Integrating the physical and digital channel for an unforgettable customer experience.
Continuous digital technology development and ecommerce progress mean that even the way we purchase goods and services is evolving. Even physical stores are changing as they not only integrate in-store technology, but connect with the digital world to offer a continuous omnichannel experience.
The purchase routes that see synergistic, integrated and hybrid use of touch-points online and offline, used during the search of information and the purchase are spreading.
According to Accenture study “High Performance Delivered 2018” di Accenture ” 69% of customers want omnichannel services and multi-channel customers are typically 15% more profitable than digital customers. They are also 25% more profitable than customers who only have “human experiences”, and therefore of those who make traditional purchases.
The global purchasing market is constantly changing; it has already changed in the most dynamic countries and for the highly digitized, well-informed customers. Thus, the businesses need to get advantage of the constant opportunities.
The gap between the desired and the offered omnichannel in Italy
The omnichannel strategies require the involvement of several touchpoints, but only in one in five cases there is a high degree of commitment and agreement among all (Omnichannel Observatory Customer Experience data by the School of Management of the Milan Polytechnic).
In Italy the current gap between the desired and binding offer limits those non-stop consumers who want to have an omnichannel customer experience. The strategies of Italian companies are currently short-term and linked to the improvement of customer acquisition and / or increase in sales.
This is a transformation that will require Italian retailers to bring the store into a true omnichannel business strategy, supported by integrated Point of Commerce (POC) capabilities. It should change the role of the physical store, which, in the omnichannel strategy, can be reduced, since there is no need in the warehouse with all the goods and the retailer can concentrate on delivery and brand experience.
Italians omnichannel brands
Many online players have understood the importance of the interaction between the physical store and the digital world. The examples are now very many: Game Stop, a Texas-based multinational compony with a network of 6700 owned stores (430 in Italy) built an omnichannel business, as all the online activity is a driver to generate in-store conversion.
On the other hand, companies born from the experience of face-to-face purchase, such as Unieuro, a chain of electronic and household products, have launched a “click & collect” service, allowing customers to order an item online and collect it in-store . The service, increasingly requested, is already offered by numerous chains such as Tigotà, Euronics, Decathlon, Bata, Feltrinelli, Coop, Naturasì, Prenatal, Intimissimi, Pittarello, OVS and many other retailers.
At the same time there are not many Italian brands that are moving towards increasingly advanced services, such as ordering in-store from an online catalog, personal shopper consultation, or trying items booked on the web directly in the store and have them sent home or get refunded.
Unfortunately, according to Omnichannel Customer Experience Observatory data promoted by the School of Management of the Milan Polytechnic, almost a quarter of the realities mapped in Italy do not yet integrate data on customers or prospects from different sources to create a unique view on customer and 40% manages in this context at the most two or three types of information, basically the simplest ones (such as customer details and purchase history).
The most discouraging fact is that over a third of the companies studied do not trace or reconstruct the customer journey of the customer, 44% do so but only on digital touch-points, while only 20% are able to do it on all physical and digital channels.
Having tools to trace and analyze the customer’s journey is essential to sustain the brands that want to make the most of the information they possess.