A Unified Shopping Experience To Benefit You & Your Customers

19 October 2023

The way we shop has changed and there is no single linear journey that the consumers of today take. Your customers don’t differentiate between your brand online vs. in-store and are often left exasperated by disconnected experiences that don’t meet their expectations. The ultimate goal of the omnichannel store is to create a hyper-frictionless and personalised shopping journey for your customers. Key to this is how and one of the first major hurdles to overcome is how to seamlessly connect your physical stores to your online store and marketplaces.

How many of you shop online? How many of you also shop in-store? I bet the majority. But what drives you to do one over the other? Is it the availability of time, the urgency of your need, or perhaps it comes down to your level of intent for each purchase?

A growing percentage of shopping is done online

It’s predicted that 59% of consumers will shop online this peak. That’s 10% more than in 2022 and you’re quite possibly one of these consumers. Shopping online gives us the chance to browse, sitting with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie while wearing our PJs and figuring out what on earth we’re going to buy Aunty Carol for Christmas. It allows us to shop around, and compare products, pricing, and promotions to maximise our budgets while providing access to brands that don’t have local stores or we can’t get to so easily.

There is so much talk around online vs. in-store that we’re sucked into a constant battle between the growth of one and the survival of the other. Yet there’s a better way!

Create convenience with click-and-collect

When you order online you never quite know what day the item will be delivered – not unless you pay extra for it. There’s uncertainty around what day your purchase could be delivered and whether you’ll be in – after all, many of us are back in the office full-time or at least working to a hybrid model. There’s no guarantee that we’ll be home, and this is a major consumer concern with 40% stating deliveries arriving late or when no one is available is their main worry when it comes to online orders.

Instead, as you travel back from work, stopping by your local shopping centre and being able to conveniently collect all your orders and still be home in time for tea is the perfect solution. Click-and-collect has become commonplace with many retailers offering some form of collection service from stores of choice, however, the customer experience around click-and-collect can leave much to be desired.

From poor signposting in-store to long waits as store colleagues struggle to locate your parcel within a growing mountain of packages, the processes are inconsistent and can leave customers feeling forgotten and frustrated. Clarity of communication is key to customers, where in the store should they go to? Is there a destination dedicated to picking up click-and-collect orders, or should they visit customer service? What do they need to be able to collect an order? Just a collection number? What about ID? Can someone collect on their behalf? All these questions need to be clearly answered.

Introducing click-and-collect to your retail stores is a key step towards connecting your online and in-store experience but a robust strategy that gives store colleagues appropriate visibility of orders and collections is needed. Clarity for colleagues is just as important and simple processes supported by the right tools are essential to help them to best serve customers and adjust to their changing role that is being driven by omnichannel working.

Better utilise your stock to meet demand

A true omnichannel strategy is beneficial to both customers and your retail business. By connecting your online and in-store channels, you can better utilise stock to meet online demand. Too often we see retailers separate their stock to fulfil different channels, limiting stock availability and leading to out-of-stock products online.

Your stock could well sell better in one store over another and online might sell out faster than in-store. With the right omnichannel solution, this challenge is mitigated as your stores become an extension of your central warehouse and their stock is available to support online demand.

By connecting your stores and online sales channels, you can tap into stock wherever it may be. Not only does the ability to pick and ship from stores prevent lost revenue due to lack of availability, but it also means you can reduce excess stock and slow-moving lines in-store by using the goods to support online sales.

Enable web returns in-store

The cost of returns to online retailers is huge and charging customers for return delivery is a topic of contention. Being able to seamlessly support the return of online orders in-store is one way to mitigate the loss of margin and offer convenience to customers at the same time.

This can be a challenge depending on the systems you have in place, and we often speak to retailers who are unable to process refunds in the store due to a lack of visibility of online order data. This can be overcome with a solution such as Pick IQ which enables online returns to be dealt with promptly by store colleagues.

How can your retail business benefit from Pick IQ?

To thrive in this evolving landscape, retailers must continue to seek ways to enhance the customer experience and optimise their rising costs. Pick IQ is a software application that seamlessly connects in-store and online, enabling retailers to deliver a unified experience across channels that better serves customer needs. From click and collect to the processing of online returns in-store, or even the picking of stock in-store to fulfil both collection and delivery orders, with Pick IQ your retail business is ready to thrive. If you’re ready to learn more about Pick IQ and how it could revolutionise your omnichannel experience, contact our expert team and we’ll be happy to talk to you.

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