The Omnichannel Shopper: Anytime, Anyplace, AnywhereDecember 23, 2010 By Carsten Thoma
A new breed of shopper is emerging. Informed, empowered and always connected, this ultrasophisticated consumer demands real choice when it comes to selecting and purchasing goods. Unlike traditional multichannel shoppers, this consumer uses all channels — store, catalog, call center, web and mobile — simultaneously. Enter the omnichannel shopper.
According to recent research by IDC Retail Insights, the omnichannel shopper is the gold standard consumer. While the multichannel shopper will spend, on average, 15 percent to 30 percent more than someone using just one channel, omnichannel shoppers outspend multichannel shoppers by over 20 percent. What’s more, multichannel shoppers exhibit strong loyalty and are more likely to influence others to endorse a retailer.
Taking into account that store sales influenced by online customer research are up to four times higher than total e-commerce sales, the implications for retailers are clear: Failure to deliver the complete package in terms of a unified multichannel buying experience puts overall sales and customer allegiance at risk.
To gain sales from this segment of omnichannel shoppers, protect yourself against falling into the trap of focusing on one channel alone or becoming locked into a channel-specific solution. Instead, take a unified and converged channel approach that supports seamless processes to deliver consistent information and marketing communications across all sales channels.
According to the IDC report, Unified Retailing — Breaking Multichannel Barriers, mobile adds an important twist to the mix. With consumers now able to do price comparisons and access product reviews in real-time while on the move, mobile commerce is proving to be a key enabler in the unified retail consumer experience. As a result, retailers now need to cater to this additional channel to ensure customers and prospects buy through their desired brand, channel or outlet.
When it comes to delivering a truly positive "commerce anywhere" customer experience, today’s retailers need to be able to flow content and context across all channels with ease and consistency. Retailers also need to provide a complete package of pricing and product information in real-time and across every channel. Achieving this depends on having the right product content layer and multichannel commerce application in place.
The emergence of the omnichannel shopper demonstrates why multichannel retailing is evolving. As consumers become increasingly channel agnostic, retailers need to ensure content seamlessly follows consumers on their cross-channel journey — providing the right information and incentives to maximize the purchase decision-making process at each and every point.