Following a long period of self-isolation for most shoppers, in-store retail is experiencing something of a rebound. Yet long-term, there is evidence that its future is uncertain. A report by Forrester notes that while online shopping is projected to grow to 27% of overall retail sales by 2023, consumers are rethinking the in-store experience - with 40% of adults in the US saying they enjoy shopping in stores less than before the pandemic.
Once considered separate sales channels, recent years have seen online and offline integration creating new opportunities for retailers. A hybrid ‘O2O’ retail model bridges the two channels with a single strategy - elevating in-store shopping with digitally-enhanced experiences, while providing enticing virtual environments online. As customers become more experience-driven, the gap between e-commerce and physical stores is further reduced, with completely re-imagined customer journeys.
Virtual shopping with live digital support
Online shoppers can be instantly connected to skilled in-store staff to explore products. CINNOX provides customisable web widgets for live chat, audio and video calls that can be leveraged for instant customer service or virtual shopping experiences. These widgets can also be activated by clicking web links – which many businesses design in their branding as buttons or images on their websites, inviting shoppers to enjoy tailored shopping experiences.
Digital platforms like CINNOX connect customers to staff best suited to their needs, while delivering rich customer insights. They can even follow up with the customer over their preferred instant messaging and social media channels for better relationship building – even sending special offers and deals exclusive to that customer.
One way to bridge the divide between in-person and virtual environments is through QR codes, which offer digital connectivity through printed collaterals such as packaging, posters and business cards.
For example, putting QR codes on business cards can transform them into a powerful communication platform for channels such as live chat, instant message platforms, virtual number or video calls and more. Strong retail relationships are built on personal interactions - however, private chats could mean valuable information is not shared with your business. A QR code linked to a cloud-based omnichannel solution can help you to build a 360° customer profile with minimal effort.
Humanising your brand to nurture customer relationships
Modern customers have come to expect almost immediate responses to their queries. If you keep them waiting, or force them to navigate through a complicated procedure to answer their question, you will miss opportunities and risk losing customers to the competition. Another key differentiator is quality of service - which the right technology platform can help with, through the power of data.
By building close relationships through on-demand communication, staff can give guidance to customers based on their unique preferences, habits and order history, ensuring a fully personalised journey. This is vital, given that 86% of customers cite an emotional connection with staff as a reason to continue doing business with a brand.
Loyalty is difficult to establish - but with CINNOX, it is less easy to lose. If staff leave or change roles, customer conversation records remain within the company – so that a new team member can easily pick up right where the other left off, preserving business value.
Better relationships lead to higher conversions
Increasing the number of touchpoints throughout the customer journey means that engagement is enhanced, allowing relationships to be built and nurtured. It also gives your staff full access to communication histories, providing critical context to be able to drive business growth through long-term relationships.
Want to learn more about how CINNOX can enable your O2O experience? Talk to us today!