Omnichannel Retail Reality. New? Or Now!

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This week we launched OmniPath® – a holistic approach allowing  brands to map and understand consumer behavior, in order to influence shopper choice in the omnichannel Path-to-Purchase.

Leading up to our launch we did a lot of research to understand how consumers discover, shop for, and purchase products online and in brick-and-mortar environments.  We were fascinated by a statistic in an HBR article from as long ago as 2017 (We know that was light years ago, right?).

The article detailed findings in a study of 45,000 US consumers and raised the following:

“Of the study participants, only 7% were online-only shoppers and 20% were store-only shoppers. The remaining majority, or 73%, used multiple channels during their shopping journey. We call them omnichannel customers

The (study results) show that the retailer’s omnichannel customers are more valuable on multiple counts. After controlling for shopping experience, they spent an average of 4% more on every shopping occasion in the store and 10% more online than single-channel customers. Even more compelling, with every additional channel they used, the shoppers spent more money in the store.”

Chasing these high-value shoppers and capturing share of wallet is the competitive challenge facing all brands.  Adoption of online retail has exploded since, and what we subsequently learned in our own research was that in some categories, the number of consumers shopping online has grown to around 60%.

Here’s the key point: Whether the ultimate purchase was online or in the traditional brick-and-mortar store, we found that as many as 81% of consumers are researching products online, at all the phases of the Path-to-Purchase, many even at the shelf on their mobile devices at the physical store!

The Path-to-Purchase is definitely digital and more complex than ever.  Those brands who understand the shopper journey, identify the inflection points at which they can greatest influence a consumer and apply behavioral design to optimize those interventions, have the best chance to win in the increasingly competitive sport of omnichannel retail.

In China, it is called “new retail” and some of the most extraordinary innovations we see in that region will be the standard for retail in a rapidly evolving landscape elsewhere.

But should brands be thinking about the omnichannel Reality as “new”?  Or worse:  The Future?

Anecdotally, during a lunch break, we asked one of the younger staffers the following question:  “Do you remember a time when the only shopping experience was in physical brick-and-mortar?” She looked a bit quizzical and responded: “Well, no!” and went back to researching on her mobile phone, the latest gluten-free options she was going to pick up at the store on her way home.  One of our older staffers actually suggested “click and collect”, and pointed out a grocery delivery app he uses regularly.  But you get our point: the Path-to-Purchase is no longer linear, either/or, online or offline.  It doesn’t just fit neatly into a segment like “millennials”. It is Omni! And it needs a behavioral lens to decode and activate it effectively.

Omnichannel Reality is NOW. We are excited to help brands harness the power of behavioral design to create holistic interventions along the digital Path-to-Purchase that can influence consumers and drive sales.

Contact us to learn more!

Ruben Nazario is the Vice President of Product Innovation at Behaviorally (formerly PRS) and provided this blog post in September 2019 when he was Vice President of Product Innovation of PRS IN VIVO USA.
Follow Ruben Nazario on Twitter @RubenDNazario or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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