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Omni-channel is more than online marketplaces

Retail across several channels is the latest way that retailers are expanding their audiences. Integrating with eBay, Amazon, Etsy, and other online marketplaces gives businesses ready-made storefronts with huge numbers of visitors. These are becoming vital for retailers who want to expand their reach without huge expense or time-commitment. However, an over-looked aspect of the multi-channel experience is the power of mobile. Often considered a way for users to buy from these standard channels, businesses neglect the power a user has to make a choice while in store, simply by searching for the product they are currently looking at.

Powerful comparison at the swipe of a screen

Naturally, mobile shopping relies on the customer looking at the business’s different channels, either through the app or through the browser. However, if your competitor is hitting page one of Google with their product page and offering a lower price, or faster delivery, or a certain colour or size, then they have a great chance of pulling the sale out from under you.

Ensuring your brand’s mobile experience is impeccable is an important factor in ensuring your business doesn’t lose a sale at the final hurdle. We’ve all found something we like in a store and decided to have a quick mobile search to ensure it is the best deal it can possibly be. The passive nature of most customers is that they won’t approach you to see if you can match or better the competitor’s deal, instead they will simply leave. It is vital that your products are the ones they find when they search online.

What can be done to counter this?

This trend means that the online and offline shopping experiences need to be cohesive. Too often a site will list a product at one price, then when the user heads to the physical store, they are told that it is an “online only special.” Does this mean that the customer will head back to the site and make the online purchase? Chances are they will buy it online, but not from the same store. The idea that online and offline are completely independent is becoming an archaic one. Some stores are becoming savvier.

Apple stores allow users to order the product they want through their phone, make the payment, and request service, while stood in the physical store. Other stores allow users to add products they see in store to a virtual wishlist that they can access next time they enter the store, or complete the purchase online when they get home. This type of cross platform convenience will become more important as phones get faster, NFC becomes standard, card and cashless payments mature, and mobile networks become faster and more accessible.

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