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Why You Should Embrace Omnichannel Selling: A Deloitte Study Summary

Posted by on March 24, 2014

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Planning to buy a new television? You might start by browsing consumer review sites on your laptop. Once you’ve narrowed your options, you might stop by Best Buy to see the top contenders in action. After the brick-and-mortar visit, you might ask Facebook friends what they think of your top choice and then order it using the Amazon app.study_front-page

Welcome to the world of omnichannel shopping, a system of retailing that connects traditional stores, e-commerce, mobile apps, and social media. A study conducted by Deloitte (and sponsored by eBay) takes a look at the potential retailers have to use omnichannel selling to increase sales, brand awareness, and shopper loyalty.

“The Omnichannel Opportunity” focused on German and British markets, but the findings support what studies focused on US market have also found: that omnichannel shopping is key to success for retailers and brands.

Omnichannel and the Consumer Decision Journey

Online and mobile retail sales are now worth over $1.25 trillion globally, according to the Deloitte study. And online and offline sales are already deeply enmeshed. Nearly one out of three consumers studied by Deloitte used online resources before making in-store purchases. A similar number used multiple channels during a recent purchase.

Frequent shoppers and those planning high-value purchases are even more likely to use a range of channels. Additionally, consumers who researched online make in-store purchases 50 percent higher in value than those made by shoppers who used only one channel.

The purchase journey has become flexible and sophisticated as a result of the wider range of channels connected consumers use while shopping. In this environment a presence across channels helps retailers ensure that consumers can find them and engage with them at any stage of the shopping journey.

The consumer decision journey--awareness, research, purchase, fulfillment, loyalty--with omnichannel selling

Content Is Key in Omnichannel Selling

At almost every step of the omnichannel journey, shoppers expect great product-level content. The Deloitte study found that 34 percent of smartphone users reported taking a picture of a product to retrieve information, while 21 percent use their phones to research product details.

Creating a “flexible and seamless shopping experience” requires not just any old content, but channel-specific content. For some retailers, this might include installing in-store technology that allows shoppers to browse the retailer’s catalog and place orders.

Deloitte’s research suggests that one of the most important aspects of a successful omnichannel strategy is creating a single brand identity across channels. That requires consistent messaging and complementary content.

Retailers should ensure product information and prices are consistent across channels, but make use of the specific advantages of each channel to engage consumers and market their products.

Bar graph showing that well over half of consumers use smartphones when shopping and making in-store purchases

Omnichannel Sales Help the Bottom Line

Many retailers fret that online sales will take away from in-store sales. Yet the Deloitte study found that two of the main reasons people gave for shopping online was to shop at stores and for products not available locally. That means selling online gives retailers opportunities to extend the reach of their brand. Here were some of the findings [emphasis ours]:

Pie chart showing that consumers purchase products online that were not available in local stores, or from stores not local to them. This indicates opportunity for omnichannel selling.

Key Takeaway

I recommend downloading the complete PDF of “The Omnichannel Opportunity: Unlocking the Power of the Connected Consumer” report. But here’s our favorite takeaway:

Omnichannel shopping is becoming pervasive across Europe, and consumers are leveraging new technologies to improve their shopping experience. Consumers are starting to expect complete flexibility across shopping channels, and are prepared to reward retailers who are able to offer this.

In a rapidly changing marketplace retailers cannot afford to become complacent. As new technologies create new opportunities for customers to engage with brands and for reaching new markets, they can create additional sources of competition. In order to maintain and expand their position in the market, retailers will need to embrace omnichannel retailing, adapting and integrating different shopping channels into a single strategy over time.


Want to talk to content26 about aligning your e-commerce content across your retail channels as part of an omnichannel strategy? Contact Dave Zimmerman.

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If c26 implemented a 10% policy for side projects at work, what would your first project be?

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