• eCommerce

The Future in Your Cart: How Omnichannel is Redefining Shopping

A transformation is underway in the world of retail, led by evolving customer expectations and advanced technologies. This has ushered in an era where £52 billion of online sales have depended on brick-and-mortar stores, signalling the importance of a holistic shopping experience. Consumers now seamlessly alternate between virtual and tangible channels, expecting brands to give a unified retail journey. As we unpack the layers of omnichannel complexity, it's clear that retailers must adapt to keep up.

The omnichannel imperative

Our Ecommerce Delivery Benchmark Report 2024 reveals that an overwhelming 75% of consumers fluidly transition between online channels and in-store channels. Also, a substantial 55% of shoppers prefer collecting online purchases from nearby locations, reflecting the growing demand for flexibility and convenience. For the typically millennial age demographic, or ‘Omnichannel Maestros’, this preference rises to 77%. These shoppers will likely inspect products in a physical store yet finalise their purchases online, prompting merchants to diversify their delivery and collection solutions.

However, only 15% of consumers complete their purchases exclusively via online channels without any in-store interaction, underlining the complexity of the modern shopping journey. These insights reveal the need for a sophisticated omnichannel strategy that resonates with changing shopper behaviours.

Beyond existing across various platforms, retailers must deliver a consistent and reactive shopping experience. By synchronising with these ever-changing consumer patterns, merchants can devise strategies that help develop brand loyalty and drive commercial growth.

Breaking down the buyer's journey

Our report, which focuses on navigating the complexity of the modern buyer’s journey, unveils that technology has redefined the journey from cart to doorstep, changing how shoppers interact with retailers. Just over 70% of digital natives habitually begin their shopping online, yet a significant trend shows that nearly 30% are returning in-store to complete their transactions. This behaviour reflects a nuanced retail reality where the omnichannel experience is not just a buzzword but a concrete consumer expectation.

The distinction between Digital Natives and Digital Adopters illustrates the generational shift in shopping habits. Digital Natives, those under 45, are combining their digital and physical worlds more seamlessly, often browsing online before transitioning to purchasing in a physical store. Meanwhile, many Digital Adopters, typically over 45, begin their journey in the physical realm before moving online, with 46% visiting stores first, and 60% ultimately buying in stores, a trend that suggests different marketing and service strategies for different age groups.

Additionally, the report details the omnichannel journey for non-food items, noting that 62% of all shoppers start their pre-purchase research online. However, regarding the actual purchase, just over half (53%) of the transactions happen in-store, underscoring physical retail's critical role in the consumer decision process.

Merchants must leverage the latest advancements in AI and technology to navigate this complex buyer's journey. It's about creating an agile, responsive, and personalised retail ecosystem that caters to each shopper's preferences.

Strategies for omnichannel success

Our guide emphasises the blend of artificial intelligence (AI), unified commerce, and efficient delivery logistics as fundamental to omnichannel excellence. Retailers need advanced digital solutions quickly to meet customer expectations for speedy delivery, now more than ever. Generative AI is changing the game by personalising marketing and improving after-sales interactions. Retailers can now integrate data across all platforms, moving past old-school multichannel approaches to create a seamless journey from product discovery to purchase.

According to McKinsey & Company, 'Generative AI brings this holy grail of hyperpersonalization at scale close to reality. ' This technology revolutionises consumer marketing by automating processes and enabling a new level of personalisation. It also influences the omnichannel buyer's journey, creating more engaging and tailored customer interactions from the outset.

It’s clear that omnichannel logistics flexibility is crucial for keeping customers satisfied, aided by various delivery options, such as in-store pickup and local collection points, which allow consumers to enjoy tailored end experiences. Global shipping and strategic partnerships are also vital for enhancing these efforts. Packlink's solutions play a key role in helping retailers broaden their market and simplify cross-border operations. By utilising innovative shipping options that work with numerous carriers, merchants can better fulfil diverse delivery expectations. These partnerships improve delivery speed and reliability, offering more international shipping choices without complicating logistics. Leveraging this kind of expertise boosts retailers' ability to provide a comprehensive and swift global delivery service, giving them a competitive advantage in the global market.

Your next move for retail evolution

Our Ecommerce Delivery Benchmark Report 2024 reveals how to evolve, innovate, and integrate better. In an age where customer journeys are as diverse as the consumers themselves, delivering a seamless, responsive, and personalised shopping experience is expected.

Retailers poised to make a mark in 2024 will be those who blend AI with the human touch of in-store engagement. As every click, swipe, and step informs the next, it's time to arm yourself with the knowledge and tactics necessary to lead in the omnichannel arena. By diving into our comprehensive report, you'll uncover the insights and strategies that will enable you to construct an unparalleled customer experience, better understand the buyer’s journey, optimise your logistics, and elevate your brand in a hyper-competitive marketplace.

Download the full Ecommerce Delivery Benchmark Report 2024 now.