Retail Adopts Omnichannel Sales Like Never Before

If you are looking at adapting to changing customers' behavior in retail, read this post. It shares insights on how giant retailers adopt omnichannel experience and advise what you can do in your business regardless of its size.
5 min read
21/10/20
ALL articles
By Denis Baranov
Head of Retail & Distribution Practice
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Retail Adopts Omnichannel Sales Like Never Before

From purchases and returns to payments and personalization, retail is increasingly moving toward an omnichannel model. What can chain retailers do to benefit from this trend, and how can they use the omnichannel model to increase revenue?

Omnichannel Purchases: Maximizing Revenue by Combining Online and Offline Sales

E-commerce has demonstrated steady growth over the past few years. By the end of 2020, online sales will account for 16% of consumers’ purchases worldwide, according to Statista. Omnichannel transactions — sales that involve multiple channels operating together — are increasingly popular. The Harvard Business Review claims that 73% of consumers are now omnichannel shoppers. What does this mean for retailers? Retail companies can improve their services and increase customer loyalty by digitizing and embracing omnichannel sales with ready-made and custom solutions.

Out-of-the-box tools like Cleveron’s Click & Collect shopper service are convenient buy-online, pickup-in-store solutions for retailers like Walmart that want to engage customers and save money. Cleveron increases in-store traffic, customer satisfaction, and e-commerce revenue, not to mention the competitive advantage it provides to brick-and-mortar retailers competing with online giants like Amazon.

Custom software solutions can help retailers adopt the omnichannel model to their specific needs. For instance, Walmart’s app-based pickup service lets users order products and pick them up in-store. The customer checks in while heading to the pickup location, ensuring the order is packed and ready by the time they arrive.

Omnichannel Returns: Convenient and Dependable

One of the downsides of e-commerce is that buyers can not assess the quality of a product until it is delivered. Items can arrive broken or dirty, which leads to high return rates. Customers complain that, although the post office picks up packages from their homes every day (unless these people live in New York), printing the label remains their pain point. Luckily, platforms like Doddle already specialize in convenient self-service returns that minimize the fuss and interpersonal contact. Customers set up the return on an app, and retailers can manage the process remotely.

Some sellers decide it is worth it to take the loss. Before the lockdown, Walmart allowed returns in-store and by mail. But to accommodate post-COVID protocols, the retail giant now offers returns via scheduled pickup. Customers scan the barcode of the item they wish to return, and the Walmart app quickly calculates the product’s resale value. If the resale cost outweighs net profit, customers can keep the product and still receive a full refund.

But how do companies like Walmart protect themselves from fraudulent returns? Here at DataArt, our data scientists help retailers build predictive models that flag suspicious activity before refunding a purchase.

Omnichannel Personalization: Adapting Offline Experiences for E-commerce

Your company already understands its customers’ offline behavior through loyalty programs that keep track of regular purchases. Why not employ artificial intelligence to predict their behavior online, as well? To make the e-commerce experience more personal, remind customers of items they have not purchased in a while. At checkout, consider adding a «people who bought this item also bought» feature and offer extra items that match their previous purchases. Remember, personalization is key.

For seamless customer experience, consider focusing on a personal touch and process automation. Use big data to make a unique experience for each client. Most importantly, use an omnichannel approach to keep that experience consistent across platforms and devices.

Some companies take omnichannel personalization to a new level, combining online and offline channels. Nike’s Nike+ app allows customers to connect their Nike-brand shoes to the app, opening up a world of partner offers, tailored promotions, and training rewards.

Walgreens provides one of the best omnichannel healthcare experiences by giving clients access to prescription refills by email, phone, or app. Customers can also access virtual doctor consultations and sign up for programs that reward healthy habits by tracking users’ daily movement. The data Walgreens gathers can then be used to offer customers a more personalized experience.

Omnichannel Payments: Technology for Cashierless Checkout

Amazon recently made Just Walk Out Shopping available to other retailers, allowing them to implement cashierless payments. The product is based on the same technology underpinning self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. When customers enter the store, they scan a QR code to start the transaction. Sensors located around the store detect when a product is removed from the shelf and saves it in a virtual cart. When finished, the buyer leaves the store, and their Amazon account is charged for the purchase.

Whereas Amazon’s technology uses stationary ceiling cameras, Microsoft’s new product, in collaboration with Walmart, will use data from devices attached to shopping carts, which will lower costs associated with implementation.

Other products include an all-in-one location data system from RetailNext, a multimillion retail analytics startup. Trigo Vision, an Israeli-based company, is working on a computer vision solution that is layered onto retailers’ existing CCTV systems. And Moltin, a U.S.-based company, is creating an affordable solution for self-checkout by blending smartphone functionality with in-store contactless payments.

With no clear frontrunner, the cashierless checkout market is ripe for development. The question is: who will be the first to deliver a reliable and affordable solution?

Conclusion

Physical shopping and other everyday activities are gradually replaced by their virtual counterparts. Although mobile devices are tightly woven into our lives, there is still hope for brick-and-mortar shops. Combining technology with a personal touch can make shopping a convenient and fun experience. If your company has not done so already, consider adopting omnichannel technology today.

If you need a helping hand, turn to DataArt. Our engineers have extensive experience working on retail modernization with domain heavyweights like Ocado and Doddle. We’ve helped them meet the needs of millions of customers and we can help you, as well. Contact us, and we will work with you to tailor a solution to your company’s specific requirements.

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