Why Omnichannel Customer Journeys Rule the Holidays
‘Tis the season to shop online and buy in-store
While customers can get all of their holiday shopping done without leaving home, nearly everybody will still be visiting stores this holiday season. And the stores they visit will belong to the brands that offer an omnichannel shopping experience.
Customers Prefer Omnichannel Shopping
According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, 96% of all shoppers will be purchasing goods from brands that have both physical and digital properties, and 91% of shoppers will be purchasing goods at the physical locations of those brands.
Amazon has provided further evidence of this trend toward omnichannel with an adaptation of its own, just in time for the holidays. The traditional pure eCommerce player recently announced that popular devices like the Echo, FireTV, and Kindle eReader will be available for purchase at more than 100 of its newly acquired Whole Foods Market locations.
The fact that people still like visiting stores, even though they don’t have to, reveals a lot about what is important to customers. For many, going shopping is less about the acquisition of goods, and more about the experience around purchasing them. The omnichannel path provides the best experience because it includes customers’ favorite aspects of holiday shopping while mitigating many of the usual pain points.
What an Omnichannel Journey Looks Like
One omnichannel path that customers may travel this holiday season spans across seven touchpoints:
Receiving Email Offers - 81% of retail professionals citie emails as their greatest driver of customer retention, making this is the first key touchpoint that dictates where customers continue browsing.
Comparing Products & Prices Across Websites - 67% of shoppers say they research different products online before making a purchase. This enables them to browse items and read reviews across many different brands, easily make comparisons, and quickly zero in on the products they like best.
Placing Orders Online to be Picked Up In-Store - According to an Internet Retailer survey, 57% of retail customers have placed orders online to be picked up in-store. This affords them the opportunity to dodge shipping costs.
Visiting Stores to Pick Up Items - This has always been a quintessential part of the holiday season as shoppers can go out with family and friends, enjoy festive holiday lights and decorations throughout stores, and share meals out at restaurants after making their purchases.
Browsing and Buying More Presents While Picking Up Order - Just because customers have already ordered an item online doesn’t mean they aren’t looking to buy more. In fact, 81% of people who pick up items in stores that they ordered online plan to make additional purchases during their visit.
Writing a Review - This is a key touchpoint that is becoming critical for retailers. In fact, customers are becoming more and more willing to leave reviews, and 81% of all people are now reading those reviews before making purchase decisions.
Returning Items - Nearly 50% of shoppers who receive gifts that were purchased online expect to be able to return them in stores. In the process of returning these items, they are also ready to buy something else, as 25% of shoppers that return packages they received in the mail will make a purchase at the same time, according to a Business Insider report.
Ensuring all of these touchpoints are synchronized across both physical and digital channels is a handful for omnichannel retailers to manage, and failing to provide a clean experience can lead to a 56% lower customer retention rate and 6.6% less year-over-year revenue.