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Omni-Channel Retail in 2017: What Brands Need to Know and Modern Consumer Shopping Habits

July 2, 2020
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You know something is new and trendy when you can’t find one unanimous spelling of it across the web. Ecommerce, e-commerce, eCommerce –– remember those days? Omni-channel (or is it omnichannel?) is the same. But it’s not just about the spelling; omni-channel lacks consistent syntax and definition, too.

What is Omni-Channel Retail?

  • Hubspot defines it as: the ability to “deliver a seamless and consistent experience across channels, while factoring in the different devices that consumers are using to interact with your business.”
  • Google defines it as: “ensuring [retailer] marketing strategies are geared toward enabling customers to convert on any channel.”
  • At BigCommerce, we internally define it as: “Stores selling both online and offline –– likely also selling through multiple online channels (i.e. on Amazon, eBay, Facebook, B2B). We’ve also been referencing the importance of listing your product wherever consumers are already spending their time. This is increasingly known as contextual commerce, a more strategic take on the overarching omni-channel term.”

Typically, omni-channel retailers aren’t startups. They also aren’t web-only shops, which means they have the capital to put some feet on the ground. That much is clear. What isn’t though, is the idea of seamlessness and retailer sophistication. From that perspective, few retailers today are successfully executing on all of their omni-channel initiatives.

This is because with the momentum toward integrating commerce across channels, there’s one big piece of the puzzle missing: what the consumer wants [infographic]. Many retailers are just guessing. Sure, they have proprietary data on how consumers are using their own channels, but ‘omni’ has latin roots in the omniscient realm, meaning perceiving all things –– not just what is happening on your own channel.

To date, no one has decoded exactly how, when and why the modern American makes a purchase. What we do know though is that nobody today shops exclusively through a single medium. Consumers buy online, in store and on marketplaces, from legacy retailers and independent brands alike.

This is why we’ve launched a new study analyzing modern, omni-channel consumer behavior. This data uncovers the details on how, when, where and why Americans buy, educating the entire commerce industry on today’s consumer shopping preferences.

You’ll see the results of our study in the following chapters and gain insight into:

  • How Americans shop across an omni-channel environment: what they buy, how much they spend and what’s stopping them from checking out more often
  • What products retailers should feature on various channels to maximize sales
  • How to increase conversion rates on all your selling channels
  • The ins and outs of your audience and their motivation for purchasing

This is what retailers need to know to implement a data-driven, omni-channel strategy today.

FREE WEBINAR AND DATA ANALYSIS

Hear from Internet Retailer’s editor in chief Don Davis, Kelton’s senior director Matt Paladino and vice president Danielle Sherman and BigCommerce’s senior product director Troy Cox on what these trends mean for the industry.

First, a quick note from the editor

This information only tells you what the customer is doing. The fundamental mistake to avoid is assuming that we’re actually asking the customer, “What do you want?” If you ask a question like this, you can’t be surprised by what you’ll hear: solutions and convenience. And requests for solutions will almost always be disappointing for companies that are trying to innovate.

According to Harvard Business Review: “Customers only know what they have experienced. They cannot imagine what they don’t know about emergent technologies, new materials, and the like. What customer, for example, would have asked for the microwave oven, Velcro or Post-It Notes? At the time the transistor was being developed, radio and television manufacturers were still requesting improved vacuum tubes.”

We offer these survey results as important data in furthering the understanding of the modern consumer. Read about our methodology here. What innovations occur next is up to the retailers. Sign up to for a webinar tomorrow, 6/7, on how this data provides insight into how to merchandise across channels.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the data.

OMNICHANNEL RETAIL CHECKLIST: PUTTING DATA TO ACTION

Download the full list of action items for retailers based on the data found throughout this article.

Author: Tracey Wallace
Tracey Wallace is the Editor-in-Chief at BigCommerce, where she covers all things ecommerce: marketing, design, development, strategy, plus emerging trends, including omnichannel and cloud replatforming.She is often featured in publications, such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Mashable, and ELLE, along with leading BigCommerce partners like HubSpot and Square. She launched her career in ecommerce with Y-Combinator backed Shoptiques.