From In-Store to Online: 5 Tips to Deliver a Seamless Omnichannel UX

Posted on  22 June, 2023

Have you ever heard about the concept of “Omnichannel Retail”? For the past few years, omnichannel experiences have been on retailers’ radars and evolved from a “nice to have” to a “must have” strategy (McKinsey, 2022). Another study has also proven retailers with an exceptional omnichannel strategy enjoy an average retention rate of 89%, compared to 33% for those without such a strategy. 

Today, omnichannel presence exists in many different industries, especially in the highly attractive fashion retail market, with a market size of $668 billion and projected growth to $1.0 trillion by the end of 2025. To grab a bigger piece of this huge pie, fashion firms should explore suitable UX solutions to optimize the Omnichannel Retail experience for their customers. 

So what is Omnichannel Retail? What “channels” are integrated into this approach? What are recommendations for retailers to enhance the Omnichannel experience?

What is Omnichannel Retail?

What is Omnichannel Retail

Omnichannel retail refers to a strategic approach that integrates multiple Sales & Marketing Channels to provide a seamless and personalized shopping experience for customers across all touchpoints. Omnichannel retail enables customers to transition effortlessly between channels, accessing information, browsing products, making purchases, and receiving support without any friction or disruption.

In a typical omnichannel retailing scenario, customers seeking to purchase clothes often come across discounted advertisements on social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc). When they click on the ads, they are redirected to the fashion retailer’s e-commerce site, where they can explore the products further. However, if they have concerns about the size of the clothes, they may choose to visit the nearest physical store department to try them on. Many retailers also allow their customers to exchange or refund the products after a specific period of time. 

This omnichannel strategy addresses various pain points and delivers a seamless e-commerce experience, enabling customers to quickly find and purchase suitable clothes at lower prices.

What “channels” are in Omnichannel retail?

What channels are in Omnichannel retail

Omnichannel retail encompasses a combination of online and offline channels, providing customers with a seamless and integrated shopping experience, in which the offline channels include:

  • Physical Stores: Traditional brick-and-mortar stores where customers can personally browse and purchase products, serving as important touchpoints with additional services like product demonstrations, personalized assistance, in-store events, etc.
  • In-Store Kiosks: Interactive touch-screen devices placed in physical stores that allow customers to explore items, access additional information and make purchases directly from the store premises.

As we transition to the digital era, online channels have become integral to omnichannel retail strategies to optimize the customer experience, which includes:

  • E-commerce Websites: Online platforms where customers can browse product catalogs, access additional information about products & services and make purchases
  • Mobile Applications: Mobile apps designed specifically for smartphones and tablets. These apps provide a mobile-optimized shopping experience, including features like push notifications, location-based services, and mobile-specific promotions.
  • Social Media Platforms: Social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc) where brands can showcase products, engage with customers, and drive traffic to their online/offline stores. Some platforms also offer shopping features that enable customers to make purchases directly within the platform.
  • Email: A channel enables for targeted and direct communication with customers, keeping them informed and engaged. Through email, retailers can keep customers informed and engaged by delivering personalized offers, timely product updates, order confirmations, shipping notifications, and compelling marketing campaigns.
  • Marketplaces: Third-party platforms (Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, Shopee, etc) where brands can list and sell their products alongside other sellers. This channel provides access to a large customer base and offers fulfillment services.
  • Call Centers: Customer service centers where customers can make inquiries, seek assistance, or place orders over the phone.
  • Chatbots & Messaging Apps: Automated chatbots integrated into websites or messaging apps (WhatsApp, Messenger, etc) provide instant customer support and answer their queries.

Omnichannel vs multichannel: What are the differences?

Omnichannel vs multichannel What are the differences

First of all, keep in mind that while all omnichannel experiences are built on multiple channels, not all multichannel experiences are omnichannel. Having a well-designed ecommerce website and several physical store branches to sell products does not automatically create an omnichannel experience for customers. To achieve true omnichannel integration, these channels need to be seamlessly interconnected.

In a report published on MDPI, omnichannel is defined as an evolution of multichannel, in which customers have the freedom to transition effortlessly between online and physical channels. This can infer that omnichannel is created to address the limitations of the multichannel approach and provide an enhanced customer experience.

In the realm of multichannel retail, customer experiences across different channels often occur in isolation from one another. Although each sales channel supports the overall business, there is minimal or no synchronization of data between them. Let’s imagine how frustrated you would be if you find a product listed as available on a retailer’s mobile app, but realize it’s out of stock. when visiting their physical store. This lack of real-time inventory updates and synchronization between online and offline channels leads to a negative user experience and erodes their trust in the brand.

5 UX Ideas for Seamless Omnichannel Retail Experiences

UX Ideas

Given the current dynamics of the fashion market, we have identified several User Experience ideas to enhance Omnichannel Retail. Here are some recommendations from us:

1. Online fitting room

Online fitting room (virtual fitting room or virtual try-on), is a technology-driven solution that aims to simulate the experience of physically trying on clothes in a traditional brick-and-mortar store but in an online setting.

Online-fitting-room ideas typically utilize augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) technologies to superimpose virtual garments onto the customer’s image or create a virtual avatar that represents the customer. 

As a prominent example, Google has recently introduced its Virtual Try-on feature where users can see how clothing items look on models with a range of attributes. The models represent a variety of skin tones, body shapes, ethnicities, and hair types, allowing users to get a better sense of how the clothing might look on them or others like them.

