In the last few years, we’ve seen a great deal of power put into the customer’s hands. The freedom to shop from our smartphones and order items online through websites with little more than a click or a tap has given us control of the shopping experience. The ability to tweet customer complaints or leave a comment on a company’s Facebook page about a product or service increases this power.
In response to this new consumerist modality, smart brands are making a shift to stay connected with their consumer markets. By integrating all their brand platforms—brick and mortar stores, websites, mobile apps, social networks, catalogs, and more—companies are able to better serve customer’s needs.
This multi-channel shopping phenomenon is called “omni-channel retailing,” and the good news is that it’s undeniably customer-centric.
How Omni-Channel Retailing Affects You
Many dubbed 2012 “the year of the consumer.” More than ever before, customers have the power to make or break companies based on their approval or dissatisfaction with products and services. The swift expansion of digital channels has given consumers the ability to gain easier access to brands, and have more influence over them. Companies cannot afford to ignore complaints when those complaints are posted, for instance, on their Facebook wall.
The most forward and driven retail brands are becoming quickly aware of this fact. No longer are their sales based strictly on products or catchy TV commercials.
In 2013, with more customers than ever using mobile devices that allow them to stay connected 24/7, retail brands must now focus on how their consumer markets perceive and experience their products and services.
One example of a brand that’s successfully embraced the omni-channel retailing experience is the well-known jewelry store chain, Kay Jewelers.
Retail Brands Going “Omni”
By launching profiles on the social media channels Facebook and Twitter, as well as going live with mobile sites and redesigning their regular website, Kay has been able to deliver a top-notch omni-channel experience to their customers.
Their foremost goal was to give consumers the ability to browse and interact with their website easily and comfortably.
Kay wanted to give online shoppers the feeling that shopping through the website provided you with as many options as it would if you were inside an actual store, whether it was chatting live with a sales associate or checking an available credit balance.
The customer-centric, omni-channel experience has certainly worked out well for Kay, who reported a 49% increase in online sales from the 2012 holiday season.
Next: The Omni-Channel Experience (Part 2)—The Brands That Work for You