As technology marches forward, retail is becoming a lot like modern cars: you almost need an engineering and computer science degree when looking under the hood. Today’s busy retail associates in both sale and marketing can’t just focus on the in-store experience of their customers, nor can they solely focus on the ecommerce side of things.
Today, it’s all about becoming a fully omnichannel brand.
Omnichannel Brands Win
Omnichannel retail refers to this hybrid model of how a brand interacts and caters to their customers. No matter where your customers are, be it on a laptop, a phone, in-store, or just on your store’s website; omnichannel means your brand is delivering a unified experience to provide a personalized customer journey.
Why go to the trouble? Results. According to a survey by Aspect Software, businesses that engage in omnichannel retail strategies see a 91% higher customer retention rate (year-over-year) compared to businesses that don’t. And considering how crucial the Customer Lifetime Value is to the lifeblood of any business, that’s a metric that businesses cannot afford to ignore.
While the pandemic forced many traditional brick & mortar brands to innovate and engage more on the digital side, many businesses have reaped the benefits of this hybrid approach and plan to keep omnichannel retail services such as curbside pickup and Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS).
So now that your brand has decided to embrace omnichannel retail as well, how can you shore up your digital strategy to complement your existing in-store strategies? Let’s dive in.
1. CRM Heaven - Don’t Miss Out on Data
Your customers may be doing more shopping from the comfort of their home (or phone) these days, but that just means there is amazing customer data and insights to collect as they browse your online channels. Whether they are clicking on your website, or visiting your Instagram, or just Googling your brand’s name, all this data can (and should) be captured by your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform.
Today’s top CRMs can track customer data both online and in-store (ie. what they buy at checkout) and merge that data into a singular profile of that specific shopper. Of course, all of your platforms have to work together well for this to happen. This is why a great retail digital strategy starts with choosing the right combination of software to make your data collection, and usage, simple and powerful.
For example, Endear’s CRM integrates with ecommerce platforms such as Shopify, as well as Point-of-Sale (POS) systems like Heartland. So whether a customer is clicking around in your Shopify store, or checking out in-store through the Heartland system, all that data is being captured, categorized, and segmented in Endear.
You can’t have a great digital strategy without the right data, so make sure your business doesn’t overlook this important initial step.
2. Use that Data - Segment & Personalize
With insightful customer data, it makes it that much easier to personalize your brand’s digital marketing communications that have a much higher ROI than general mass emails. In fact, an Experian Marketing study found that personalized emails generated six times higher transaction rates than general emails.
While giant corporations have been using customer data to personalize their efforts for decades, today’s software can help much smaller brands do the same. Endear’s CRM has helped nearly a thousand SMBs increase their email conversions 26X. One feature that helps return such effective results is curated LookBooks:
Lookbooks that are embedded in email or texts hit all the best parts of digital marketing. Visual? Check. Unique? Check. Personal? That’s where the CRM data comes in. By leveraging the browsing history of your customers, your business can curate the lookbook with exactly what they might have been searching for.
For example, if customer Ella has been recently browsing your selection of spring dresses, your team can send a lookbook of spring dresses, in her size and prefered color-scheme, right to her SMS app. This sort of personalized engagement leads to sales, and is a powerful retail digital strategy to incorporate into your overall plan.
3. Get Real - Bring Customers Inside
Some brands may lament that their entire customer base seems to be moving more and more online-only, but that’s really not the case. Studies show that nearly half of all shoppers say they prefer to shop-in person at a physical store.
The desire is there! It’s just that physical locations have to provide more of a reason to get people inside. Because of the strength of segmentation, brands can achieve this with the right “cross-promotion” that drives real-life engagement.
For example, we mentioned BOPIS earlier in this article, which is a desirable way for customers to shop. They can browse from the comfort of home, and still get the immediate satisfaction of getting their products right away by heading into a retail location. Of course, while they’re in store, it’s a great opportunity to upsell to them.
Another method is to eventize the in-store shopping experience that offers your customers something that they can’t easily get online. Bonobos was known as a large, ecommerce-centric brand for men’s apparel. Yet in 2012, they expanded into opening physical stores with a clear strategy: to act as showrooms where people can do the one thing that they can’t online: actually try on the clothes. This succeeded for Bonobos, with a greater portion of new customers coming through their retail locations than their online presence.
Check your CRM to see which customers shop mostly online and craft a promotion or an event that would entice them into your store. And also, see which customers are usually in-store shoppers and craft an online-only promo for them. By “cross-promoting” online to in-store and vice versa, you can increase the CLV of your entire client base with the right digital strategy.
Check out some more ideas of increasing foot traffic to your stores.
4. “Virtual” Reality - In-Store Digitisation
So your customers are inside your store now. Is your retail digital strategy over?
Not in the least! Because it all comes down to that one special device in the hand of every single shopper in your store: the smartphone. As long as your customer is wielding that piece of technology, it’s just another avenue to work your digital magic on them as they shop.
A survey by Airship shows a useful chart of how shoppers are using their smartphones while they are inside of a store:
Looking at this chart, how is your brand catering to every one of these in-phone, in-store activities? Are your user reviews easy to find and mostly positive? Is signing up for a loyalty program mobile-friendly?
A great example of a digital strategy in-store is to put up QR codes that provide more details on each product (ie. linking to each product page). Not only can this help customers shop smarter, but every QR code can be tracked by your software giving you a snapshot of what your most popular in-store items may be, along with a host of other data to collect.
Digitizing the in-store experience is a win for your customers, and a win for your data gathering which continues to improve your overall omnichannel retail strategy.