There’s a big difference between omnichannel and multi-channel approaches to retail in 2018. While the multi-channel paradigm requires retailers to leverage many different channels for communicating with customers and driving sales, a successful omnichannel strategy comes to life when retailers can effectively integrate the channels they use to reach their customers, creating a continuous interaction and experience between brick-and-mortar retail locations and digital/social channels.
The retailers we feature in this piece have done exactly that – they’ve used the most current technology to merge their physical and online presence into one, bridging the gap between virtual and digital shopping and creating seamless brand interactions for their customers, often with unprecedented and award-winning results. Here’s our exclusive list of seven retailers that are nailing the omnichannel experience in 2018!
Neiman Marcus Leads the Way in Omnichannel Retail
Luxury retail chain Neiman Marcus invested in technology that changed the way customers interact with their brand. Neiman Marcus now uses a variety of web-based tools and functions to enhance integration between customers’ online and in-person shopping experiences.
This strategy won Neiman Marcus the coveted IRT Retailer Innovation Award for Customer Engagement in 2017.
Value City Furniture Seamlessly Integrates Online and In-store Shopping
A major area of focus for retailers wishing to implement the omnichannel strategy is the integration of in-store items into online shopping carts, something Value City Furniture has done effectively with its Easy Pass initiative. Customers at this furniture store can create an online shopping list with items of interest, then visit a physical location where an associate can access their virtual wish-list and present them with the items of interest.
It works in reverse too – items that a customer likes in-store can be added to their digital shopping list for review later on, and targeted e-mails can be sent to nudge the customer towards a purchase. The company has seen a 283% increase in revenue from abandoned carts, along with a 190% boost in revenue from e-mail campaigns.
Timberland Leverages Near-Field Communication to Combine In-store and Online Shopping
One of the dominant trends in the omnichannel movement is the integration of online and in-store shopping, and nobody does it better right now than outdoor retailer Timberland. The company is leveraging Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology to allow the transmission of secure data over short distances between mobile devices, allowing customers to engage with Timberland’s physical products in-store by seamlessly accessing enhanced product information on their mobile devices.
Timberland has also installed “TouchWalls” in their in-store locations, which feature online-only products that customers can touch to receive more product info or add to their shopping list. Timberland has done an exceptional job of integrating hand-held mobile devices as part of the shopping experience.
Orvis Uses Mobile Technology to Facilitate In-store Transactions
American retailer Orvis identified its target customer as over 50 years-old and affluent, based on their top-selling products in sporting goods, pet supplies and fly-fishing gear. To help boost sales among a demographic that is rapidly adopting new technology, the retailer equipped its in-store associates with iPad Minis to order out-of-stock products, finalize transactions for both in-store and online purchases, and exhibit products to customers from Orvis’ online catalog.
Orvis also has its own mobile app where its customers can get personalized gear recommendations based on their purchase history and favorite fishing locations.
Steve Madden’s Omnichannel Strategy a Big Win with Targeted Emails
One of the major challenges faced by Steve Madden’s retail analytics team was matching up data from all touch-points in the customer journey. Determined to find a solution, the marketing team at Steve Madden combined data from multiple sources and used business intelligence to segment customers effectively, creating more targeted and meaningful communications through their various channels.
Steve Madden can identify which customers are making purchases on a regular basis and point them toward sales and recommended products, while those who have lost touch with the brand can receive more aggressive messaging, tempting them to reactivate their relationship with Steve Madden. Combined with a mobile app that links physical and online shopping and more features and functionality at the POS, Steve Madden’s efforts this year are providing a consistent omnichannel experience.
Starbucks Wins Omnichannel Gold with its Gold Rewards Card
In just a few short years, Starbucks went from being a popular coffee shop to offering a seamless and integrated omnichannel experience through its Rewards Program and Starbucks App.
Customers can use a prepaid Starbucks gift card to pay for purchases and earn points towards free beverages or food items. The cards can be reloaded through the Starbucks App or on the Starbucks website. After hitting certain reward targets, customers earn a special Gold Rewards Card, along with access to special offers through the mobile App. The most exciting offers, called “Menu Round-ups”, offer Starbucks lovers a pile of rewards points if they order select items from the menu and pay with their rewards card within a certain time frame.
Starbucks also implemented mobile ordering, allowing customers to save time and skip the line-up by ordering and paying before they arrive.
Apple – An Omnichannel Music Leader
Apple has to be recognized as one of the major pioneers of omnichannel experiences in the music business, having completely changed the way that we access and listen to music over the last two decades. The iTunes platform allows customers to integrate their playlists across devices, offering a futuristic experience to users who purchase more than one Apple device, and boosting customer engagement in the process.
Today, the iTunes library contains over 40 million songs that users can download and listen to, and by using big data to understand and characterize users’ listening behavior, the platform can recommend new songs that the listener might like. Apple also recently acquired Shazam, the App that can identify songs based on a sound bite, and will leverage it to further drive sales through its already lucrative and highly integrated platform.
Retailers have many options to leverage technology to create a true omnichannel experience for their customers. Capturing data and analytics through online platforms and using them to send more targeted e-mails, merging online and in-person shopping into a single experience, and creating a rewards program that encourages interactions across multiple platforms are all methods of integrating channels and providing a seamless customer experience.
The next big step for omnichannel integration is increased personalization. While some retailers are already delivering personalized e-mails and product recommendations through data capture, functions like automated appointment scheduling, which allow the customer to initiate the transition between online and in-person shopping experiences, are going to grow in popularity, especially in sectors like retail banking and investment.
Will your company be the next global leader in omnichannel sales? We can’t wait to find out!