Five Habits of the Omnichannel Shopper
On every retailer’s mind is the challenge of delivering exceptional customer experiences to the new omnichannel shopper. Developments in e-commerce, mobile commerce, and social media over the last 5 years have literally redefined the physical space and timeframe in which retail transactions take place and have brought forward a brand new type of shopper. Agility Metrics has spoken with retail leaders and gleaned five key habits of the omnichannel shopper:
1. They are gluttons when it comes to product information
Back in the good ol’ days, when everybody pretty much owned the same Westinghouse fridge, gathering product information prior to a purchase was a pretty straightforward proposition. But now, with almost infinite product variety, omnichannel shoppers have to consume an enormous amount of product info in order to make intelligent purchasing decisions. They visit retailers’ websites for product specs, they follow brands on Facebook hoping to view videos, and they utilize 3rd-party smartphone apps like Amazon’s Price Check during their shopping sessions to consult online ratings and reviews.
2. They’re much more sensitive to bull****
Remember walking into a car dealership and knowing little or nothing about the cars? Maybe your uncle Larry drove a Honda, but that was about it. When it came to vehicle info, you were at the mercy of the salesman (you remember the type). If he was honest, you got a fair sense of a vehicle’s strengths and weaknesses. If he was sleazy, you got a lemon and he got a fat commission check. In the omnichannel world, however, shoppers are often far better informed than the very sales associates trying to persuade them to buy. Shoppers’ appetite for spin and dishonesty is next to nil.
3. They are both socially-influenced and social influencers
Sounds paradoxical? Well, it’s not. The omnichannel consumer is heavily influenced by the judgments, trends, and opinions of his/her social graph, but the influence arrow points both ways. A recommendation from Person A can yield a great product or shopping experience for Person B, which in turn can beget a series of recommendations aimed at Persons C, D, and E. We see this on a site like Pinterest: shoppers easily switch between playing the role of influencer and “influencee,” alternately pinning trendy items and falling under the spell of their own friends’ pins and boards.
4. They see the store as a stop in their journey, not as a destination
The store is still a star, but it’s not THE star. The website, mobile site, and social media presences are equally important stops on the omnichannel buying journey. Each one of these stops is equally likely to be a key persuasion or conversion point. This is exactly why well-respected retailers are investing to enhance their stores with more and more of the interactive wizardry of the digital touchpoints. Best Buy is currently testing “connected” stores that will be geared toward driving a dedicated multichannel experience. Similar initiatives are underway across the retail industry.
5. They require a whole new breed of customer experience analytics
The main challenge for retailers in serving their customers across multiple channels is simply keeping track of them. In most cases companies are only measuring customer feedback at the point of purchase, whether it be online or in store. But single-channel measurement is dying and retailers are demanding ways to glue together in-store data with e-commerce data, m-commerce data, and social graph data. The omnichannel consumer demands a whole need breed of customer experience analytics, which spans bricks and clicks and incorporates mobile and social.