The future of retail is omnichannel and Australia has some catching up to do
With a new decade on the horizon, Oracle asked Timothy Woods to look to the future of customer experience – it’s omnichannel. For any retailer, integrating all customer interaction points across brick-and-mortar and e-commerce stores, email, and social media accounts across desktop and mobile into a single customer journey is a daunting task. With that in mind, Woods outlines the three biggest trends for retailers to watch out for and take advantage of in the new year.
- Omnichannel’s growth is fuelled by customers turning to e-commerce for a convenient solution, compounded by the rise of smart phones and tablets… Yet 51 per cent of businesses use eight or more channels for their CX alone. Retailers should be on the look out for a rise in affordable, semi-automated solutions to this problem.
- Bricks and mortar stores are not dying, they’re evolving into a new marketing channel sitting at the top of the funnel, offering lower customer acquisition costs while digital marketing continues to rise.
- Retailers will seek new ways to build customer relationships based on emotional connection by leveraging hyper-personalisation, customer behaviour analytics and AI-driven machine learning to humanise touchpoints across the omnichannel experience.
The global omnichannel retail commerce platform market is expected to grow $11.1 billion by 2023 – and there’s a reason – the numbers speak for themselves. Nielsen has found that 60 per cent of consumers had researched online before making a purchase, IDC showed that customers who purchase both online and offline have a 30 per cent higher lifetime value than those using only one channel, and McKinsey & Company’s Apparel Omnichannel Survey released in August shows the average omnichannel customer purchases 70 per cent more than an offline-only shopper. Woods is right to suggest this is the future of retail.
While omnichannel may be the future, achieving zero friction in your customer’s journey in a consistent, engaging and manner isn’t easy. To achieve omnichannel success requires a complete overhaul of legacy tech systems and out-dated processes; access to real-time, high-quality data; and a willingness from all stakeholders to take the leap into a bold new territory. Perhaps this is why, in Australia, omnichannel is still a relatively emerging concept, although it is very much commonplace in many global markets.
Another factor contributing to Australia’s lag in adopting omnichannel processes could be our relatively small proportion of shopping conducted online. In 2017, 9 per cent of all Australian shopping was undertaken online, according to CBRE. However, it expects that to increase to 12 per cent by 2022 – a figure that lines up with the current level of online shopping in the United States. It is reasonable to assume then, that consumer expectations will similarly increase to those in line with the United States, that is, the expectation of seamless online ordering and fast delivery and new, engaging ways to shop. Overall, CBRE forecasts online sales in Australia will increase by 80 per cent from $24.4bn in 2018 to $43.1 billion in 2022.
It’s also important to factor into this the comparatively slow adoption of Amazon in Australia, leaving a much greater opportunity for existing retailers to lead the charge with high quality online service and innovative ways to shop.
All of this means that anticipating and adopting new omnichannel trends like those outlined by Woods is fundamental in the short term, not the long, to Australian retailers needing to take advantage of the shifting tide and stand out from the pack.