The more things change, the more they stay the same. That seemed to be what was going on at NRF BIG Show 2016 on Monday. And if there was one word I heard about most it was “omnichannel.”
This isn’t anything new, or maybe it is for a merchant trying to figure out what to do with their business, but for those that have been around a while and are mastering it, not much has changed in the last year or so.
What I saw a lot of on Monday were technology vendors focused on bringing the online experience in-store, especially when it came to mobile POS.
Someone I spoke with said what the mobile POS does is remove the “buyer remorse” factor, customers are no longer waiting in line debating whether they want the item or not, it is an easy and fast completed transaction and before a customer can think about whether they want to make the purchase, they are walking out the door with it.
When I heard this, I thought of a purchase I made a couple of years ago at the Apple Store. Walking into the store I knew what I wanted, I had been researching the product for days online, reading up on the specs, the ratings and reviews and so I was ready. I didn’t buy the product online though, I went to the store (I am old-fashioned millennial who still shops in stores), picked up what I wanted and in less than 10 minutes I was out the door with my bag in hand. The salesperson simply came up to me, I told her what I wanted, she completed the transaction for me and got me my product.
As I was talking to someone I met at a dinner I attended Monday night, he made a very good point. He said retailers are going to put money where they’re hurting – in the store. And isn’t this the truth? With so many retailers focusing on where the customer is spending their time (on their ecommerce sites – through various devices might I add) they have dumped all their pennies in perfecting the online experience.
What about the brick-and-mortar stores? With so many focusing on ecommerce, the store is easily forgotten.
Beacon technology was also talked about a lot throughout the show floor. Which again isn’t something new, I can’t tell you how many retailers have been doing this for a couple of years now, again trying grab people as they walk in with promotions and deals. I personally think its genius and I think it really provides a personalized experience for the customer who is constantly on their mobile device.
Another way I saw how retailers could bring the online experience in-store was through a demonstration by Olapic, a visual commerce platform, that showed me the products of one of their clients – NYX Professional Makeup where customers in a store can scan a makeup product and instantly be shown ways how to wear that product, what it looks like and other useful information through visual online content.
I think the in-store experience and the online experience should definitely work as one. I think as the year goes on, we will see more retailers making a conscious effort to remove the silos between the online experience and the in-store experience.
Daniela Forte is a Content Producer at Multichannel Merchant.