In the past, shopping experiences start and end in the store. Now it is a journey across multiple channels – website, marketplace, mobile, in-store and over the phone. With the expectations of shopping anytime, anywhere and via any device by the modern consumer, Companies are challenged to create an integrated customer experience across all their channels.
Most organisations think that by creating a multi-channel experience such as website, blog, social media is what implementing an omnichannel strategy means. Although all these platforms engage and connect with the customers, there is still lacking in a seamless experience and messaging across each of these channels.
Here are some successful implementation of omnichannel strategy in retailing:
1) Amazon and Whole Foods
When Amazon acquired Whole Foods in 2017, there were multiple changes to their brick and mortar store. Amazon began to sell its Echo in-store and opened up lockers for deliveries in selected Whole Foods location. There are also several benefits offered to Amazon Prime members, such as special discount in-store and free 2 hours delivery when customers shop online.
When Amazon combines its Prime services and Whole foods shopping experience, it is gaining valuable information about the customer’s shopping behaviour both online and offline. This information is critical in creating customised and targeted marketing and promotions, specific to the customer’s needs and interests.
By integrating both online and offline grocery shopping behaviours, Amazon can better predict the preference, spending behaviours and lifestyle of their customers, and thus provide a personalised customer experience.
Fuelled by the on-demand sector, Honestbee carved its niche in the grocery delivery business. They provide their platforms for retailers such as FairPrice, Cold Storage, and Pet Lover Centre.
Honestbee provides a large selection of products for consumers to select and purchase their groceries online without travelling and visiting various retail stores. They provide an online platform where customers can purchase their groceries in a mobile application and get the items delivered within the next hourly window from the ordered time.
Other than establishing an online presence through their application, they also have a newGen brick and mortar retail space: Habitat. It is a tech-integrated space that creates a multi-sensory grocery and dining experience. This retail concept connects both online and offline creating a seamless shopping experience. The grocery includes a fully automated check-out system where customers pay using their smartphone application and robots will pack their groceries into bags. Honestbee goes a step further and provides an option for customers to order through their application and collect the products at their Habitat store.
HonestBee makes use of all the data collected through their mobile application to provide insights and solutions on how to make shopping easier for their customers. These insights can also be used to develop more effective and targeted marketing campaigns.
Deliveroo is an on-demand food delivery service provider. It changes the concept of food delivery by offering fast, transparent and reliable delivery from premium restaurants that do not typically provide takeaway services themselves. They offer their partner restaurant everything they need to provide a food delivery service from drivers to a logistics platform.
The application technology finds the most efficient way of distributing orders based on the locations of restaurants, riders and customers. This has improved the delivery duration, shortening it to an average of 32 minutes per order in Singapore.
Other than providing food delivery through an online application, Deliveroo extends its online presence offline through the introduction of “Click & Collect” service in Singapore. This allows customers who are a 100m radius from the outlet to pick up their Deliveroo takeaway order for free. This means it is not required to hit a minimum order value or pay extra for delivery fees.
Deliveroo also launched its fully automated dining space called Deliveroo Food Market that allows consumers to place their orders at digital kiosks with cashless payment. Once the food is ready, there is a notification on a digital board to collect their food at a designated cubby hole. There are 11 dining concepts in this dine-in restaurant, serving a wide range of cuisines such as Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Greek and Western.
With on-demand services such as Deliveroo, it has made it easier for consumers such as you and me to get food delivered at our convenience. Deliveroo also can tap in their database to gather insights such as which cuisine is missing and under-represented. From this data, they can choose restaurant partners that will be the most successful in the district.
On-demand business models are the future for most of the traditional industries and this trend continues to expand and overlap into many other aspects of the modern consumer including transport, healthcare, education, financial services and most definitely retail. So while we are getting our groceries and lunch delivered at the same 2-hour window, we will soon expect a new (rented) outfit and a hairdressing service to be booked within the same afternoon. We can try out the new dress in-store and proceed to the hair salon with the pre-booked appointment time. And when we are ready to leave for the appointment, our hired ride that can be paid via an online wallet will be waiting for us. If the journey is a long one, we can even attend an online course while commuting.
All these case study looks at how companies are innovating and personalising the consumer experience. It is not sufficient for businesses to be always “on”, but also stay relevant, responsive to customer’s desire for instant provisioning of goods and services. It also shows how Internet companies can reinvent their business models to include offline presence and gain a bigger piece of the market.