Much has been written about what omnichannel and how it benefits the consumers. But what does it actually mean for a retailer to embrace omnichannel in terms of the value proposition today? How can a retailer deliver an omnichannel experience to its consumers? Let’s take a closer look at proven omnichannel strategies.
Buy online, pick up in-store
According to a study by Forrester Research, 70% of US online consumers use BOPIS – Buy Online, Pick up In-Store – to some extent. More importantly, this leads to increasingly higher consumer expectation. Another study by Forrester Research in 2014 revealed that 73% of US consumers expect their retailers to offer BOPIS. 89% expect in-store inventory of online products.
Normally, when a retailer implements BOPIS, it offers the ability for in-store pickup during the checkout process. In order to choose their pickup locations, consumers can enter their zip codes or identify the distance they are willing to travel. If in-store pickup is not available, the items will be shipped to the consumers.
After the retail giant Wal-Mart rolled out the online grocery pickup services, aimed especially at omnichannel shoppers, they found out that shoppers who place online grocery orders and then pick up the items in stores spend 50% more than similar shoppers who purchase in stores only.
This strategy is very much similar to BOPIS. The difference is that if your item is not available at a nearby store, it can be shipped from another store or distribution centre. Ship-to-store also provides the same benefits to both retailers and consumers as BOPIS does.
Congratulations! After spending an immense amount of marketing resources, you have finally persuaded a consumer to purchase an item on your e-commerce site. Unfortunately, there are ways that things can still go wrong from here:
- The item is not available at your distribution centres.
- The distribution centres are too far away from where the consumer lives.
Not only would you lose your hard-earned sales, you also make the consumer unhappy. It can become worse when you later find out that you have the exact same item in one of your stores, which happens to be just a few kilometres away from your consumer’s place. The separation of your e-commerce site and physical stores keep you from fulfilling your online orders using the existing in-store inventory.
Such a situation would not happen should you choose to implement omnichannel’s ship-from-store strategy. Retailers can choose to fulfil online orders either from their warehouses or from the store inventory.
It’s reported that the American upscale fashion retailer Nordstrom increased its online sales revenue by 39% by introducing ship-from-store. Men's Wearhouse also estimates that it can capture more than 1,000 orders that would have been lost per day.
How can traditional retail chains compete with rapidly growing e-commerce competitors and ultimately prevail? Our white paper will answer the following questions:
- Why must retail chains embrace omnichannel?
- What are the commonly used omnichannel strategies?
- How does omnichannel transform the retail industry?
- What do retailers need to do to lay the foundation for omnichannel?