Don't let your retail business relationships fall through the cracks because of supply chain uncertainty and logistics turbulence. While more and more focus is on purely eCommerce sales, here’s the truth: online and in-store purchasing experiences go hand in hand, and you need technology that can facilitate a seamless experience between the two.
According to Markacy, "Today, online and offline investments aren't mutually exclusive; on the other hand, 82 percent of consumers say they consult their phones before making a purchase. In fact, the best opportunities for brick and mortar stores are a combination of the two, especially since the majority of Gen Z consumers prefer being able to both see the product and also have access to it online."
The only way to provide the best experiences for your customers and ensure your brand representatives are fully supported in this new selling paradigm is with technology. Learn more about what a unified commerce platform is and how it can empower your brand reps through both in-person and online sales.
Are You Failing Your Brand Reps?
Just like omnichannel marketing has become an essential strategy across B2C, B2B, and D2C organizations, omnichannel retail is quickly becoming a minimum default for companies that want to retain their market share. It's not enough to optimize the online selling experience to accommodate virtual try-ons, online shopping, and research on mobile devices (as well as a seamless transition between all possible digital platforms). Nor is it enough to offer convenient in-person shopping locations. Instead, consumers expect a convergence of both virtual and physical worlds so they can browse for reviews and options in the stores.
This requires far more logistical support and real-time understanding of your inventory and brand. Your brand representatives need to have constant insight into what information consumers have through online and in-person sources, and they need to be able to deliver goods and information to the customer in front of them, whether that's across a checkout counter or across a device.
If you want retail success in both online D2C and in-store retail contexts, you need:
The Right People...
Brand representatives need to act as ambassadors for your products by complementing your branding tone and reputation while also providing a human element to the shopping experience. This means it's important for your brand reps to embody the ethos of your brand, understand and relate to the core themes and values of your organization, and be able to convey those messages to your shoppers authentically.
And who does that better than your top customers? When you can tap into your current customers and connect with those who want to represent your brand for a living, you can start building a powerful network of brand reps who are fully attuned to your brand. In turn, they can enhance the relationship between your brand and your customers to convert them into life-long customers instead of one-time buyers.
...Powered by the Right Technology
But even the best brand representatives can't get there on their own. They need online resources and real-time information so they can speak with authority and ensure the customer experience is excellent, not just authentic. When brands stop short of investing in helpful resources, they leave their representatives without crucial inventory insights and the ability to answer customer questions.
A unified commerce platform that works across different devices allows brand reps to easily check order statuses, inventory levels, product details, and more, all without interrupting the interaction. A unified commerce platform lets brand representatives see the same details shoppers can see in real-time so there's no miscommunication or confusion. It also provides a deeper layer of information so brand representatives can give more insightful answers that enrich the in-person shopping experience.
Unified Commerce Platforms Drive Retail Success
Powerful technology is at the heart of creating an omnichannel shopping experience. With the right tools, brand representatives can:
- Place or modify online orders based on customer changes and updates
- Create a more convenient experience for sourcing in-demand goods and routing them to the right location for a shopper
- Provide up-to-date shipping times and inventory details so customers can set their expectations
- Understand specific and broad consumer trends to proactively provide good service or offer promotional deals that enhance the shopping experience
- Outperform competitors with better insights, demos, and support.
Let's take a deeper look at how empowering your brand reps with a unified commerce platform can help in the three key areas of reporting and analytics, competitive intelligence, and visual merchandising and demos.
Reporting and Analytics
Your brand reps can't fail when it comes to providing access to in-demand options. That's a fast way to sour the experience and make new customers write off your brand. Instead, the right commerce platform will be easy for brand reps and managers to navigate on their mobile phones and have instant access to:
- Inventory Levels: Brand reps can stock shelves, inform shoppers about shipping times, easy ordering options, and more.
- Purchasing Patterns: This allows retail locations to place the right volumes of orders for every product so they have the right inventory levels to meet demand without overcrowding store shelves.
- Consumer Trends: These insights allow brand reps and managers to offer the right promotional deals based on the needs of their specific market.
The right unified commerce platform will also provide insights into competitors' strategies and performance so they can see how different brands are making use of in-store shelves. With an easy location to track and monitor competitive intelligence, your brand reps can make strategic decisions to drive sales.
Visual Merchandising and Demos
In-store visuals are key, especially as eCommerce and in-person shopping experiences converge. With the right data and insights at their fingertips, brand representatives can:
- Stock inventory at optimal levels
- Display products as appealingly as possible across POS and POP displays, store shelves, and more
- Perform demos that speak to specific buyer personas
Empower Your Brand Reps With a Unified Commerce Platform From ThirdChannel
Collect, aggregate, and draw powerful results from in-store and online shopping analytics to help your brand representatives create the best shopping experiences possible. Data can inform everything from merchandise displays and shelf space to customer- and retailer-facing answers so your team can eliminate guesswork and go with proven strategies.
ThirdChannel developed unified commerce platforms and tools so you can achieve success with contracted brand representatives and reach every type of retail shopper. Contact us today to learn more.