Online-Offline Integration in Retail: The Future of E-Commerce, compress the Online-Offline Gap

Online-Offline Integration in Retail: The Future of E-Commerce, compress the Online-Offline Gap
Jun 10,2016          Digital Commerce          One comment

Online-Offline Integration- A Partnership to Improve Customer Service and Boost Sales

Yes, you had it right! Online-Offline Integration can co-exist and increase the market share.

Traditional retail stores will not face extinction anytime soon, at least not with this trend. Physical stores will partner with the online counterparts to boost the customer service and improve sales figures. Now you must be wondering how it is possible, and what will be the impact on the sales figure? To understand this approach, first you need to fathom the strength and lacuna of both the sales channels.

eCommerce and mCommerce have changed the way customers communicate with sellers. However, it has ripped off the human element (the sense of feel and touch) from the shopping experience, which is integral to shopping from physical stores. Irrespective of the sales channel, human engagement is necessary to take the shopping experience to the next level. The retail giants are now emphasizing on integrating innovative and best features of physical stores into the virtual stores to ramp up the customer service. On the other hand, physical stores to cope up with the shift of customer purchase behavior from traditional stores to eCommerce, are also implementing new ways.

Brands to get a competitive edge, innovate ways to provide consistent and personalized service to customers. Integration of the two and multiple sales channel is one such innovative business strategy. This approach will bridge the gap by providing a consistent shopping experience and let customers interact with the brands and sellers better. It also explores new opportunities of growth. It is expected that there will be an exponential rise in the sale with the online-offline integration which is otherwise  not possible for any single sales channel to achieve.

Reasons for online and offline integration

Now, imagine a customer walking into a brick-and-mortar store, picking the desired item and paying for it with their smartphone. Or a buyer purchasing goods from an online store, pay it online and collect it in-store. A strategy which is the perfect blend of two and it will transform the shopping experience.

Online-Offline Store Integration
Online-offline integration or Omnichannel feature

Three major reasons that lure the retail industry to adopt the online-offline integration are

  • Explore new markets and expand the customer base
  • Improve customer loyalty and satisfaction
  • Boost in the revenue

To leverage these benefits the entrepreneurs implement this unique business strategy. Well, already, in a few of the advanced economies of the world, the mode of Buying Online and Collecting Offline (a unique blend of two sales channel) is in practice.

The aim is to provide a consistent and simplified retail experience. In this regard, it is important to remember that improved retail experience does not mean fast and convenient shopping. Rather, less time for searching products, and simplified processes, making the brand attractive and stores intuitive.

Shopping with a personal touch

Both the online and offline stores have their individual attributes. Personal interaction is important for improving customer experience and for this reason, the brick-and-mortar stores continue to be an important component of the sales channel. Here, shoppers get individual attention from the staff. When it comes to after-sales service, return, exchange or refund, traditional store is a convenient option. Whereas, shopping on the online stores is fast and convenient.

While shopping online, customers cannot wear it or feel the fabric or experience the product. But, in the physical stores, they can experience products and interact one-to-one with the sales personnel. And this innovative integration emphasizes on the personal interaction of customers with brands. For this, it incorporates the best practices of the online stores with the in-store experience to improve customer experience and sales.

How is this integration possible?

To improve sales, retailers use advanced solutions to track individual purchase details like fit, size of apparels and other consumer preferences. In short, understand the choice and predict the trend of future purchases. But for a long-term success, customized options, better services and superior quality products are the key.

This unique business model of online-offline integration provides a consistent experience, simplifies processes and daily operations to improve customer relationship. To make this union a success, implementing ePOS and mPOS or tablet-based POS is a viable option.

Link the both worlds with POS

Since the inception, POS has proven to link the offline operations with the online information. It connects the sales staff of the physical stores with electronic payment methods and relevant customer information. This technological solution is indeed a new avenue for retailers to communicate with the customers.

Arming the staff of physical stores with this data-rich technology helps in adding value to the customer experience. It is beneficial even for the sales people, as they do not have to carry any heavy device, but a small device like a smartphone that ensures, safe and fast payments. The following factors make POS an important role in online-offline integration:

  • Even at rush times it prevents lost sales and improves customer satisfaction
  • Help customers in making fast purchase decisions
  • Promoting products or services is easy from any corner of the store
  • Simplify the sales process
  • Get a real-time insight about the stock, availability and price of products
  • Keep a track of customer loyalty points, offer and discounts to improve customer satisfaction

This cloud-based, single view solution provides real-time business insights and makes it perfect for small and medium sized businesses.

Some Famous Brands who follow the Online-Offline Store Integration or omnichanel module are:

  1. Adidas:
  2. Raymond’s:
  3. Lenskart:
  4. Vanheusenindia:
  5. Dell:

Continue to grow

With the integration of online and offline sales channel, customers can have better, affordable, personalized and convenient shopping experience. The approach will quell the disadvantages of each channel, but blend the best of two and expand sales exponentially. It is expected that newer and advanced technology or solutions will evolve to strengthen the online-offline integration. This business model is here to stay and reign the retail and other verticals as well. The retail industry has an upward trend and the online-offline integration will change the way retailers conduct their business.