Capitalize on omnichannel in 2020

January 9, 2020 Sean Minard

Rear view of two women handling merchandise in a fashion apparel showroom.The omnichannel experience in retail is still an open frontier—some businesses are capitalizing on its potential, while others make a tentative approach. And some are avoiding it, unsure how to move forward.

Where does your business fall?

Given current consumer preferences, ignoring an omnichannel strategy could be bad for business. As the new year kicks in, why not resolve to build on your omnichannel efforts? Here are some prompts to guide your planning.

  • Are you building your BOPIS and BORIS muscles?

Buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) and buy online, return in store (BORIS) are cornerstones of omnichannel success. Consumer habits have made them central. Did you know that 67% of shoppers completed BOPIS transactions in the last 6 months? So it’s no surprise that 6 in 10 retailers say BOPIS and BORIS are foremost in their omnichannel plans and investments, according to a Shopgate survey.

If these two behaviors aren’t familiar or you want to learn more, this primer on the Bigcommerce blog could be a useful resource. The ideas below can also strengthen your BOPIS and BORIS capabilities.

  • Do you have a complete picture of your buyers’ behaviors?

This applies to both customer profile data and purchase history, and both in-store and online purchases. With a comprehensive view, you’ll be better informed for making decisions about personalization and targeted offers. 

But this isn’t just about your CRM system. Understanding buyer behavior is also crucial in shaping your customer support efforts. Do you have continuity in your customer support experience in store, via online chat, and over the phone? And are these touchpoints designed to be consultative and delightful, or are they simply aimed at resolving problems?

Peloton does a great job of delighting customers with their omnichannel approach. The brand’s try-before-you-buy showrooms immerse prospective buyers in a unique, energetic experience that helps build community and brand loyalty while closing sales.

  • How synced are your inventory systems?

A strong inventory management system is crucial for success, and it’s not easy to achieve. In fact, 43% of retailers said inventory management is their top challenge. Investing the time and funds to get it right will pay off in your supply-chain coordination and customer experiences. 

This means more than just choosing a good software program. Making your inventory data and delivery processes accessible to sales associates everywhere, for example, is just one priority to consider. The UK fashion retailer Oasis offers a great example: Store employees are armed with iPads to help give customers up-to-date product information on the spot. The tablets also act as cash registers, which can take away friction at checkout. 

  • How coordinated are your marketing messages?

If you employ top-of-funnel prompts to drive customers to stores, do your in-store signs and employees continue those messages? We’ve seen this to be particularly important for retail partners who work with Affirm.

Here’s an example: A shopper may respond to online marketing from your brand that encourages them to prequalify for credit with Affirm. When that shopper walks into one of your stores—armed with spending power based on prequalification amount—do signs or sales tags highlight Affirm and show how they can divide an item’s price into affordable amounts to be paid over time? Do sales associates know enough to ask shoppers about their buying activity with Affirm or guide them on how to use it? Coordinating between online and off-line experiences can result in higher AOV and better conversion rates for your business.

Every brand’s omnichannel journey differs, of course. I hope the ideas in this post help you make progress in 2020!

Interested in getting Affirm in store for your business? Contact letsconnect@affirm.com. 

 

About the Author

Sean Minard

Sean runs Affirm's omnichannel operations team. Since 2018, his team has been responsible for growing our omnichannel business. Before Affirm, Sean co-founded his own company helping part-time workers find work, create flexible schedules and earn more. Previous to that, he led North American Store Operations at Google. If he's not growing omnichannel at Affirm or spending time with his wife and dogs, he's somewhere around the country competing in Spartan Obstacle Course races.

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