Years ago, when retailers first envisioned what ideal omnichannel retail would look like, they pictured seamless shopping experiences across all channels, a 360-degree view of customers, and tailoring experiences to make shopping convenient and personalized. Although retailers have made significant progress toward that omnichannel retail ideal, they haven’t quite arrived yet.
In an interview with PYMNTS, NMI CEO Vijay Sondhi points out that omnichannel retail still lacks seamlessness as shoppers move from channel to channel. Sondhi says consumers may research items online or on their smartphones before going to a physical store. Or, they may go to a physical store to browse, and then use their PCs or phones to place orders after checking prices. But those distinct parts of a path to purchase lack connection and transition.
Retailers Can Bridge the Channel Gap
One omnichannel process that retailers are finding success with is “click and collect” or “buy online pickup in store.” A consumer survey from iVend Retail revealed a 30 percent increase in click and collect usage over the past few years, with the majority of consumers around the world — 81.4 percent — ordering online for in-store pickup at least once. Consumers like the convenience and time savings — and retailers enjoy the opportunity to upsell customers once they come into the store.
To give customers the option to buy online and then pick up orders in a store, retailers need to integrate their ecommerce and in-store systems, sharing data that enables the item the customer purchased to be at the right location at the right time.
Sondhi comments, however, for the most part, retailers struggle to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds. He told PYMNTS, retailers are still not delivering the amazing omnichannel experience of recognizing customers when they walk in, know they’ve been browsing online and tailor their store visits to the items that interest them.
Payments Data Can Link Engagement across Channels
Because payments data is at the center of what shoppers do online and in brick-and-mortar stores, it can be the key to providing exceptional omnichannel experiences. A state-of-the-art payment solution, such as the NMI platform, can give retailers central management of payments data that they can leverage on any channel. It can also give merchants a single view of the customer online, in-store, on mobile devices, at self-service checkouts — anywhere the shopper engages with the brand.
Even successful buy online, pickup in store or click and collect processes can be enhanced when retailers use the customers’ tokenized payment online to quickly and easily place orders, identify customers when they arrive at the store, and, if necessary, manage easy returns.
Analyzing Data from All Channels Provides New Insights
Data that reveals shoppers’ behaviors on all channels can provide merchants with a deeper understanding about their customer base, the traits that average customers have in common, and the products they prefer. Retailers can use this information to market and merchandise more effectively, tailor their loyalty programs to customers’ preferences, and personalize promotions — ultimately having a more powerful influence over the shopping journey and sales. Insights derived from payments data can make it possible, taking retailers closer to the seamless, consistent omnichannel ideal that they’re striving to achieve.
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