Ecommerce has now become synonymous with omnichannel. While merchants are focusing their retail efforts on social, mobile and email, the real effort should be on a variety of fulfillment options, according to a new whitepaper by Innotrac.
A quick Google search of the term omnichannel yields over 12 million results and 1.9 million for the term omnichannel marketing, according to the SmartHub Benchmarking Exploring Omnichannel whitepaper. So why all the fuss? The whitepaper states it’s because “a customer who engages with a retailer across multiple channels will be more profitable to the brand.”
According to the whitepaper, retailers who have implemented a successful omnichannel focus found that consumers who interact with a brand on multiple levels spend three times more than the single channel consumer.
The main focal points for retailers when it comes to omnichannel retail should be ship-to-store, ship-from-store, and buy online return in-store.
Of those merchants surveyed for the whitepaper who have a retail store, only 18% offer a ship-to-store option. Forty-five percent of retailers said they have the ability to ship-from-store; this is up from 32% from last year, according to the report. As for buying online and returning in-store, according to the whitepaper, it is not only the most popular option offered by retailers (76%) but also the one most preferred by consumers.
“Data from online ordering behavioral studies shows that ‘ease of returns’ is a top concern among consumers,” the whitepaper states.
In fact, Bill Toney, senior vice president, Omnichannel Solutions at VendorNet, also said in a recent interview with Multichannel Merchant that retailers who get into omnichannel fulfillment can expect to see a boost in conversion rates anywhere between 2% and 20%. But by offering various fulfillment options to your customer it will most definitely boost your customer satisfaction rates and could help increase long term customer value.
In order to master omnichannel, retailers need to make sure they can leverage inventory across all channels, according to the whitepaper. This means there needs to be a visibility of all locations, both stores and distribution centers, at the time of the purchase consideration by the consumer. By doing so, the whitepaper states, it can reduce stranded inventory, result in fewer markdowns, and provide a higher customer service rating.