Although eCommerce is big business today, even the most advanced players in this industry know that online shopping is just one part of the potential. As physical retail bounces back from over a year of suppressed activity, the idea of a unified front as part of your retail business strategy is growing in appeal.
It’s not just breaking down the boundaries between online and in-person shopping. Social media giants and an increasing ‘always-connected’ mentality means that customers today seek to shop however and wherever they can – and with no borders in their minds, there should be no borders in your retail approach either.
It all makes it paramount that brands and businesses meet those buyers, wherever they may be – a truly omnichannel, total-commerce approach.
What is omnichannel retail?
Omnichannel retail means that both physical and digital retail work in harmony. eCommerce and bricks-and-mortars stores have classically been viewed as competing business models, yet nowadays that increasingly is not the case.
Indeed, it’s a strategy that Cas Paton, CEO and founder of online marketplace OnBuy.com, believes in strongly. “The way we both shop and sell has been transformed by the new decade, and it’s made trust and efficiency the key to success,” he advises. “After so much uncertainty, people trust those brands who are there when it counts, which is why a total commerce mindset is such a viable, winning strategy today.”
While the convergence of online and physical shopping into one cohesive buyer journey has dominated the conversation in recent years, it’s just one facet of a far larger whole. For example, social media and eCommerce are converging more and more, with giants like Facebook, Instagram[i] and TikTok embedding options to directly purchase products featured in photographs and videos in one seamless transaction.
Although social commerce is still in its early stages, it’s already a big part of the total commerce outlook – the idea that a customer, at any time and at their discretion, can seamlessly purchase a product as soon as they see it.
The era of eCommerce everywhere
Sitting down in your car, you can drive past something in passing, tell a smart assistant built into your vehicle that you want it, and potentially see it arrive on your doorstep within a day or two.
Once the realm of science-fiction, this is a key example of eCommerce everywhere – a total commerce solution where our digital and physical lives overlap, giving customers the power to buy anything, anywhere at any time.
Behind the scenes, of course, huge gears are turning in cybersecurity, customer confidentiality, shipping, logistics, fulfilment and aftermarket support – and it’s here that eCommerce retailers and physical premises alike are called upon to give their best work to a growing cause.
“This doesn’t need to feel daunting – the key advantage at your side in this is feedback,” concludes Paton. “At OnBuy, we always take comments onboard as a way to improve our processes and overall offering, and it’s the same for any eCommerce retailers looking to move into the total-commerce mindset. Gauge and measure where your customers are shopping, on which devices, and find ways to bridge the gaps so that nothing feels separated.”
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