Omnicommerce: The innovation imperative

by. Lorena Harris

With constantly rising customer expectations, a key element in the formula for omnicommerce success will be an ongoing focus on innovations that make shopping easier and faster for consumers.

We are already seeing a number of omnicommerce-related innovations coming from merchants. For example, Staples recently opened the first of several dozen office-supply “omnichannel stores” designed to bring various retail channels together for the customer. These stores have kiosks spread around the store to provide product and in-store item-location information and to let shoppers buy from the Staples website. In addition, employees have tablets that they can use to help customers find products and information as they shop. All of this engages customers—and helps keep them from using their phones for the kind of showrooming behavior that will lead to lost sales.

Staples is not the only company pursuing this kind of experimentation. Some retailers are letting consumers enter their shopping lists on their phones and then guiding the consumer to the appropriate aisles in the store, which helps make the whole shopping experience more pleasant and efficient. And some are enabling customers to scan and bag their items while shopping and then use the scanned information to pay at self-service checkout kiosks.

These in-store innovations are just the beginning. With omnicommerce, merchants have an opportunity to “talk to” customers across a variety of times and places beyond the store. You can be in touch through the whole shopping lifecycle—before, during, and after the sale. Because you’re in constant contact with customers, you can basically “surround” them with a consistent experience across channels and ultimately weave your brand into the consumer’s lifestyle. These interactions will be ever more critical as today’s omni-channel consumer shops for options.

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