selling products while easily pinpointing discrepancies in stock, helping to keep shrinkage under control.
Are You Ready for the New Year?
Is your business on target to deliver on omnichannel retail trends in 2019? This may seem a daunting task, particularly for small and-medium-sized businesses in niche markets. But integrating your selling channels and providing the best customer experiences are possible—with the right software. TallySoft’s POS and retail management software is a complete and robust system at an affordable price that has been proven to help grow business and the customer experience. Contact TallySoft and discover how to master the art of selling in 2019 and beyond!
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