As the line between the digital and physical word becomes increasingly blurred, customer expectations of the retail experience are shifting to reflect these changes.
Customers now want a seamless experience between devices and they expect the choice and flexibility that online shopping provides with the timeliness and service of an in-store purchase.
For shoppers, WWW now means that a customer can buy “what, when and where I want it”, and retailers need to deliver.
Better cross-platform experiences
Customers increasingly expect greater continuity across their shopping experience.
Capabilities, like the ability to view store inventory information online, create a more connected experience between what shoppers are doing online and what is happening in store.
It also eases the stress of shopping by reducing the chance of visiting a store only to find out that they do not have a product in stock.
According to a 2014 Accenture* study, 71% of customers felt the ability to view inventory information for instore products was important or very important, with 39% claiming they’d be unlikely or very unlikely to visit a retailer’s store if the online store did not provide physical store inventory information.
Improved inventory management solutions not only enable retailers to provide customers with real-time access to in-store and online inventory information, they also give customers access to more fulfilment options such as pick-up in store, ship to store and faster delivery.
All of which empowers the customer to buy what they want, when they want it and where they want it.
Beyond in-store inventory views, new technology is helping retailers create more integrated cross-platform experiences for their customers across the purchase journey.
Productivity and collaboration tools, including digital asset management software, help retailers deliver a more consistent brand experience as customers move across multiple touch points.
While this may seem like a minor detail, consistent branding and navigation, both online and offline, can make purchasing much easier and more comfortable for customers.
When a customer researches a product online and proceeds to a retail location to purchase that product, they should know that they are in the right store as soon as they’ve arrived, and finding the product should be easy based on their online experience.
And to further connect the dots from online to in-store, retail employees can get easier access to customer information, including past-purchases, wish list items and support tickets, which allows them to more strategically sell and deliver superior service to their customers.
Ultimately, this better integration means greater continuity and a more personalised experience for customers.