Commerce

Why Your Physical Storefront is More Important than You Think in an Omni-Channel Digital Strategy

When it comes to delivering exceptional experiences in 2022 and beyond, physical store locations will become a focal point for businesses.

Now, I can hear and feel the skepticism as you read this – why the heck would someone still want to have a physical storefront when they could just build an ecommerce website and serve customers all over the country?

I’m glad you asked – here’s why.

A retail storefront provides the perfect mix of servicing customers in the ways they want. What I mean is, we as consumers have various preferences. Some of us will order online and are fine with 2–3-day delivery. Some of us want to buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS) that same day. Some of us want to buy online and pick-up curbside (BOPC) and have an employee put it in the trunk of our vehicle.

Here’s three creative ideas to leverage your physical storefront to improve omni-channel delivery and customer satisfaction.

Flip the script on traditional delivery models

Traditionally, a consumer places an order and it’s shipped to their home via a centralized or localized distribution center. However, if your brand has retail store fronts across the country – why not turn them into miniature distribution centers? By leveraging an order management system (OMS) and the increased inventory accuracy it provides, you can pivot your retail storefront and enable your employees via technology to fulfil orders right in the store for customers vs. out of a distribution center. These orders can then be shipped directly from the store to your customers, and, in many cases, in less time than if they came from your master distribution center. Shipping expenses will likely be lower for you as well. In this model, customer satisfaction also will increase, which will aid in your customer lifetime value (LTV).

Options, options, options

No two consumers are EXACTLY the same, and we all want different things at different times when it comes to purchasing products. By leveraging an OMS and in-store fulfilment centers, consumers have more options. Want to pick it up the same day? Sure. Want to simply park your car in the store’s parking lot and have someone bring it out to you? You got it. Want to check a store’s availability in a specific retail location through their website? Done. By giving consumers options, it allows them to procure and,  more importantly, receive products in the channel and matter they desire most.

Cross-sell marks the spot

Finally, if you’re planning to leverage BOPIS, then look to leverage your OMS system and your employee’s knowledge of products to set up in-store cross-sell opportunities. For example, if you’re a pet food supplier with various retail locations and you have customers ordering online and driving to the store to pick up dog food – look to cross sell them on additional products like toys, treats or even services like grooming. You’ve already won half the battle by getting the consumer to your store, the second half of this is leveraging that in-store customer visit with additional products and services that are relevant to that specific persona by giving store employees an accurate window into inventory levels.

A retail store front allows all of this to happen – but there’s one catch. None of this happens without a fully integrated OMS to help be the conductor behind this orchestration. Leveraging an OMS is critical in achieving the above set use cases. It helps provide businesses with multiple stores fronts the ability to leverage their physical location as a store, a distribution center and essentially, a drive through fast-food window.

So, if You’re REALLY looking for a competitive edge for the future…

Consider implementing a fully integrated OMS within your business, or if you currently have one today – look to leverage the above use cases as part of your roadmap. Because I promise you, these consumer desires aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. For more information about our OMS practice, contact our experts today.

About the Author

Justin Racine serves as a Senior Commerce Consultant and works with clients to build and achieve their business goals through commerce-enabled technologies. Justin has over 12 years of experience within the ecommerce space, working with companies such as Cardinal Health, Johnson & Johnson, and Olam International, and has spoken at over 20 global conferences on ecommerce and branding strategy. Additionally, Justin has been published twice for his thought leadership on branding and marketing in the Henry Stewart Journal of Brand Strategy, is a contributing writer for CMSWire.com, and a frequent contributor for many leading industry publications.

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