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8 ways to create a successful multichannel customer experience

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Feb. 24, 2015
Retail and ecommerce experts discuss how multichannel retailers can combine traditional and online shopping to enhance consumers’ experience and increase sales in both channels.

"With Beacon technology advancements, we'll soon see shoppers checking in with their phone at the door, and receiving personalized discounts/offers based on where they are in the store and what products they're looking at," says Andrew Van Noy, CEO, Warp 9, which provides advanced ecommerce, mobile commerce and B2B ecommerce solutions. "This technology will allow retailers to start capturing valuable in-store shopping behavior data, link it with the online shopping profile of the customer and start truly customizing the in-store/online shopping experience."

4. Display User-Generated Content In-Store
"Integrate online reviews [and other user-generated content] into your in-store signage to heighten consumer interest," says Lauren Freedman, president, the E-tailing Group.

"Cabela's, for example, which just won the Digiday Retail Award for 'Best In-Store Digital Retail Experience,' is successfully integrating the digital retail experience in its stores by featuring consumer-generated content on screens throughout their stores," says Jim Rudden, CMO, Spredfast, which worked with Cabela's, building social content mosaics for display on digital screens in stores. "By infusing the user experience into their stores, showcasing their own customers, Cabela's inspired purchase conversion."

Retailers can also "promote content sharing within stores by displaying [brand-related] hashtags on signage and on monitors and kiosks and encouraging customers to share content right then and there using the hashtags to enter to win a prize, receive an automatic discount code, and/or have their content featured on the website," says Rob Manning, content marketing manager, Offerpop, a digital marketing software provider.

5. Make it Easy for Online Customers to Get Their Product Questions Answered as Easily as They Can at a Store
"Because a shopper can't see or hold the actual product when they're shopping online, they tend to have a lot more questions," says Talia Shani, head of Content at Yotpo, a reviews and marketing solution for ecommerce.

To address this issue, post frequently asked questions (FAQs) on product pages. Also "encourage customers to ask questions on your product [and social media] pages and let your employees or even past buyers answer them," which you can do via Live Chat, email or social media. "This way, you can discover your customers' pain points and remove any barriers to purchasing."

6. Allow Free In-Store Pickup to Ecommerce Customers
"Offer online customers a 'pick up at store' or 'reserve in store' option when they buy from your ecommerce site," suggests Freedman. "This drives store traffic, ensures store visits and allows stores to logistically complete."

"Free shipping to the store is a must," agrees Van Noy. This "gives the retailer another opportunity to upsell to customers when they pick up their item."

7. Recreate the In-Store Visual and Touch Experience Online
"A recent study from Mindtree found that a 360-degree view of products with good zoom quality was one of the highest ranked features ecommerce providers can offer, as well as showing customers how new furniture will fit into the home or how a new shirt would look on them," says Radha R., executive vice president, Retail, CPG, MFG and Travel & Transportation, Mindtree.


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