The past year has changed the way we shop and raised our expectations for the omnichannel experience.
Since the coronavirus outbreak began, the Ipsos E-commerce Experience Report found a 78% spike in shopper usage of “buy online, pick up in-store” (BOPIS) and curbside pick up. As many as 69% of these consumers plan to maintain or increase their use of picking up orders after the pandemic.
Today, shoppers expect stores to have a dedicated area for contactless pickup, easy account creation online or in-app, accurate and on-time delivery, and easy instructions for all of the above. In the future, retailers will also be expected to optimize operations for in-store browsing while allowing seamless and contactless pickup experiences, and integrating the online, in-app and in-store experience with modern payment methods.
By following these steps, brands can further refine the shopping experience and retain and grow their customers through what comes next:
Know where you stand: Review customer behaviors. How are they shopping? How have their shopping behaviors changed due to the pandemic? How do they intend to shop post-pandemic? How has your brand succeeded in pivoting to new shopping methods? How does your performance benchmark against key competitors and category leaders from across industries?
Define your game plan: Focusing solely on in-store shopping is no longer an option unless you are catering to a niche audience. Develop your e-tail strategy: Re-evaluate your store format, invest in web and app channels and integrate the online experience with the in-store, making it easy for customers to hop in and out seamlessly.
Innovate and pilot: Focus on executing on your e-tail vision iteratively—innovate, pilot, evaluate and scale. Don’t be afraid to pilot bold ideas—this is your chance to define a whole new experience and be known for it. Evaluate how technology can help, from sensors to determine optimal in-store traffic flow to in-app checkout. The sky is the limit!
Measure your performance: It is critical to evaluate your brand’s performance as you roll out initiatives. Various tools can help, including gathering customer feedback in real time as customers exit your stores, or deploying mystery shoppers to objectively evaluate and report back on each step of the process.