Uniting the online and offline experience – customers in the omnichannel sphere
Today, it is undeniable that the digitally connected consumer is at the forefront of driving business than ever before. In their recent 'Digital Impact' report, Deloitte stresses that 'addressing the digital divide is the new business imperative' and consultants should therefore be leading the change to ensure that this issue rises to the forefront of business thinking.
But one of the most difficult things to negotiate is the balance between the offline and online, the physical and the digital, within a shopping experience. This is becoming known as the 'omnichannel market' as consumers consult various different mediums before they make a purchase. In the 13-35 age group, over 15 billion USD will be gained in revenue in the next three years from mobile advertising, mobile apps, on demand video and social network advertising. That's no insignificant number and will only continue to grow as digital becomes even more an integrated part of our lives, particularly as the Internet of Things revolution gets truly underway.
Is there a way to unite these experiences into one seamless shopping journey through the physical and digital space? If there is a way through this issue, the following points certainly need to be considered by retailers...
Digital Lists part
Use of screens in store
Night buying report
Stores as 'experience centres' –
Online videos John Lewis Christmas advert
So even though there are all those laptop lovers, tablet tappers and mobile mad consumers out there, retailers do have ways in which they can adapt their in store experiences to suit the needs of the more modern digitally connected customer. The aim should be to create a personalised and synchronised experience for the customer to carry out the final purchase in whichever channel they choose – each one being just as easy or enjoyable.
Although innovation requires effort, and initial investment, the ability of digital and big data to engage with target audiences and drive up sales within the physical stores is clear. It is undeniably a part of the decision making process for buying products, whether price checking online at home or grabbing info through a smartphone whilst in store. The appeal of physical stores will not diminish in favour of simply clicking your way through all purchases – the figures for buying in store are still high and people like to see the physical products as well as browsing as a leisure activity too – but there are certainly ways in which digital can be better incorporated into the in store experience.