An omnichannel approach has become increasingly popular in the retail sector. With an omnichannel outlook, retailers acknowledge that their customers may engage with their brand in a variety of ways, across all platforms. Because of this, they place their customers at the center of the strategy — when it comes to sales, marketing and more.
By providing a shopping experience through a variety of channels, it is said that shoppers have more loyalty to that brand. Omnichannel is also a key tactic used to strengthen brick-and-mortar retail stores. By leveraging the power provided by the online world and integrating that into physical stores, this provides shoppers with a consistent omnichannel experience.
When it comes to reopening and recovering in a post-COVID world, brick and mortar will need to adapt to omnichannel strategies, such as buy-online, pick-up in-store. This approach guarantees a safer, but also personalized shopping experience to provide an overall greater convenience to customers.
Many retailers have already adapted to this change, including Lululemon. The athletic apparel company saw strong online performance during COVID-19, however as they move through the rest of 2020, they want to use physical experiences as a key ingredient to forward-thinking initiatives in the industry.
“Our strong digital business demonstrates the strength of our guest connection and the long-term opportunity to create further Omni experiences going forward,” said Calvin McDonald, Lululemon’s Chief Executive Officer.
Lululemon realizes this potential opportunity, and instead of shifting to solely e-commerce, they want to incorporate physical and digital into one. This will prove to be a favorable and successful model for the brand and its continued success.
Similarly, Duluth Trading has seen success in the strength of omnichannel. Although their stores were closed during April, total company sales for the month exceeded last year’s numbers by over 5%.
“Given the success we’ve seen in our omnichannel sales during this time, we have high conviction in the strength of the Duluth Trading brand and are excited about our future,” said Steve Schlecht, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
A recent partnership between two powerhouse retailers, Walmart and Shopify, further proves the much-needed relationship of two concepts (digital and physical) and the need for these to coexist and work together. Shopify sellers will be working together with Walmart to introduce their products/services to Walmart’s marketplace.
Based on a Gen Z study we conducted, data showed that there “is a favorable correlation between the opening of a brick-and-mortar and increase of online traffic to the brand’s website. In other words, it’s a lot more cost effective to operate a retail brand with an omnichannel model, with brick-and-mortar as the driving anchor.”
We also found that operating physical stores lowers the brand’s expense of paid online traffic. Not only were PPC costs lower, but also the distribution of carrying expenses per physical store were significantly reduced.
There has been numerous research findings to prove that younger generations prefer to shop brick-and-mortar stores vs. online. Many of these consumers see online and offline activities as related, but with different benefits. Gen Z and Millennials both want a seamless shopping experience, whether its online or in-store, therefore an omnichannel mindset is essential.
By recognizing that physical and digital have formed an alliance, we can then better understand how they empower one another and overall strengthen brick-and-mortar retail.