Retail distribution is a constant evolution. Customer’s shopping habits have been evolving in recent years and as a result, stores are required to find new ways to enhance the experiences they are offering to their clients.
Digital distribution is so efficient, and at times, so convenient that retail stores need to do something to successfully attract customers in the door.
This is where omnichannel distribution comes in.
But what is omnichannel distribution?
Omnichannel distribution is a distribution format whereby stores move beyond the traditional distinction between physical and digital retail to discover new ways in which customers can get the “best of both worlds”. Omnichannel distribution tries to match the rich experiential dimension of physical retail with the efficiency of digital distribution.
This is a really exciting opportunity, but what store managers have been struggling with is the actual implementation of this in their shops.
In this post, we’re going to discuss how your omnichannel distribution “vision” can come to reality, by looking at 5 powerful omnichannel functions your store can implement today.
With no further ado, let’s dive into the topic.
Buy online, pick up in-store
This omnichannel function allows merging the ‘webrooming’ behavior with a luxury purchase experience.
But what is webrooming? And what is showrooming?
They both refer to different customer journey “trajectories”.
- In webrooming, customers conduct most of their shopping journey online and only visit the store, when they’ve made up their mind. They have all the information, now they simply want to acquire their product.
- In showrooming, customers conduct most of their shopping journey offline, visiting different stores and maybe trying out the product to make sure it is exactly as they want it. With showrooming customers eventually buy a product online, as they think they can get a better price through an online sale.
With “Buy Online, Pick Up in Store” a brand takes into account these different shopping trajectories and helps customers to tap into the benefits of both digital and physical shopping.
With this approach, customers are able to connect to a brand’s retail experience and seamless digital efficiency.
Reserve in store
If your customer does not trust online transactions, purchasing an item in the store can help conversion rates.
If your store is selling fairly expensive items, purchasing a costly item can lead your customers to hesitate at the moment of the purchase, or as we call it in marketing the “Moment of Truth“.
Transaction security aside, your customers may not want to buy an item before seeing it in real life.
By setting up a reserve in-store function, your customers can shop through your catalog in the comfort of their home and then go to the store only to finalize the sale at a moment that is convenient for them.
In the era of global tourism, finding a store nearby can make a customer feel close to the brand, wherever they may be.
Global brands, who seek to be present in all corners of the globe, may find it useful to create multiple stores, even within the same geographic area, and then develop tools, like a store locator to help customers find the closest retail touchpoint.
Try out in the store, ship home
This omnichannel function can allow customers to try clothing in-store to find the perfect fit.
If the right size is not available in the store, then the specific size can be requested and sent to the customer’s home address.
This function would assist your store in better managing inventory and stock-keeping units while providing a very time-efficient shopping experience to your customers.
Browse the shop’s shelves through a tablet in the physical store.
Retail locations are so expensive that only a selection of items can be displayed on the shelves. By allowing customers to browse the online catalog through a tablet you are enabling them to see the full extent of your collection while helping them to learn how to shop on a digital platform and navigate your website.
Great, now that we’ve covered all relevant advice, it’s time to move towards our conclusive remarks.
There you have it! In this post, we’ve listed 5 highly effective omnichannel distribution functions your store can implement today. We need to remind ourselves that with the paradigm-shifting changes retail has been experiencing in the last few years, we need to always keep looking for new rich, and immersive shopping experiences to provide to our customers.
If you’d like to read more on the topic by looking at a famous case study of a company that was able to move past traditional retail formats, then Burberry’s flagship store in Regent Street is the perfect example of successful innovation. In this article, we discuss Burberry’s retail digitization journey in more detail.
Moreover, if you’re looking to read more on the topic this book can be of assistance to learn about the potential of digital and mobile technology applied to shopping experiences: Omnichannel Retail: How to build winning stores in a digital world.
Moreover, do not hesitate to explore our blog where we’re providing a wealth of information on fashion retail management and marketing. Enjoy!