- by Best Inc.
Among the industries that are affected by COVID-19, the retail industry is one of the most adversely hit. With storefronts shutting across the world due to social distancing protocols, businesses without a notable online presence have been finding it difficult to maintain sales in this period. As COVID-19 has accelerated major changes in consumer behavior, online shopping is becoming more prevalent than ever. These changes in consumer behavior and trends are expected to have a lasting impact on the retail industry even after COVID-19 has ended. As such, many have turned to omnichannel retail.
To do so, retail brands set up online stores in an attempt to open up a new channel to reach consumers. However, an omnichannel retail strategy is much more than that. To survive in the post-COVID world, adopting an omnichannel retail strategy may not be optional for retail brands in the future.
What is Omnichannel Retail?
Omnichannel retail is a fully-integrated retail strategy that provides consumers with a unified experience across all touchpoints and channels. Most retail brands today are only using a multichannel approach whereby the different channels do not interact with one another. An example would be when products purchased online are not able to be returned in physical stores of the same brand.
A retail brand may have a physical storefront and an online store to reach consumers from different touchpoints, but if they are treated as separate businesses, consumer experience would be negatively affected as the customer journey between each channel is disjunct. A true omnichannel retail strategy is designed such that the consumer experience is seamless across channels. To achieve that, retail brands must be backed by good infrastructure partners, from sales and marketing to omnichannel distribution.
Changing Consumer Behaviors Lead to New Customer Journeys
To adopt a winning omnichannel retail strategy, retail brands must first understand the changing preferences of consumers. With quarantines and lockdowns happening due to COVID-19, consumers have gotten used to the convenience of online shopping. However, this doesn’t mean that physical storefronts will go completely obsolete after the end of COVID-19. Some consumers still prefer having the options of trying out products in-store and purchasing them online or purchasing online and then collecting in-store. Thus, when coming up with an omnichannel strategy, rethinking customer journeys and how different touchpoints work together is key in producing the best consumer experience.
Prepare for the Post-COVID World
To prepare for the post-COVID world, here are some omnichannel retail recommendations for businesses to act on:
- Constantly find ways to add value to the customers through the interactions between different channels.
- With many consumers moving to online shopping, footfall in stores may dwindle. Come up with a new concept of physical stores to provide customers with a unique experience when visiting.
- To withstand the stiff competition in the retail sector, focus on building customer loyalty through immediate rewards and discounts.
Choose a Dependable Omnichannel Distribution Partner
Every successful retailer with an omnichannel strategy has to be backed by a dependable omnichannel distribution partner to ensure seamless interactions between channels. Contact Best Inc. today for quotes and to find out how we can best support your business in omnichannel retailing.