The Future of Omnichannel Retailing in India
The Future of Omnichannel Retailing in India

Today, India’s hyper-connected consumers are rapidly entering into an era where they expect brand owners to provide consistent and unparalleled service across all touchpoints. They are not only looking for the right product that suit their needs but are also seeking a smooth journey in finding the product irrespective of various platforms that they use, buying it from and get it delivered at their doorstep. However, to better integrate in-store and online shopping experience, brand owners and retailers encounter multiple challenges to successfully execute the omnichannel strategy. 

Major Pain Areas:

●    Unavailability of customer data across different channels to strategically analyse and accordingly plan campaigns
●    Inconsistent product information or description across shopping platforms
●    Maintaining a consistent customer experience
●    Inability to identify customers across shopping platforms
●    No ecosystem to optimize online and offline integration for a truly omnichannel experience

Overcoming these challenges starts with envisioning an omnichannel strategy. Omnichannel retailing refers to a multi-channel approach that allows customers not only to shop across channels, but also to interact with the brand. It provides them with a unique, complete and seamless shopping experience, breaking down barriers between virtual and physical stores, and offering exactly what they need, the moment they need it. 

According to a study by CMO Council and Netsertive, 94 percent of marketers believe that providing an omnichannel experience is crucial to business success and customers are retained by companies who work with such omnichannel engagement strategies.

Advancement in technology and emergence of new technologies like artificial intelligence, IoT, chatbots, robotized customer service, augmented reality is uniting the physical and digital world of shopping. Further, in-store digital payment options are blurring lines between the brick-and-mortar and e-commerce model, leading to hybrid retailing and improved user experience. In addition to traditional physical and online stores, new channels, such as smartphones and social media, are changing user habits, shopping behaviour and transforming their buying process. 

Staying in the game will require a holistic approach by retailers and brand owners, where the focus will need to be on customer engagement and fulfilment. To serve their customer in a delightful manner, brands require to create customer personas and market products basis the personas. Integration of technology, in-store operations, omnichannel retailing and merging physical & digital experiences will provide customers an inclusive and interactive retail experience.

Further, certain common consumer challenges faced by brand owners can be resolved through discussions under dedicated forums for retailers and FMCG companies. 

Going forward, given the strong consumer outlook and changing retail landscape, India is expected to witness redefining trends as the markets mature. The omnichannel strategy will not only make it easier for brands or retailers to converse with their customers but will also help customers to have better experiences.

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