Ecommerce For Beginners
- Published: Saturday, 10 October 2015 00:00
- Written by Dean Ronnie
While multi-channel has been the words on many a retailers lips for the past few years, it is time that stop separating the channels in which customers purchase and instead combine them. Motivated by all those that herald the end of the high street, we are entering an age of omni-channel retailing.
Omni-channel retailing is all about bringing the channels together rather than treating them as separate entities. In the same way that click and collect brought the online shopper into the bricks and mortar retail environment, omni-channel retailing will bring technology in-store and in-store service online. So, how can this be done? Well, there are a number of ways, these include:
- Using simple QR codes
QR codes may be simple to create but it is what is contained behind them that enables you to become advanced. Think about using QR codes within your window displays, by doing this you will be able to capture the attention of those passing by. Should these passers-by choose to scan your code they will be presented with content that could lure them into your store or could lure them to your website.
Elsewhere, think about including QR codes on your product labels, shelf edge labels and product displays. By doing this you can present those in-store with a wealth of content that could include examples of how your product should be used, examples of accessories available, detailed product information and videos of the product in use. The information contained within these QR codes will boost the in-store customer experience and provide content that can be viewed at the user’s own pace.
- Make promotions specific to the consumer not to the channel
A key feature of multi-channel retailing is the pricing structure; the price should stay the same regardless of the channel the customer is purchasing from. Omni-channel retailing takes this a step further. All shopping channels should work from the same database of products, prices and promotions. Offers shouldn’t be specific to the channel but they can however be specific to the consumer. Depending on their purchase patterns, social network affinities and the loyalty programs they are signed up to, consumers should be able to receive exclusive offers. The standard price however should remain the same, regardless of the channel. This will enable consumers to experience your brand, not just a channel within your brand.
- By making use of real-time data
Utilising the multi-channel solutions available, real-time data should play a significant role in the way your business operates. With the assistance of the appropriate specialist software, you should be able to enter a product SKU and track the true stock position of a specific product, its price promotions and all kinds of detailed information. Doing this will enable you to join up all of your channels and retail outlets, and will provide your employees with all of the information they need at their fingertips.
- By bringing technology in-store
To complement the information provided by the systems you have in place, as mentioned above, consider providing your employees with iPads or similar tablet computers. Using these they will then have instant access to stock numbers, stock location and detailed product information that will be of benefit to the customer experience.
Consider giving customers access to tablet computers too in order to enhance their shopping experience. Similar to the benefits QR codes can bring, these computers could be restricted to only show information that is of benefit to the product that they are situated next to. This information could include further product details, images and videos of the product being used, recommendations for complimenting products, outfit builders for clothing stores etc.
Argos has recently taken the step towards utilising tablet computers. Using these in place of their traditional catalogues, the tablets instead providing customers with easier navigation, fast-track collection and the ability to view detailed product information.
- By utilising the powers of social media
Social media gives shoppers a platform from which their voice can be heard. Today’s equivalent of a word of mouth recommendation, a ‘like’ or ‘pin’ of a product shows those around us what we are using, what we desire and what we aspire to own.
Last Christmas, Topshop put the power of Pinterest to good use when they created a Christmas gift guide in partnership with the platform. The guide encouraged shoppers to pick and share their favourite gift ideas, showing the power of the online word of mouth recommendation “Most pinned item” tags were then hung on the most popular items in-store.