With the rise of internet shopping, and more recently mobile devices, the way people shop is changing, and customers now expect a joined-up shopping experience in whatever channel they’re using. Which means retailers are now challenged with developing a clean, engaging omni-channel customer journey across eCommerce, mobile, social and good old in-store retail. Even the biggest, previously online-only retailers like Amazon are setting up traditional brick and mortar stores.
At the backend of 2015, they opened their first physical shop in Seattle, Amazon Books. And they’re not the only ones. Over here, clothing retailers Simply Be and Jacamo, part of the N Brown Group, started life online before making the move to the high street, opening a £1million 6500 sq ft Oxford Street flagship in 2014, and now operating some 15 or 16 stores.
So why make the move? With hundreds of thousands of retailers online, getting customers’ attention is challenging and costly, meaning businesses ploughing money into keywords and such to get higher up Google rankings. An actual physical presence, then, can give retailers a recognisable physical presence with tangible products for customers to window shop and try out, and better customer relations with real sales assistants able to offer advice face-to-face, which all helps drive sales both in-store and by directing customers to the eCommerce site. More than anything, though, it’s about improving the customer journey with an ‘omni-channel’ experience.
Omni-channel refers to modern, joined-up shopping that allows customers to interact with retailers through multiple channels and experiences. Whether that’s their desktop computer, iPad, social media, in-store with technology like ePOS and beacons, through the sales team or through customer services, omni-channel retail gives the customer the same user experience from each channel, and the ability to transition seamlessly between the whole lot.
One example is persistent baskets, whereby you put something in your basket digitally online in the eCommerce store, and it’s then also there in your app version. Or, you go into store, and your consumer app allows you to scan products that you like for more information and maybe to add to basket or a wishlist, and they should also appear in your eCommerce basket when you get back to your desktop – along with previous orders (whether that has been orders in store or wherever).
One of the frontrunners of omni-channel retail is Apple (we’re not biased, honest), whose mobile store app and physical stores feed into each other to enhance sales, letting them book support appointments at the Genius Bar, and receive order notifications that make the sales process more streamlined. Others who are doing this well across online and physical stores include Argos and Harrods, who utilise NFC and QR codes in their window displays to tie in with their eCommerce site (see this article from Insider Trends for more companies using omni-channel brilliantly).
It’s a retail concept that’s only going to grow too. As new channels constantly emerge – social media being a relatively young one – retailers will have to look at how to integrate them into their current customer journey, as an ongoing, constantly evolving set of goals.
Aiming for omni-channel?
So where do we come into all this, you might wonder. Together with solutions from Apple, we can support retailers who want to develop an omni-channel approach and improve their customer journey. Just some of the retail solutions we can help with include:
– Managed iPad in-store. We offer services including design and consultancy around iPad to support your business needs, pre-flighting of devices with all your corporate apps and settings prior to supply, employee training including tech bars and workshops, support contracts to ensure business continuity with next business day swapouts and replacement, and mobile device management.
– Custom apps and proximity tech. Our team of developers can create iOS, Android and web apps, purchasing protals or interactive brochures and presentations, and offer support throughout the lifecycle of your app and subsequent iterations. Our integrated mobility solutions have seen tremendous ROI.
– Apple-centric ePOS and mPOS. We can provide a complete Apple-centric ePOS system, no matter whether you’re a micro-retailer, or a national company with multiple stores. We’ll consult with you to understand your practices and customer journey, and develop a payment solution that works for you. Be that a completely new ePOS solution to replace your existing system, or us writing an app or middleware that can extend your existing till system to Mac or iPad.
Want to find out more about our solutions for retail? Get in touch with us on 03332 409 306 or email retail@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.