In a year that can’t exactly be described as having gone to plan, there is one thing retailers can do that will fill their customers with joy. Or at least a sense of relief. To have a retail experience that feels not just normal—or almost normal—but one that exceeds expectations and makes shopping pleasurable again.
With national and regional guidelines surrounding COVID-19 being subject to change at short notice, the ability to modify the location of customer interactions and stock distribution provides a huge advantage. It facilitates continuity instead of disruption and closure.
Whereas modifying legacy systems may require complex changes involving hard coding, companies using headless commerce microservices have the flexibility and agility needed to meet their customers’ demands promptly, wherever and however they shop.
Why tie a business down with systems that are unable to evolve, and struggle to survive when circumstances change rapidly, when more agile options exist?
“In modern Retail we need to move fast to deliver what the business needs both from a store and Omnichannel perspective and the Enactor Platform enables that.”
A McKinsey report noted that COVID-19 has disrupted brand loyalty, with customers switching to brands they can purchase by ‘safe’ means such as contactless. While customers may not always show unbridled loyalty, they remember when a supplier fails to meet their expectations. And they can quickly share their experience, and the emotion it induced, with friends and social media contacts. Ensuring a consistently positive brand experience with safe purchase channels should help prevent brand switching.
The flexibility of an omnichannel approach benefits both customer and retailer.
3 ways omnichannel gives customer satisfaction:
- Seamless retail experience, even at peak times
Whether customers choose to avoid non-essential shops, or stores have to close their premises due to lockdown restrictions, customer touchpoints must be consistent, and fulfilment needs to be flexible. And the retailer must have the ability to adapt these rapidly. Cross-channel baskets and wish lists are benefits of an omnichannel strategy.
- Rapid stock delivery to wherever it is needed
As we enter the annual peak season, starting around Black Friday, scalability of services is key. It is no good taking additional orders if they cannot be fulfilled in a timely manner. Leveraging store stock to fulfil orders, either for click and collect or home delivery, enables more stock to be available to the customer with short delivery lead times, while reducing the risk of overstock.
- Real-time inventory visibility, no matter where the customer is
Using a single platform for mobile and fixed POS, which incorporates inventory management, makes for a smoother ordering experience. Store associates are able to provide the customer with real-time information on inventory levels, which can be reserved for item pickers to select for shipping. Online purchases may be dispatched via home delivery services, or where customers can click and collect, stock must be diverted to the appropriate store or collection location.
Make peak season in 2020 memorable for the right reasons. Leveraging omnichannel to provide customers with a seamless retail experience, whether online, in-store, or both, has got to be one of the best presents a company can give.