Modern fashion and beauty customers leave behind tangible hints about their tastes and preferences due to countless touch points within a shopping journey. This is defined as omni-shopping. Shoppers are online, in-store, and — thanks to mobile — often in both places at once. Omni-shoppers are not only empowered shoppers, they’re motivated. They research purchases well before stepping into a store or clicking “add to cart.” And once they know what they want, they go after it immediately.
Understanding the behaviors of omni-shoppers is especially important for today’s retailers. This comprehension stands to inform strategies targeted at connecting the perfect product with the shopper. Using simple strategies, retailers can reach out and find motivated consumers, provide purchasing information that cuts through the competitive clutter, build trust and loyalty, and — most importantly — close sales. When you make the shopping experience an easy one, customers are far more likely to come back again.
A recent survey of nearly 10,000 global consumers points to just how much the shopper journey has changed. More than three quarters of participants indicated that they regularly engage in omni-shopping. As shoppers move along the path to purchase, nimble retailers can help ensure their sales’ success by providing a seamless brand experience online and in brick-and-mortar stores.
Here are three necessary factors in order to excel in today’s competitive omni-shopping marketplace.
Meet the Omni-shopper
It’s no surprise that virtually everyone is an omni-shopper these days. Here are the different ways that omni-shoppers use digital resources to get the product they want, when they want it.
Showrooming: A shopper sees the product in a store, then buys it from that retailer’s website.
Often, shoppers see an item in a store, but don’t buy it immediately. Showrooming lets you close that sale — when the consumer is at home. This is a key time for your store’s website to shine, by providing extensive product information, availability info, and competitive pricing. Showrooming can be a real time-saver, and customers love it — especially with free shipping and returns.
Web-rooming: A shopper conducts product research online, then buys it in store.
Consumers have become experts at researching products online, then buying in store. Web-rooming allows them to first check out products on their favorite social channels. Next, they find their products on the retailer’s web site, where they can research color, size, style, pricing and availability. Finally, they visit your store and make their purchase.
Click and collect: A shopper buys online, but picks up at a store or kiosk.
When shoppers see an item on a store’s website, the ultimate convenience is to buy online then pick up their purchase at a store. Many stores now have special pick-up counters devoted solely to this service.
Click and ship: A shopper finds what they want in store, and then makes the purchase on the phone.
Customer convenience is the ultimate competitive weapon. When customers see a product they love in your store, they can simply buy it on their phone and have the product delivered. Our study found that 74 percent of shoppers prefer to shop in store when they have time. Click and ship is a time-saving convenience that customers have come to rely on, which will motivate return visits to your store.
Scan and scram: A shopper finds something they like, then buys it from another retailer online.
Bricks-and-mortar retailers dread the idea of shoppers seeing a desired item in their store, and then quickly using a smartphone price-checking tool, such as a barcode scanner, to see whether they can find the same item for less elsewhere. In response, many retailers offer price-matching policies. And smart consumers are also learning the hard way that getting a cheap price from a distant online store can result in problematic product quality, not to mention poor customer service.
Strengthen your web site
Is your web site set up for success? Research shows that fashion and beauty retail web sites are increasing in influence — even over word-of-mouth, search, or social. This means a web site needs to be as strong as it possibly can be. Web design is a science unto itself. It pays to invest in a professional team to ensure your web site is top-notch. A strong web design will:
- Use appealing product photos, thorough descriptions, and customer reviews
- Provide free shipping (and returns, if possible)
- Include a toll-free number and online chat
- Ensure sale prices are updated frequently
Socialize your brand
In today’s fast-moving, brand-conscious world, fashion and beauty shoppers have become incredibly sophisticated about using online resources, including social influencers, to research and share ideas about what’s new and exciting in the market. Their opinions really matter to their followers. This means your brand needs to be where the eyeballs are. Consider a strong presence on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or any other social channel that is key to your product’s demographic.
An easy way to ensure your brand gets visibility is with media retargeting. If your social media retargeting presence is strong, your marketing reach will be vastly extended across millions of potential customers on Facebook, Instagram and the other social sites that matter most to your audience.
By using these three strategies and making your retail experience as intuitive as possible, you can become the trusted retail partner that fashion and beauty omni-shoppers rely on every time they shop.
Mollie Spilman is chief operating officer at Criteo. Most recently, she was honored as “Working Mother of the Year” in advertising, received a Silver Stevie award for “Female Executive of the Year,” and was ranked one of the most powerful woman in mobile advertising by Business Insider. Before Criteo, Mollie served in executive leadership roles at Millennial Media, Yahoo, Advertising.com/AOL and Time Inc.
More from WWD: