From Connected to Disconnected: Bringing Online Shoppers In-Store
From their phone app to the store aisle, today’s connected consumers expect seamless experiences that unify their buying journeys across every channel they choose. In this blog series, we’ll explore how an omni-channel customer engagement strategy can successfully drive revenue and satisfaction in practice—starting with bringing online customers in-store.
As the world has gone digital, so has shopping. In 2018 alone, consumers spent more than $517 billion online with U.S. merchants, up 15% from 2017. But while online shopping presents retailers with another opportunity to boost revenue outside of store walls, brick-and-mortar experiences are still on top in terms of transactions—in fact, e-commerce accounted for only 14.3% of total retail sales in 2018.
E-commerce experiences can, however, be powerfully combined with in-store shopping to drive revenue and customer engagement in new and lucrative ways. Often, customers’ online shopping and browsing experiences are never acknowledged, let alone continued, in-store. A recent survey found that 78% of U.S. retailers don’t feel that their customers have unified experiences between the digital and physical realms. By relying on a customer engagement strategy that transcends channel to deliver true omni-channel experiences, retailers can transform page visits into foot traffic—and ultimately drive sales. Let’s walk through such a strategy step-by-step.
James is on his laptop looking for a new television. He browses through the options and is leaning towards a particular brand of plasma screen, even spending a few minutes on a technology retailer’s order page for the television to read more about its dimensions, features, and capabilities.
An omni-channel customer engagement strategy, generally powered by an intelligent Customer Engagement Hub (CEH), registers and accounts for this activity, which indicates the beginning of a new buying journey for James. The intelligent CEH takes note of the particular product that James seems most interested in.
The next day, James is still considering his television options. While at work, he opens the retailer’s smartphone app to check out the latest tech deals. He’s greeted with a pop-up promotion for the plasma screen model he viewed on his laptop yesterday.
Just because James is using a new channel doesn’t mean his current buying journey has come to an end—and the CEH knows this. Using an ML model to enhance the relevancy of customer engagement, it chooses the right message to display to James in order to encourage him to continue on his current path to purchase, regardless of his new mobile channel. This keeps his television top-of-mind.
While James is out running errands later in the week, he enters a shopping complex with a brick-and-mortar location of the technology retailer’s store. His phone buzzes with a push notification from the retailer’s app: “James: Stop by the store for 10% off all plasma screen televisions. Today only!”
With the goal of shifting this interaction to an in-person setting where transaction is more likely to take place, the CEH takes the first opportunity in which James’ phone is within the Wi-Fi range of a store location in order to engage him. The CEH knows that he is in close proximity to the store and the specific product he has in mind—and has combined these factors, together with an incentivizing offer, to continue his journey on a new, in-store channel.
Pleased by the offer, James stops by the technology retailer before leaving the shopping center. Once inside, he receives another notification: “Hi, James: Tap here for directions to the television section.” James uses his app to navigate successfully to the television he viewed online.
Connected to in-store Wi-Fi beaconing tools similar to the technology that registered James’ presence in the shopping center in the first place, the CEH is able to track James as he moves throughout the store connected to the Wi-Fi with his phone. By doing so, the CEH provides enhanced, helpful customer engagement that further increases the likelihood of an in-store purchase.
James finds his television—and a store associate who talks him through the specialized features of the plasma screen, pushing James over the edge and convincing him to make the purchase he’s been contemplating. Using his 10% off offer, James successfully completes his purchase, and heads home satisfied.
When deployed on an intelligent CEH solution, omni-channel customer engagement strategies allow a customers’ current shopping journey to span the devices and formats that are most convenient for them, and as a result, drive spend and elevate their experiences. This dynamic process not only takes journeys from online to in-store, but from disjointed to fully connected.