The Omni-Channel Gap: A New Opportunity for Retailers
Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part blog series (Part 2 available here) that will define the omni-channel gap and explain how retailers can bridge this gap between physical and online stores, inspired by our white paper, Live Interactive Video: A New Omni-Channel Touchpoint.
Earning consumer attention is not an easy feat, especially when people are just a click away from the next cat video (or competitor). Retailers are not only competing with other retailers but also Grumpy Cat, Snapchat, and whatever their potential buyers’ friends are doing on Facebook.
To hold consumer attention and compete, retailers strive to get more leverage out of a consistent omni-channel approach.
TechTarget defines omni-channel as “The seamless melding of the advantages of in-store (brick and mortar) shopping with the information-rich experience of online shopping.”
But what about the gap that exists between physical and online stores? Many retailers are missing opportunities to combine each channel’s benefits and engage with consumers in a new way. We call this the omni-channel gap.
Physical and online stores each have their pros and cons. In physical stores, customers can reach out to in-store experts or other shoppers with their questions, making personal connections. They can touch and experience products, but they do not get the highly-detailed information, product reviews, and easy buy-from-home convenience of online shopping.
The opposite is true of online stores, which offer plenty of information and convenience but lack the human touch and interaction.
Bridging the omni-channel gap means giving customers the best of both worlds.
Retailers have an opportunity to stand out from the competition by providing a new middle-ground touchpoint between physical and online stores. Savvy retailers will give customers a way to ask questions, engage with real humans and experience products, while also having the options to access detailed information and easily make online orders, all in one platform.
If retailers don’t bridge the gap between their physical and online stores, they risk losing customers. An Infosys report found that 69% of consumers say a retailer’s consistency across various channels affects their loyalty to a brand, and 62% say consistency has an effect on their tendency to spend with a brand.
Consumers want a middle-ground touchpoint that creates positive, engaging, consistent experiences across physical and online stores. Retailers who bridge the omni-channel gap and provide genuine human connections over digital channels will win.