For brands to earn customer loyalty they must successfully implement an omnichannel experience. Omnichannel retail involves creating a consistent customer experience across mobile commerce, websites, social media, advertisements, and physical stores.
The new-age Indian customer wants to purchase products from different platforms - all effortlessly and seamlessly. They are comfortable shopping directly from social media or in-store and expect retailers to adapt to newer technologies. But what makes a successful omnichannel retailer?
Successful omnichannel retailers need to focus on enabling and empowering customers to use their preferred sales channels at any point of the purchase process. The Coronavirus pandemic has also accelerated interest in buy-online-pickup-in-store, along with e-commerce. These changes won’t just be temporary, either. I expect long-term changes in customer behavior as Indian customers are quickly adapting to a new reality. But which omnichannel retail trends will actually define the post-Covid era?
Here are the top omnichannel trends that will come to redefine this sector, here’s what I see on the horizon:
Home Shopping Giving Rise to Video Shopping: One too many, as well as one-to-one - In India, this is especially coming to use in boutique and designer fashion stores. Additionally, video content has gained immense traction as the most preferred form of entertainment owing to the ongoing pandemic and lockdowns. Shoppable videos or in-video commerce is quickly becoming the simplest way for consumers to shop and for brands to streamline sales.
Social Commerce - Not only will the brand’s products be available seamlessly across stores, websites, and 3P marketplaces, soon they will also be easily available on social platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Marketplace. Whatsapp commerce in India is another channel that will soon become part of the new normal.
Hyperlocalization + Hyper-Personalization - Loyal customers will expect brands to know exactly what they like, after all, we all know the frustration of receiving irrelevant advertisements. Hyper-personalization or one-to-one marketing is a form of traditional personalization where one utilizes real-time data and artificial intelligence (AI), to display to their customers only relevant and specially curated content, products, or services. Brands will need to provide their customers with a curated collection of exactly what is available in the store next door based on their past purchase behaviors.
Augmented Reality (AR) - The use of AR in-store and online to help shoppers make better, more confident purchase decisions is vital for retail. Augmented reality not only helps the customer get a feel of the product, but it can also help online retailers reduce their cost on returns drastically by providing an engaging ‘try-before-you-buy' digital experience. New age innovative AR solutions allow customers to visualize the products they wish to purchase in real-time from the comfort of their homes or workspaces.
Self-checkouts in Stores/ Contactless Payments - Contactless payment has already become a part of our new normal, it is a secure payment method using a debit or credit card, smartcard, or another payment device by using RFID technology and near-field communication. Share cart/payment links directly to a phone using QR codes or Whatsapp in order to have a contactless, safe, and fast checkout experience. Omnichannel providers offer merchants a secure omnichannel payment processing platform that supports in-store, online, and mobile payments. This empowers them to power sales today and in the future
All in all, to ensure smooth operations, the Indian retail industry needs a sensible approach to the omnichannel strategy for enhanced customer experience and improved ROI. Brands that will consider customer experience an essential factor of corporate strategy will draw substantial value from omnichannel retailing. That being said, setting up an omnichannel solution can also become easier with the right strategy in place.
To conclude, I hope the above omnichannel retail 2.0 trends will help you implement an effective omnichannel strategy with your e-commerce setup.