One of the operative words for marketing in 2014 is "omnichannel." In retailing, it means enabling a customer to utilize any sales channel to make a purchase. For example, if a retailer is really an omnichannel marketer, then a customer should be able to evaluate products and order them in that retailer's physical store or online store, in-person or via any device (computer, tablet, or smartphone). All ordering systems should look similar, be integrated, and recognize the customer.
Just as important, the customer would have a seamless experience: She would be able to order merchandise online and pick it up at a store location if desired, return it through any sales channel, get a credit that would apply across any channel, and so on.
According to a new study by IBM, this is what omnichannel shoppers want the most (in order of priority):
• Price consistency across shopping channels
• Ability to ship items that are out of stock in the store directly to their home
• Option o track the status of an order
• Consistent product assortment across channels, and
• Ability to return online purchases in the store.
Not surprisingly, the study of 30,000 global consumers found that shoppers are increasingly using the Internet to shop instead of visiting stores. In-store shopping fell from 84 percent to 72 percent of shoppers surveyed.
Whatever you sell, consider the omnichannel marketing trend and be sure you are offering your customers a shopping experience that looks, feels, and acts the same across all channels.