Instead of one single, physical point of sale, today’s shoppers are making purchases across multiple channels—from stores and pop-up shops to apps, websites, and social media feeds. And they often combine these channels, researching products online and using digital touchpoints to compare and buy while in store.
In the U.S. in 2022, 38% of retail sales happened offline (often in a physical store) but were influenced by a prior digital experience.1 Today’s consumer expects all these experiences to work together, making them feel recognized and rewarded. If your channels aren’t fully personalized and frictionless, customers may consider switching brands.
So how can you design an omnichannel experience that will keep your customers engaged?
1. Know your audience
Knowing your audience is key to giving them experiences that they’ll love—and that will keep them coming back. With the pace of digital change, you’ll need to keep up with their changing expectations around product choice, delivery options, and payment options—to name a few.
It's also important to develop omnichannel experiences for your target demographic. For instance, 61% of U.S. consumers under 25 have made a purchase within a social network, whereas only 29% of 45–50-year-olds have.2 Younger generations are happily embracing new ways to shop, whereas older demographics may stay with their preferred channels—but could start to embrace new ones in the future.
Consider the nature of your business and your products: smaller, frequently purchased items, like cosmetics, could be suitable for social media, whereas consumers might prefer a more hands-on buying experience for higher-value purchases like cars. What’s important is that you make your products accessible, keeping your audiences and their preferences in mind. And when you embrace digital channels, take the time to build a satisfying customer experience with a strong payment network and infrastructure.
2. Play to each channel’s strengths
To cement customer loyalty—and enable growth—capitalize on each platform’s strengths. Physical retail stores may still be necessary for some brands, so that shoppers can touch or try products. Combining this seamlessly with a digital experience means shoppers can make informed purchases and be confident they are getting the best price. We can see this strategy rolled out in some furniture stores and other merchants that benefit from a showroom setting . Buyers can choose to have larger items delivered or even order online and collect in-store. Physical stores are therefore often a critical part of the customer journey.
3. Make it easy
Combining the physical and digital doesn’t just make buying easier—it can make it more satisfying for consumers, too.
- It’s easier to discover products. The suggestion function on many websites can help them find new things they love.
- It gives them greater confidence in their purchases. Shoppers like to research, review, and compare prices to be certain of their choice.
- It allows them to get better value for money, utilizing promo codes and deals that might not be advertised in store.
And providing a range of delivery and payment options is key to capturing a sale. Research shows that payment method choice is the most important consideration for consumers, with digital wallets quickly becoming the most popular method.3 In short, the more ways they can pay, the more likely shoppers are to check out, add to your revenue, and help you expand.
4. Provide the right payment options
When it comes to payments, convenience is key, and what’s convenient differs by channel. Optimize your payments strategy with key consumer insights; for example, card or mobile wallet (contactless) payments might be preferred by consumers in store, but online they are likely to opt for buy now, pay later. Understand the preferences of your key markets and offer the local payment methods that suit them.
It's safe to say that getting payments right should be at the top of your agenda if you’re looking to grow your business. Understanding your audience and the different channels can be a key driver of growth.
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1 Forrester, “Predictions 2023: Retail,” published October 2022.
2 Forrester, “Consumers Haven’t — And Don’t Plan To — Shop Via Social Media,” published November 2022.
3 Global Digital Shopping Index
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