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How can an Omni channel retailing strategy address dynamic customer behaviour?

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The retail sector is awakening to a new reality: consumer behaviour has accelerated to unprecedented levels in the last two years. Their actions have become unpredictable as they are difficult to trace and less loyal than they used to be before.

They avoid shopping for older brands and try new ones that provide a better shopping experience. 59% of customers have purchased from new brands since the pandemic started.

This situation has put a big question mark over retail businesses with a loyal customer base, as they are swiftly dwindling, putting the business at significant risk. What are some examples of customers' dynamic behaviour following the pandemic?

  • Switching to a new brand after a long period of commitment to an old one
  • Trying to find new ways/channels to connect and engage with brands
  • Consider a brand that meets their requirements, is convenient, and offers a pleasurable shopping experience.

An omni channel retailing strategy can save the day for retail brands by addressing their dynamic customer behaviour. These are some impactful ways by which it can be done.

1) Lure the Customer Back to the Retail Store

Sometimes, it may happen that a customer is looking for a high-demand product in an athletic store. But the in-demand product size and the colour are out-of-stock. So, instead of letting customers down and encouraging them to look elsewhere for shopping options.

The retail brand turns to email to alert the shopper when the size and colour they are after is back in stock. It provides the retailer with a new channel for communicating promotional content to the shopper.

At the same time, consumers benefit from the extra benefit of saving time previously spent on checking to see if the item was back in stock. This is a true win-win situation for brands as well as customers. A retail brand like Outdoor Voices retargets its customers and boosts in-store footfalls precisely this way.

Another trending customer behaviour is to visit the retail store, inspect the products, and complete their shopping on another channel. An effective omnichannel strategy can tackle this by centralizing its inventory and using virtual shelves or endless aisles that allow customers to browse and order your products in-store.

It has two advantages; the visiting customer does not have to leave the store premises empty-handed, as they can shop online with the same retail brand using endless aisle solutions. Secondly, the footfall of the retail store increases, and so does the customer's brand loyalty.

2) Impactful Brand Presence on Every Channel 

There are many reasons why retail customers keep on switching channels and brands. They aspire for a channel/brand that provides them with the cost advantage, huge discounts, the convenience of shopping from anywhere & anytime, quality products, customer service, and a brand tone that connects and lingers with them forever.

Nowadays, retail brands that do not focus on these critical factors are shunted by demanding customers. An omnichannel retailing strategy considers these essential factors while connecting and engaging with the customers.

They extend their brand availability and reachability to every retail customer by being omnipresent on all channels. Customers enjoy a seamless shopping experience across all channels.

So, even if they are shopping from a physical store, ecommerce stores, marketplaces, brand stores, or social media channels. They would get a consistent shopping experience and assistance from the omnichannel retail brand. Consider this shopping situation:

A customer visits a formal shirt retail brand. He likes a checkered shirt in an XL size, but the product is unavailable at the brand store. The in-store representative tracks the shirt's SKU & other product details and notices that a nearby retail store has the same size available.

The product is sourced from the different retail store of the same brand, the customer makes the payment, and he leaves for home happily ever after. Van Huesen is actively practicing this precise omnichannel strategy.

Sounds like a fairy tale? Yes, this is possible with an omnichannel retailing strategy powered by Fynd. Several retail brands on Fynd like Superdry and Spykar utilize this omnichannel strategy to retain, engage, and grow customer footfalls in brand stores.

3) Bridge the in-store and Online Store Shopping Experience 

It has been found that customers use showrooms to research the look, style, and feel of the product but always make online purchases owing to a massive difference in the offered price between both channels. This research practice is known as showrooming and is critiqued widely, accusing customers and e-tailers of free-riding. 

Webrooming implies online research activities. Due to the shut down of physical stores during the pandemic, webrooming is the most common practice among customers. Responding to this on-the-go shopping behaviour, retailers implemented "virtual stores," in which images of store shelves are attached in public spaces.

E.g., For items near public transport, consumers can scan each item using their smartphone, creating a virtual shopping cart delivered to their homes. In addition to in-store and online shopping, purchases can also be made using in-store screens.

Omnichannel retailers use such screens as a means of bridging their online and offline presence, extending their offline assortment with online items (also termed “virtual shelf extension” or “endless aisle”), and eliminating consumers' frustration when an item is out of stock. 

Fynd endless aisle in-store solutions instantly bridge the offline and online shopping experience gap. It offers in-store customers the opportunity to browse through and purchase both available and out-of-stock products on Fynd Store. Its valuable features include save-the-sale, cross-selling & up-selling, quickest order fulfillment and intelligent delivery algorithms. 

Some of the biggest names in the retail industry like Satya Paul, Diesel, Michael Kors, Hunkemoller, AND & Nike have widely used Fynd Endless Aisle and experienced tremendous business growth post omnichannel solution adoption.

4) Reduce Shipping times Impacting Customer Orders

It has been found that though the shipping costs are free, the overall shipping time can directly affect customer shopping behaviour to a greater extent. Longer shipping times mean more wait time for customers. It can test their patience as they want their ordered product in their hands fasts.

The wait time can force customers to rethink their orders with the retailer and look for alternatives that provide shorter shipping times. Ultimately, they will cancel the order, causing the brand to initiate return proceedings with the logistic partner, inflating the cost of the goods return to warehouse storage again. An omnichannel strategy implements:

Ship-from-store: It is a fulfilment process in which businesses fulfil orders by utilizing the in-store inventory of a retail brand. By fulfilling orders in this manner, the business transforms the store into a virtual distribution centre that significantly lowers the delivery time.

warehouse-to-customer: Products are delivered directly to the customer's home address from a nearby warehouse.

Pick-up outlets: Customers can go directly to these locations to pick up their orders, which avoids the need for shipping and directly passes the order to the customer.

These options can significantly improve the customer experience and serve as a critical competitive differentiation while lowering shipment times and costs compared to standard warehouse deliveries.

Conclusion

Omnichannel retailing is becoming increasingly important as customers have become more demanding, mobile, and diverse. Their day-to-day shopping behaviour has become unpredictable, and there's a lot of suspense regarding their next moves.

Retail brands face great difficulty in predicting customer behaviour, if they want to know if they are satisfied with them and how to engage them better and stop them from moving to their competition. 

We have analyzed some of the most impactful omnichannel retailing strategies that are highly effective in tackling dynamic customer behaviour. These right moves give a free hand to retail brands and empower them to engage with the customer and utilize their data for crucial marketing decisions like never before.

Book a demo with one of our experts to learn more about how an omnichannel strategy can tackle unpredictable customer behaviour and utilize it positively to benefit your retail business.

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How can an Omni channel retailing strategy address dynamic customer behaviour?
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