Thursday, 15 October 2015

Omni-Channel Commerce - Strengthening the Bond between Brand and Shopper

People around the world enjoy shopping, whether they stroll through an outlet mall, gallivant in an expensive downtown area, or snatch a great sale online. Retailers do their best to attract a large number of customers in each of these avenues of shopping. However, there are still some challenges with seamlessly transitioning through each of these avenues for the best customer experience.

Sujai Shriram
Sujai Shriram

How many times have you tried to cancel an order, but the call center representative could not help you because you couldn't remember your order number? How many times have you ordered a size too small or too large but had to jump through hoops before you could return it and get what you want? How many times have you or your friends have stood in long lines on Thanksgiving to buy something you love but just wanted a better price? Not to mention, cold November, people pushing each other and even dying in a stampede! Didn't we start by saying people enjoy shopping? I can't help but pause and ponder if there is a better way. There has to be, right? The solution is Omni-channel commerce.

So what is Omni-channel commerce? Simply put, it is a philosophy that every shopping experience is an intimate interaction between one shopper and one brand at any given time; and in order to provide the best shopping experience, the retailer needs to understand their customer and service them regardless of "how" the shopping occurred. As technology mediums expand, the shopping experience starts in one channel, say a brick and mortar store, but spans across multiple channels, including mobile, tablet, or desktop website. This is where technology steps in to figure out how this whole experience can not just be seamless, but also painless and enjoyable. Hard numbers underscore the importance of this smooth, seamless transition. According to Get Elastic, based on surveys conducted by Shopify, eConsultancy, and CPC Strategy, a whopping 67.5% of the shoppers who add an item to their cart, abandon it before completing the sale. In digital marketing terms, this is called Abandonment rate. Any digital marketer would agree that keeping this abandonment rate low is a crucial component of their eCommerce strategy. Abandonment indicates that someone came to your online store, familiarized themselves with your products or searched for one specifically, and went as far as adding something to their cart, but then decided not to purchase it. Consider this - how many times do you walk into a grocery store, pick up the items you want and then leave the store without purchasing those items? In eCommerce, the abandonment rate is a powerful indicator to understanding what caused a shopper to not complete their shopping. For example, the same survey GetElastic also revealed that about two-thirds of shoppers left their carts hanging because their retailer was bound to charge them for returns. By conducting a cost-benefit analysis and, if possible, making an adjustment to the return policy to either reduce the charge or make it free, you could make a highly positive impact on your bottom line.

These are the sorts of problems Sujai Shriram loves to solve. As a digital marketing expert in the world of eCommerce, Sujai Shriram lives and breathes omni-channel commerce. His company’s specialized focus enables them to provide the entire breadth of services, along with the depth of knowledge and experience needed, to devise and execute a powerful and impactful digital commerce solution for each retail customer.