This technology offers various benefits for customers and retailers. 

  • For customers: It provides a convenient and interactive way to explore and try on clothing items remotely, saving time and effort. It also helps customers make more confident purchase decisions by visualizing the fit and style of the garments on their own bodies.
  • For retailers: It can reduce the rate of returns due to ill-fitting clothes. It also enhances customer engagement and improves the overall shopping experience, leading to higher conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

2. Several order options

Order options are provided by retailers to offer flexibility and convenience to customers when making purchases. Offering many different order options helps retailers improve customer satisfaction, and increase sales by catering to different shopping preferences. Some popular order options include:

  • Buy online, return in-store (BORIS): BORIS allows customers to purchase online and then return the item to a physical store. This option provides convenience to customers who prefer online shopping but may want to avoid the hassle or cost of shipping returns back to the retailer. By returning items in-store, customers can receive refunds/exchanges more quickly or interact with store associates for necessary support.
  • Buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS): BOPIS allows customers to place an order online and then pick it up from a nearby store location. This option combines the convenience of online shopping with the immediate gratification of in-store pickup. Customers can avoid shipping fees and delivery wait times, while also having the opportunity to inspect the item and receive assistance from store staff if needed.
  • Buy in-store, ship to home: This order option allows customers to make a purchase directly from a physical store but has the item shipped to their home instead of carrying it out themselves. It can be beneficial when customers don’t want to carry large or heavy items or if the store doesn’t have the desired item in stock at that moment. 

3. Omnichannel chatbots

Omnichannel chatbot refers to an AI-enabled chatbot that offers customers a cohesive buying and customer support experience across all channels. Deploying this chatbot can benefit retailers in many ways:

  • Timely responses: Own a customer support agent that can work 24/7 without requiring breaks, ensuring prompt responses to many customer inquiries. This time-saving potential is truly valuable for both retailers and customers alike. In fact, according to Forrester Research, 77% of customers say that valuing their time is the most significant aspect that a company can bring to them.
  • Minimizing request repetition: No customer is happy when having to repeat their requests over and over again to different support representatives. However, with the assistance of AI chatbot, which can quickly retrieve customer information and resolve their queries, businesses can ensure consistent brand interactions across channels.
  • Better customer data: Omnichannel Chatbot can collect customer data from different channels, enabling retailers to uncover new patterns related to customer behavior. These insights empower retailers to make data-driven decisions that enhance their overall customer experience.

4. Endless Aisle 

Endless Aisle is a retail strategy that allows in-store customers to order products that are currently out of stock or not sold in the store. This is done by using in-store mobile touchpoints (kiosks, tablets, mobile apps, etc), allowing customers to browse and purchase products from the retailer’s online inventory.

So when compared with e-commerce apps/websites, what are the values of Endless Aisle? First of all, we need to know that even though the number of online shoppers has consistently increased, there is still a portion of the population who prefers to shop in-store. According to Zippia, 65% of consumers prefer in-store shopping to avoid delivery fees, while 61% prefer it because they want to see or try on items before buying.

A challenge for retailers is stockout, which can cause customers to leave without buying and the store to lose revenue. With Endless Aisle, customers can order out-of-stock products in-store for later pickup or home delivery, and try out products before ordering or returning in-store.

5. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

The reader is a device with one or more antennas that transmit and receive electromagnetic signals from RFID tags. These tags store a serial number or unique identifier and send their data to nearby readers through radio waves. 

RFID is a new technology applied in industries like healthcare, automotive, transportation, etc. In retail settings, RFID superiority brings various advantages, including:

  • Enhance store operations: RFID helps retailers keep track of their inventory levels. When a product is out of stock or has low inventory, RFID notifies employees and shows them where to find the product in the backroom. This helps retailers quickly restock their shelves and keep customers satisfied.
  • Analyze in-store traffic patterns: RFID can track item movement that helps retailers identify which areas in the store are high-traffic. This data can be used to optimize store layout and improve the customer experience.
  • Assist stock-picking: In warehouses, RFID can assist with stock-picking by using drones equipped with RFID scanners to locate products on high shelves. This reduces the amount of time employees spend searching for products.
  • Track item temperature: RFID can also be used to track the temperature of perishable items. RFID tags can be equipped with sensors that monitor the temperature of goods, ensuring that products are stored at the correct temperature and maintain their quality.
  • Improve stock accuracy: RFID tags can be attached to individual products or to shipping containers, and they can be scanned automatically using RFID readers. This allows retailers to quickly check entire shipments of products, without the need for manual scanning like barcodes. 

Final thoughts

Another impressive statistic that we would like to highlight is that 100% of leading retailers cited omnichannel personalization as their top-five priority (McKinsey, 2022). This clearly underscores the undeniable significance of omnichannel retail in today’s market.

When talking about optimizing omnichannel retail, we mustn’t ignore the role of technology. This is where Lollypop – UI/UX Design Studio Vietnam can help you! With over 10 years of experience, we’ve not only designed but also successfully developed end-to-end solutions for local and global businesses across different industries, like Healthcare, Fashion, Telecom, etc. 

Are you a retail business facing challenges in optimizing your omnichannel retail experience? If yes, contact us – Lollypop Design Studio Vietnam, and let’s develop an ultimate solution tailored just for you!