Omni-channel: Quite possibly the most overused word in the retail industry the past several years, but with good reason. From a budget and strategic priority perspective, omni-channel remains a top priority for retailers – they know it’s wildly important to the success of their business, especially in such a competitive environment. And as shoppers continue to view retailers as one brand with one brand experience, they will continue to expect all those brand experiences – regardless of channel – to be consistent and seamless as they move from one channel to the next.
In fact, according to a new survey as many as 86 percent of marketers agree that omni-channel has increased consumer expectations (source: SAP). These same marketers recognize the need to adapt in order to keep pace with evolving expectations of today’s shopper. Eighty-six percent agree that the benefits of investing in an omni-channel approach clearly outweigh the challenges.
These expectations are not limited to consistent merchandise selection, pricing and available inventory across channels, but now extend to payments – including gifting. Retailers’ gifting programs are a perfect example of an experience that has the ability to easily cross channels (if executed correctly), yet needs to do so seamlessly to satisfy not one but two shoppers – the buyer and the recipient. And that’s a clear weakness for way too many retailers, as their gifting programs still center around plastic cards which do not lend themselves well to omni-channel strategies.