Shopping online is here to stay, whether you like it or not. A decade ago, shopping online meant you would sit on your computer at home, browse a few pages of the catalog of your favorite retailer and buy if something if something piqued your interest. Then came search, for those select few who know exactly what they are looking for to buy. Today, the online shopping behavior has evolved considerably, including the choice of purchasing venues (sellers), price, mediums (channels), payment options and the whole shopping experience overall.
From a shopper’s experience, it is great to have multiple avenues to shop, compare service and price before finally making a purchase. But the race to get the next great shopping deal has put retailers to adapt (or die) to an evolving retail marketing landscape. Retailers are scrambling to offer new commerce solutions to its customers, trying to hamper down the massive problems that rise in the aftermath of purchasing. Enter omni-channel commerce.
What is omni-channel commerce? Consider this – you are walking in your favorite mall and chance upon a pretty little black dress in a new store. You enter the store, look at the dress and while you’re at it, a few other ones too. You really like the store. You come back home, go to their website, read reviews about a few dresses that you liked and even registered to the site and added an item to the cart. Oh shoot, you’re late for that ball game.
You drop off and drive to the game where the line is long. So fire up your iPhone and go to the site, pick back up on your shopping and buy that beautiful black dress. But you need it tomorrow. You call the customer service, who didn’t ask a million questions but refreshingly, picked up your phone number and greeted you by your first name. Not just that, as soon as you mentioned your request to change the delivery to ship-to-home to in-store-pick up, they instantly told you the order # and after confirming, changed the delivery. There was a small upcharge, but since you were such a nice customer, they even gift wrapped it for free! Now, that’s omni-channel commerce.
And behind every smooth customer experience, lies a team of thinkers, strategists, technologists and elves that work tirelessly, jumping through a various hoops, fighting the odds and bending technology to do amazing things every day. Just to make shopping delightful, easy, safe and most importantly, work for you when you most need it.
This pursuit of offering better service to their customers has been a goal for every retailer, big, medium or small. Sujai Shriram is an E-commerce and Digital Marketing expert for the company Crossview Inc., that works with Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies to achieve this milestone of omni-channel presence within a customer’s shopping experience.