A Solution to Bridge the Online and Brick-and-mortar Gap

e-Commerce has grown in both adoption rates and sales volume over the last two decades. Now, buyers ...

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Posted by Dave Food on Nov 21, 2018 5:00:03 PM
Dave Food

e-Commerce has grown in both adoption rates and sales volume over the last two decades. Now, buyers transfer rapidly across sales channels, demanding accurate information, accessibility, excellent service, and validation from peers. Customer behaviour has advanced as well, and the consumer journey has matured concerning cleverness, with many factors influencing buying decisions at all points during the journey.

Some e-tailers have made the come back to the old brick—and—mortar store, as a way to offer the customer an opportunity to interact with their brands truly, to get closer to their customers, and leave an impressive bran mark on their minds. This return has so far paid its benefits.

Established for a while these brands have both online and physical presence with e-commerce sites and showrooms. But, running both offline and online channels separately means that data, especially CRM Customer Relationship Management (CRM) data, is not satisfactorily shared across both systems. When operating these two channels independently, it presents a particular challenge for both brand and customer. This creates an undesirable impact on customers who shop on both the e-commerce site and the physical showroom.

Consequently, there would be a need for each customer to create two profiles, one for the online store and another for the brick-and-mortar shop. Customer profile, such as buying history and reward points for loyalty program– if any, could not be transferred from one platform to the other.

What did they do?

They migrated their e-Commerce websites to a platform which could combine both to offer a better digital experience while founding a new Point of Sale (POS) system that could be integrated with their online system to create a steady shopping experience throughout both channels.

After a particular time, these retailers selected a new in-store POS system which synchronises entirely with the database and set up on the new websites, particularly the customer database, making it easier for operators to explore exiting customers without having to export customer database manually, but synchronising it instantly to maintain a unified customer database for a smooth customer experience.

From now on, customers no longer have to worry about losing their brand benefits when they change over to different sales channel, as their profiles are now stored in a single-safety place, as part of the unified database, making their information available on all channels. Online and in-store points can be accumulated and pay indistinctly in both at the same time.

Retailers received encouraging customer feedback to these upgrades measures taken so far and gave them the motivation to further invest in improving the customer experience. They have been making efforts to restructure the process of buying and redeeming a gift card. These "gift card" are now an option to give to relatives and friends on special occasions, such as Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries or other celebrations. It provides the opportunity for customers to redeem such gift cards whether it is on their online or showrooms, whichever is more convenient for them. This new approach pays for itself, bringing better gains.

SUMMING UP: when focus on unifying their sales channels to offer customers an efficient online-to-offline experience was crucial for these futurist retailers. After sorting out database issues, they are now augmenting their off-line engagement by providing special customer workshops to learn more about how to use their products, with the aim to engage with customers more. For example, offering a self-service cafe next to the classroom to take a break or for those waiting or accompanying your loyal customer. It is all about creating an excellent, memorable experience for your customer, while you improve your sales and revenue.

Dave Food

Prophetic Technology

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