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You have done your research for the item that you wish to purchase at home. On your way to work, you decided to gather reviews about the product on your mobile device. Before you know it, you find yourself visiting the physical store and trying out the product. Meet the omni-channel consumer: you.

With increased choices, consumers expect to be able to buy anytime and anywhere, according to a recent report commissioned by eBay. They are changing the way retailing works, by using multiple channels to make a purchase. This seeks to create greater opportunities for online retailers to reach out to customers at each stage of their shopping journey.

Here’s how to enhance the omni-channel experience.

Understanding the expectations of omni-channel consumers

Omni-channel consumers want two things from online retailers: ease of access to product information and a seamless shopping experience. This is because they are using multiple sources to look for product information while shopping.

According to MIT’s report on Beyond the Checkout Cart, 80% of store shoppers check prices online, with one-third of them accessing the information on their mobile devices when in-store. This suggests that omni-channel consumers are using multiple channels to keep themselves as informed as possible. Building an omni-channel strategy therefore becomes a priority for online retailers to bridge the gap between offline and online shopping experiences.

Yet, online retailers are falling short in meeting their expectations, based on a new Vantiv Insight Series research report From E-commerce to Omnicommerce. To help merchants integrate their channels to suit consumers’ needs, these are some tips for online retailers to strengthen their omni-channel strategy.

Get ahead of consumers on their preferred channels

As consumers are switching back and forth from desktop to mobile devices, it has become imperative for online retailers to get ahead of them in this omni-channel game. The chart above from Telco 2.0 Research on the frequency of using multi-device to purchase an item.

First, online retailers need to ensure that their store is optimised for both desktop and mobile devices. Given that there’s an increasing number of people shopping on their mobile devices, it is likely that they will add the items into their shopping cart when on-the-go. However, they may not check out due to payment security concerns.

Here’s where online retailers need to step in and remind them that their items are still in the shopping cart. Most retailers would drop them an email, encouraging them to complete their purchase with a discount coupon and thus increasing sales conversion.

Understanding the expectations of omni-channel consumers

Since omni-channel customers wish to be kept informed, you probably want to consider that in your content marketing strategy. Newsletter is a great way to update consumers on the latest product launches and promotions.

Omni-channel consumers also love to conduct online research before making any purchase. They will go to the physical retail store and check out the item, to make sure that the information they found is consistent with their experience. Hence, it is important for online retailers to create a seamless shopping experience, both online and in-store.  

Ecommerce has become more sophisticated over the years and it is predicted that omni-channel retailing will take over the online shopping experience. Retailers will need to ensure that their omni-channel strategy is suited for both online and offline.