54 percent of consumers say that they’ll look at a product online and buy it in-store over the next year. That number will only go up. Equally, 53 percent are likely to look at a product in-store and buy it online.
The way consumers shop continues to change. Many retail stores deal with a challenging landscape as customers want a well-rounded experience. From multi-channel shopping to delivery and order fulfillment developments, retail stores must find a way to offer an online and offline experience to match customer expectations.
Consumers want in-store experiences that match their personalized online experience.
Sound overwhelming? It doesn’t need to be. This article will tell you how to delight your customers and make the most of omnichannel POS.
5 Things you Need to Know About Omnichannel POS
The traditional retail model is single-channel. Retailers either had a brick-and-mortar store or an online store. But customers now expect a bit of both. They want the convenience of online shopping with the experience and human element of shopping in-store.
The omnichannel retail strategy integrates all existing shopping channels. Using centralized data management, brands can blur the lines between online and offline to allow customers to use all channels in their shopping process.
Omnichannel shopping offers customers multiple ways to connect with brands across various channels and complete their purchases. It’s flexible, convenient, and even provides 24-hour access, which helps build brand loyalty.
Retailers also have access to more analytics that help them understand customer behavior and create a personalized shopping experience.
Shifts in consumer behavior and expectations mean that now is the time to optimize the omnichannel experience.
Customers want to see relevant messaging and product recommendations. They want to be able to purchase online yet return products to a physical store. The ability to shop how they want to significantly influences a customer’s purchase decisions.
1. Where are Your Customers Shopping?
Just because omnichannel is a big opportunity, it doesn’t mean you should jump right in without thinking through exactly what it means for your brand. You need to know your customers and what they want. Spreading yourself too thin might mean you provide subpar service on multiple channels instead of excellent service on one.
Where do your customers hang out? Do they interact with you on your website or social media? Do the majority of your customers prefer to shop in-store or on online marketplaces? You have to do what’s right for your business.
You can use your retail POS system to gather and analyze data like your customer base's primary demographic, age, and where they like to shop or expect to find you. You might collect data on the percentage of customers who buy online and pick up in-store or how they interact with promotions and loyalty programs.
You can also use POS data to inform marketing and sales strategies. You can experiment with showing up on different channels and monitoring growth. With centralized data, you benefit from all sales and transaction data synced in one spot instead of on separate systems, which helps streamline operations.
2. Create a 360-Degree Customer Profile
As mentioned, your POS system collects data on customers, whether online or in-store. You can then connect your in-store and online systems to create a profile. You don’t want data siloed and incomplete profiles.
If you get to know your customers and understand their shopping habits and behaviors, you can offer a truly personalized shopping experience. 91 percent of consumers shop with businesses that provide personalized and relevant marketing and offers.
With the data you gather and analyze, use your POS system to send personalized messages, offers, and discounts to customers enrolled in your loyalty program.
You can also segment your audience for customized marketing campaigns. For example, you might invite your top spenders to exclusive events. They’re likely to share their experiences on social media and further your brand's reach. Your customers are your best marketers.
Related Read: 5 Marketing Resources for New Business Owners
3. Provide a Complete Customer Experience
As well as collecting data on customers to exceed their expectations and personalize their experience, you can provide a link between online and in-store shopping. Make it easy for them to use multiple channels with options like BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) to pay for items on your web store and get them in person.
These seamless experiences offer multiple touchpoints, and the more channels your customers use, the more valuable they are.
There are certain things you can provide in-store that won’t work online. For example, 80 percent of consumers make their impulse purchases in a physical store rather than online. Some customers prefer to talk to people face-to-face, build relationships, and like the idea of customer displays and in-store tablets to browse a catalog and price check. Others prefer the convenience and speed of online shopping. It might be more convenient, for example, to window shop in a store but order from an inventory base for home delivery.
4. Efficient Operations Are Possible
You need fully-integrated operations for omnichannel to provide your customers and employees with a seamless experience. With a robust POS system, all aspects of your business operations are linked together. Everything you need to be successful is in one place, from automated inventory to ordering and logistics, sales to customer service, and order fulfillment to reports.
Powerful automated inventory management is paramount. When products sell across multiple locations and channels, inventory levels must update in real-time so you know what’s available and in what quantities.
You can also decide which products you want to sell in-store or online. Your store might only be able to hold a fraction of the products you sell, but there are no limits to what you can sell online. You can clarify which locations have stock of specific products and let customers know where they can find them.
Order fulfillment is more challenging with an omnichannel strategy if you don’t shore up your supply chain and logistics. You'll need inventory visibility and accurate forecasts to plan supply chain activities. You’ll need to communicate effectively with vendors and mitigate shipping delays.
Return processes should be just as seamless as initial delivery, and the option to return items easily online or in-store is the best practice. All of these processes must be digitized. Paper-based processes to capture data are too unreliable and time-consuming to run an efficient operation.
5. The Benefits are Two-Fold: It’s Better for You and Your Customers
Powerful analytics across multiple channels creates an experience that your customers love. The ability to shop 24/7, a truly personalized experience, and the convenience of numerous touchpoints help delight your customers and help you to increase profits. Omnichannel shoppers spend up to 20 percent more than single-channel shoppers.
For you, analytics inform you of everything you need to know to run a successful operation. You can use inventory reporting to observe trends and plan for the future, and you can run seasonal promotions online and in-store. If you determine your top sellers, you can change your store layout and presentation, and you can consolidate multiple stores on one system.
It works better for your employees, too. Store associates have real-time inventory data across your online and brick-and-mortar stores, meaning they can help customers find what they’re looking for.
A Customizable POS System is a Must in the Omnichannel Age
The key to omnichannel success is finding the right POS system with functionality that enables you to build a robust omnichannel program. The ideal POS system also needs to be able to grow with you. But which POS system is best for your business needs?
Our hybrid POS system delivers the benefits of both on-premises and cloud POS systems. From the software to the hardware to onboarding and customer support, you’ll have everything you need to employ an omnichannel strategy.
You can schedule a demo with one of our product specialists to see the ins and outs of our hybrid POS system.
We’d also recommend trying out our Build & Price tool to build out your perfect POS system and get a price quote.