Two recent figures highlight the challenge retailers face. Over the last 6 months, high street spending has declined, but overall consumer spending has increased by 3.4%. This points towards consumers being less eager to spend time and money on the high street - it's just not the exciting experience it once was.
Stephen Ball, Senior VP Europe & Africa at Aspect, said: “These latest figures are symptomatic of the wider issues that the UK high street is facing. The general trend is a downward one. The fact that consumer spending as a whole has increased shows that people do have money to spend, but are choosing not to spend it on retail.”
Retail is anything but dead
The future of retailing is already here with customers demanding an Omni-Channel experience. Retailers have a choice - put your head in the sand and hope it's just a fad or recognise that survival and prosperity lie in delivering what your consumers want. How can retailers meet this challenge? Quite simply by using the knowledge and insight they have into buying patterns through their purchasing data.
What is an Omni-Channel Retail Strategy and how it can help you?
In simple terms omni-channel is “all” channels,” unified sales and marketing that creates a fully-integrated shopping experience across your brand by connecting user experiences from in store to online browsing. An Omni-Channel Retail Strategy focuses on the customer interaction and experience of your product and brand, whichever method or device is used.
Shoppers’ behaviours have changed considerably in recent years; now, they check prices, compare products, research reviews, and consult social media before buying, and retail shopping is now conducted on phones, social platforms, tablets, interactive kiosks, and more. Besides being users of smartphone apps to compare prices or download a coupon, consumers are now also keen on in-store digital tools, such as an interactive catalogue, a price-checker, or a tablet.
Consumers want to connect with your brand both on and offline. They want to know what’s in stock before they visit one of your stores. They want to add that item to their cart on the way to the store and have it be ready for pickup when they arrive. Consumers want a seamless experience where content and actions connect from platform to platform.
This is what Omni-channel is about. If consumers can't find the product with you, they will go and get it from your competitors!
Why create an Omni-Channel Retail Strategy?
A recent Harvard Business Review study revealed that 73% shoppers engage with Omni-channels for retailing experience. Another survey by Business Insider found that shoppers who engaged on Omni-channels made purchases more often.
To start building an effective Omni-Channel retail strategy and customer experience the 3 initial steps are:
1. Analysis of existing supply chain inventory data to build a picture of what is selling and where.
2. Dissolving the silo mentality in your business to integrate the knowledge and experience already available.
3. Using supply chain experts to analyse your data and spot patterns for cost savings and sale generating opportunities thereby improving the business and delivering a better customer experience.
The challenge of omni-channel is not going to go away, so use it to get closer to your customers and meeting their demands.
Want to find out more about Omni - retail and how it could benefit your business?