- The Essential Guide to Digital Transformation
Why is OmniChannel Retailing so Important for Brands?
29 Mar, 2020
The Omni-Channel Retail Strategy
Online-to-offline, or O2O, is all about using online channels to drive customers to physical retail stores. According to the Financial Times reports that online sales of non-food items reached 28.1% in 2020 – which means there is still over three-quarters of sales took place in stores.
The idea that customers want to be able to shop seamlessly via the channel that’s most appropriate for them at that time is just standard now. If you’re not already serving customers in this way, then you need to start. Check out how the top brands using O2O retail initiatives.
Top brands using O2O retail initiatives
Omni-Channel retailing is the idea of using online channels to drive customers to offline physical retail spaces. Known for its power to revolutionise the way brands do retail, we take a look at some of the brands utilising O2O techniques.
In 2019, fast-fashion retailer Zara unveiled a new store concept at Westfield in London. While the space has some great smart tech in the form of mirrors and self-checkout, the O2O side of things is equally as cool with customers able to quickly retrieve their click-and-collect orders in seconds thanks to the automated robotic arm system.
One of the best ways brands are looking at O2O retail is in getting rid of queues. Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay concept is a great example of this and promised us that we’ll never have to wait in line again. It works by letting customers place their order and pay from their phone before popping in to collect it when they pass by.
Looking to warmer climes, Burger King used social media to bring customers in store with its InstaWhopper campaign. It created an Instagram-based burger customisation tool where consumers could create a custom Whopper through answering polls and then received a voucher to collect a free version of the real thing in-store.
Victoria’s Secret decided to explore the benefits of Instagram in the hopes of promoting its Tease perfume. The brand took to the social media channel and invited consumers to visit their local store, find the designated mirrors, take a selfie and upload the photo to Instagram with a dedicated #VSTease and #VSGift hashtag in return for a surprise gift.
If there’s one brand that knows what it’s doing when it comes to connecting the online and offline worlds, it’s Topshop! When it comes to O2O specifically the brand put its knowledge to practice in the form of a collaboration with fashion website ShangPin. Called ’The Mobile Adventure’, consumers could scan QR codes around a Beijing-based shopping mall with their phone to view virtual Topshop outfits in store.
Remember when Pokémon Go launched in 2016, and the frenzy it brought about from retailers? While many of us were out there busy trying to catch them all, it opened up a great opportunity for retailers. Sprint cashed in on this thinking by turning all of its stores into PokéStops and Gyms within the game. It also awarded every person that activated a new line of service $100 worth of in-game currency.
5 Quick Win with an Onmi-Channel Retail Strategy
1. Instant order and collection in-store
Perhaps the most well-established example of O2O in retail is click-and-collect which is most popular with resturant and take-aways. They all do it to different degrees and successes, but many retailers now let customers order online and then pick-up in-store. A classic example would be HKTV Mall. For the customer there may be a saving on the delivery cost, as well as the convenience of not having to wait in for an all-day delivery slot, but for retailers the hope is that customers may find other things to buy when in-store.
2. Make the most of location
These days we’ve all got a smartphone in our pockets. These devices are the perfect means for delivering an O2O campaign – they’re always with us, they keep us connected and they’re aware of our location in the physical world. A customer’s smartphone knows when they’re near a store, so why can’t it get them through the door?
To feel the benefits of this tech, retailers need to ensure that their local SEO is up to scratch. This can help drive customers to the store simply by telling them that it’s near where they are.
You can even go further by exploring ways to deliver location-based offers to customers nearby. Imagine if your company app could push a notification for a discount or special offer to the customer’s phone as they walk past – are they likely to come inside?
3. Get Chatting
Chatbots and messenger technologies are a great way for you to start a conversation with the customer that ends in the store. As customers become used to using these features, they become an ideal channel for pre-sales advice and recommendations.
Online research before a purchase is now commonplace, but by using chatbots retailers can guide the conversation and help to reduce the challenge of too many options. Especially as AI tech gets smarter it will be able to make better, more personal recommendations.
After all, why can’t you have a conversation with a personal shopper or chatbot, get product recommendations and then reserve a fitting room filled with those products so you can walk in-store and try them? Or talk to your hairdresser and share images and ideas before you go in for your appointment? This is what O2O was born to do.
4. Offer Convenience
One of the things that can put customers off shopping in-store is the perception that they will have to queue a long time. This is another area where the online world can smooth the way for offline sales.
Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay concept essentially promises customers that they’ll never have to wait in line again. They place their order and pay from their phone and then they get told when it will be ready to collect, so they can walk in and have it in hand immediately. Of course, if everyone is collecting coffee at the same time then it’s perhaps the same problem as just queueing to buy, but the customer perception is one of a better experience.
What if you want to go the extra mile, by allowing your customer to use your Mobile app and tap onto your product to complete the payment with NFC technology.
By giving customers the ability to streamline their in-store experience before they even get there, whether that’s ordering food, reserving a fitting room or products to try, booking a personal shopper, making a service appointment or something else, retailers can make the offline shopping experience more convenient.
5. Be Social
Social media is here to stay, so we might as well embrace it. One-way brands like Glossier are driving product hype and traffic to their stores is through treating hyper-engaged fans like influencers. The company recognises that the best brand ambassadors are the people that love their products and can’t stop talking about them. By capitalising on their enthusiasm Glossier gets others talking about its products and wanting to try them.
It also helps that its store locations look so good that visitors spam images on Instagram, which makes others want to visit. You should think about how you can encourage customers to share your store with their friends and fans online for the same benefit.
Burger King also used social media to bring customers in-store with its InstaWhopper campaign. The company created a burger customisation tool inside Instagram which let create a custom Whopper by answering polls to choose ingredients. Once they’d finished they got a coupon to collect a free real-life version of their customised burger in-store. This combination of fun and personalisation, plus free stuff, is just one example of how social media can be used to drive in-store traffic.
NFC Technology for Powerful Content Marketing Campaigns
Give access to more information about your product using NFC technology to unveil useful and entertaining information. Grant access to sweepstakes, contests, instant win games.
It offers the ultimate in convenience, speed and interactions. Take advantage of this features to open up a new dimension in user experience and run successful mobile campaigns in a dynamic and playful way!
Promote your business with exclusive coupon offers and to use digital couponing to drive traffic to your stores with attractive coupons and special offers using NFC.
The Essential Guide to Digital Transformation
The world has gone digital, and there’s no going back.Read More