Getting ready for 2020? While you’re building your retail strategy for the new year, keep in mind how your customers’ expectations and needs have evolved. Omnichannel retail isn’t just a trend anymore; it’s a baseline expectation for how consumers shop.
Whether you’re launching your online store for the first time or you’re an old hat at eCommerce, you’ll want to pay attention to your omnichannel brand impact over the next 12 months.
We’ve put together a quick guide to the ways you grow your business with omnichannel retail in 2020. Ready to read on and sell better than ever?
Going omnichannel in 2020
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Integrate your eCommerce site with your Retail POS system
If you haven’t taken the leap yet, get started selling online in 2020. Your customers expect you to be fully omnichannel.
Going online, though, isn’t always easy—if you haven’t opened your eCommerce store yet, there is a good chance it’s because you’re still struggling with how to overcome the hurdles. Building a site, finding hosting and importing all your products…it can seem like a lot of work, but it’s not work you can stand to put off for much longer.
Luckily, going online doesn’t have to mean dedicating countless hours to getting things ready. Look close to home—your point of sale. The right omnichannel POS will be able to integrate with your online shop, making it much simpler to manage inventory, sales and profits.
Say, for example, your home goods store receives a new shipment of shelves. If your eCommerce store is managed by the same POS that manages your in-store inventory, adding your new stock to your online shop should be as easy as receiving the items and adding them to your inventory. Whether a shelf sells online or in-store, the stock level will update automatically.
By integrating your shops together, you cut down on the time and effort needed to sell online, opening up a new source of revenue for you and a new source of shopping convenience for your customers.
Set up your social presence
Once you’ve got your online shop up and going, don’t just rely on Google and word-of-mouth—start promoting yourself on social media. Facebook and Instagram are particularly important social channels for promoting your retail business.
Start planning a social media posting schedule. Don’t neglect ephemeral content—daily stories—while you’re planning; a study by Facebook found that 62% of respondents became more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in story posts.
Pro tip: Segment your posting schedule by promotional posts, user-generated content and lifestyle content. A beauty supply store could build a posting schedule around product features, customer reviews and seasonal makeup looks and tips, for example. This mixture of content showcases their products and their social proof, while the lifestyle content has a broad application beyond their brand that encourages potential customers to follow and, eventually, shop.
If your social media strategy is strong, you’ll be catching the eyes of potential customers—how can you ensure they act and shop with you? By reducing the work needed for them to start shopping in the first place. For an extra omnichannel touch, set up shoppable posts on Instagram. Shoppable posts are exactly what they sound like—posts featuring your products that users can shop your products from. Also consider adding a shop to your Facebook page.
Expanding omnichannel retail in 2020
Optimize the omnichannel journey
Just how omnichannel are you? If you’ve already been selling online, look to ways you can close the gaps.
If you haven’t already, enable buy online, pick up in-store shipping options. Current shopping trends point to 10% of all sales being fulfilled by click and collect methods by 2025, so 2020 is a great time to get started on accommodating online-to-offline shoppers in your store.
Allowing customers to reserve items to pick up in store turns online shoppers into omnichannel ones. Customers who shop with you on multiple channels are, on average, more profitable than single channel customers, so be sure your in-store experience is up to snuff. Consider dedicating at least part of your store to experiential retail; a toy store could convert part of the floor into a dedicated playtesting area and inform online shoppers that they can try before they buy if they finish their journey in-store.
For customers who are too far away to visit you in-store, expand your shipping options. Customers expect expedited shipping that doesn’t break the bank. If you’re not ready to start offering free shipping all the time, consider promoting free shipping during promotional sales online.
Create a tangible connection between your channels
Omnichannel doesn’t just mean optimizing your site—how connected is your store? In 2020, start building an in-store experience that seamlessly flows into your eCommerce operations. Research by the National Retail Federation points to customers feeling frustrated by friction in the buying journey, with the very beginning of the journey being a particular point of pain. Customers would like the research aspect of the journey to be easier in particular—and that opens up room for you to meet their needs in-store.
Invest in technology that will allow customers to browse online while in-store. You could do this by setting up kiosks with tablets loaded with your store’s website. When customers have a question about your products, they’ll have the choice of approaching a sales associate or researching product information on their own—make sure your site is well-designed and informative!
Pro tip: If your customers can create wish lists when shopping with you online, your new kiosks can help connect the online and offline shopping journey. Encourage your customers to add items to their wish lists in-store, and set up reminder emails about wish list items through a loyalty program integrated into your POS.
However you decide to grow in 2020, keep omnichannel experiences in mind. If you make a change in-store, take a minute to think about how that change might impact your eCommerce site, and vice versa. Ultimately, selling even better next year means listening to the customer and meeting them where they are. Where are you in your omnichannel journey?