We are living in a world where ‘more is less’. Today’s consumers want more convenience in shopping and get a more unified experience – first, it was brick and mortar store shopping, then came online shopping, next multi-channel and now it is time for omnichannel shopping. Look at the staggering stats below:
Ok, so Omnichannel is the way to go, but you must be wondering what does it mean?
Omnichannel is unifying all sales channels for creating a singular commerce/shopping experience. In simple words, the shoppers are free to browse, purchase, deliver, collect and return products via any combination of channels and yet their shopping experience remains consistent.
For example, the shopper can browse and purchase the product online but might go to the nearby local store of the company to return the product. This is advantageous for the shopper because a particular product let’s say a designer shirt might be available online so he/she orders it online but after trying it out the shopper does not like the look then he/she might go to return it at a nearby local store of the same company. Hence, the shopper can quicken the return process and also get his/her money back instantly rather than waiting for a pick-up and then receive the money in return.
However, one of the biggest challenges for retailers in going Omni-channel is maintaining the inventory of the products. This is where software with “find in-store inventory” solution comes in handy.
What is the “find in-store inventory” solution?
Find in-store inventory is a unique real-time reporting of the products available in the store to the customer. Customers can check the availability of a product of their choice at a store nearby them so that they can get it instantly when they need it the most rather than waiting for delivery.
A powerful inventory management software with the robust real-time reporting of inventory across multiple channels comes in handy in reporting the exact inventory available at all the stores in real-time. It has a unique reporting suite with specific inventory related insights, inventory planning, and forecast reporting.
5 reasons for the top retailers to use “find in-store inventory”
# 1 “find in-store” inventory solution helps the retailer to become truly omnichannel
The key to succeeding in omnichannel retailing is knowing the exact quantity of inventory you hold in all your stores and warehouses since you need to fulfill the customer’s orders through various sales channels.
For example, the shopper browses and purchases a shirt online but goes to the nearby local store of the company to return the product. Now, he/she has returned the shirt at an offline store so the inventory update on the online portal might not be done and chances are that the product is showing out-of-stock on the online portal. In such a scenario, you’re losing out on a prospective buyer simply because the inventory update is not in sync in real-time between your online and offline sales channels.
Having software with real-time reporting of inventory across all stores and warehouses makes it possible for you to fulfill your customer’s orders – offline or online and go truly omnichannel.
# 2 Strong customer retention is possible with “find in-store” inventory solution
Research conducted recently showed that consumers using multiple sales channels for buying or returning the products tend to do more shopping as it is more convenient.
Consumers spent 13% more when they had the freedom to browse, purchase and return the product online or offline at the outlets of their choice.
Tanya Yablonskaya, an eCommerce industry analyst at ScienceSoft, has shared her thoughts on why the ‘Find in-store’ feature enhances the customer experience.
“If aiming at consistent customer experience in omnichannel retail, you should ensure the comfort of purchasing across digital and physical sales channels. By providing visibility into the product’s in-store availability on the website, you achieve a double-win: increase the in-store footfall and more likely convert customers who are wary yet of purchasing online. However, things can unfold in a way disappointing for your customers. As far as the inventory data changes throughout the day, customers may find the product out-of-stock by the time they arrive. To avoid that, suggest that your customers add the product to their wish list and check the in-store availability quickly right before leaving for the store.”
This clearly proves that the more convenience and freedom you provide to a consumer, the more chances are that he/she will stick with your store and hence, increase customer retention for your retail store.
# 3 Optimizing the usage of your inventory across all your stores with 100% inventory visibility
Do you recall how many times you might have actually lost out on a sale because you are not aware of a product that you have in stock at some other outlet or warehouse?
There are times when a customer might have returned a product but that has not been updated in your inventory and therefore, you lose a customer who is asking for the same product. All such mishaps can be avoided by using the ‘in-store inventory’ feature which updates the quantity in real-time as soon as an item is returned or reordered. Hence, using your inventory to its optimum is possible as this feature will give you 100% inventory visibility.
# 4 Better customer personalization made possible through “find in-store” inventory solution
“40 percent of consumers purchase more from retailers that provide a personalized shopping experience across channels” as per a recent consumer shopping habits study.
Now we all know that for retaining a customer, you need to know the choices and preferences of that customer. When a customer searches something online or comes to the store with specific preferences you get to know him/her in a better way and hence can cater to their needs in a personalized way.
For instance, if a customer visits the store for the shirt he/she wishlisted on the online portal, then you can easily pitch for matching pants or accessories that go well with that particular shirt. Similarly, using beacons, you can track the same consumer who has viewed your products online and then provide compelling offers to them when they visit your store. But this is all possible if you know exactly if the stock of those particular products is available in the store. Here’s how “find in-store inventory” comes in handy.
# 5 Reach out to target audience via multiple modes of communication like SMS, emails, Google suggestion, and other social media platforms
A retailer now has more ways to communicate with a prospective buyer than ever in the past. By knowing the buying patterns of the consumers, a retailer can market the appropriate products to them via multiple means such as SMS and emails. A retailer can also target prospective customers by going for paid options like Google suggestions, facebook ads, etc.
Also, by using beacons, you can send special offers to the consumer when he/she walks into your store after browsing your products online. Hence, increasing your chances of converting the consumer into your customer. However, for doing this you would need to know the exact amount of stock present in your store, especially the clothes or the items the consumer has viewed on the online portal. “Find in-store inventory” comes to rescue here as well.
Thanks to the omnichannel retailing, it is possible to track the customer journey exactly and hence reach out on a medium that the consumer uses regularly and thereby, it increases the chances to convert them into a buyer.
I hope these reasons are sufficient for you to realize that omnichannel is the new way of doing business in 2020, and “in-store inventory” paves way for going omnichannel. So grab the “in-store inventory” solution now and win your fair share of the market in 2020.