A Look Back At Omnichannel

Originally published by PYMNTS.com.

For those merchants willing to meet the new demands and expectations of their omnishoppers, the gain from their omnichannel efforts will surely outweigh the pain to get there.

A look back at omnichannelThis has been quite a year for omnicommerce and the merchant’s quest to deliver it. It’s a journey ripe with challenges. But as the PYMNTS OmniReadi Index™, powered by Vantiv, reflects, for those willing to meet the new demands and expectations of their omnishoppers, the gain will surely outweigh the pain to get there.

From services like buy online, pick up in-store, to simple things like buy online, return in-store, to mobile payments at the point of sale, omnichannel may not be the word that consumers use to describe how they shop, but it is surely how they do.

And merchants are manning their omnichannel battle stations to reap the benefits of the $1.8 trillion omnichannel market that awaits them.

That’s at least what the results of the quarterly data-driven analysis of the omnicommerce ecosystem, the PYMNTS.com OmniReadi Index™, powered by Vantiv, shows. In the October Index results, scores ranged from a (low) score of 28 to a (high) of 90. The average score across all merchant categories was 68, a four-point improvement over the quarter ending in July, reflecting the efforts made by top 10 merchants.

The slight increase of the average Index score shows an improvement in the omnichannel experience offered by those merchants considered to be the “best of the best,” which includes reducing friction, while improving consistency, essentially making the consumer’s life easier.

But merchants still have a long way to go to ensure they are providing the consistent shopping experience consumers have come to expect while shopping across multiple channels.

How Sephora Wins At Omnichannel

Beauty retailer Sephora revamped its omnichannel and, in turn, created a way to stand out among other omnichannel merchants through its loyalty and rewards offerings. By using the cloud-based CashStar Commerce platform, Sephora began offering its customers personalized, mobile gift cards that seamlessly cross all retail channels. The omnichannel prepaid platform helped Sephora to reach a digital gift card revenue growth rate of eight times over the prior year, with a 71 percent boost in average in-store basket size over the initial digital gift card value, according to a CashStar case study released in March.

Sephora customers now have the ability to send digital gifts from any computer, tablet or smartphone — all while allowing Sephora to focus on its primary business objective, CashStar, which is driving revenue growth through innovative customer experiences. Not only has Sephora’s omnichannel strategy helped to deliver an enhanced shopping experience, it has also helped to fuel customer loyalty and engagement.

As consumers are presented with more omnichannel shopping opportunities, they have also developed the expectation of a “wow” factor when it comes to the loyalty rewards and benefits offered by retailers.