Sheri Hebbeln
January 13, 2014 | Customer Relationship Management (CRM), General | Sheri Hebbeln

Omnichannel Retailing Growing in Importance

E-commerce isn't an either-or situation compared to tasting room sales. While online wine sales can significantly improve your overall revenue, customers are expressing a preference for an Omnichannel approach to retailing. More than anything else, shoppers are drawn to retailers that offer high-quality, personalized experiences, according to a study from Baynote, a customer experience service provider.

Because wine is all about the experience, you need to focus on offering a seamless customer experience between your winery’s tasting room and your online wine store. Although the Internet creates opportunities to reach customers in new markets, shoppers want to receive the same experience from desktop computers, smartphones and tablets that they could in your winery.

"This year's holiday survey clearly demonstrates that consumers, driven by millennials, are challenging retailers to deliver an exceptional experience," said Marti Tedesco, senior director of marketing at Baynote. "For retailers, this means creating a seamless customer experience across all devices that is integrated with in-store shopping activities. Retailers who meet or exceed these consumer demands will flourish while others will fall behind."

What customers want from Omnichannel experiences
Mobile commerce is completely revolutionizing online stores. Among the other survey results, Baynote found that online shoppers are interested in the following:

  • Shipping: Although wineries can't offer free shipping like other online retailers, you can work with your customers to ensure they get the most convenient and affordable delivery. Sixty percent of shoppers said shipping mattered to them when making their final decisions.
  • Email promotions: Online shoppers - particularly women - are highly motivated by email deals. The study found 38 percent of consumers take advantage of email offers and 42 percent participate in flash sales after receiving a notification. Women are more likely to leverage promotions in all or most of their purchases. Not surprisingly, younger shoppers more frequently utilize Web-only offers.
  • Customer reviews are the most significant influencer for in-store and online purchases: With a huge variety of options from traditional retailers and e-commerce providers, shoppers place the most trust in previous customers. Younger consumers are the most likely to seek online reviews while they are in a store.

Omnichannel experience requires a new kind of customer service
This probably isn't a surprise, but the new reality of retail anywhere, anytime means you need to evolve your customer service practices as well. If customers can only contact you by phone during traditional business hours, there are bound to be problems. One of the benefits of e-commerce is that people can shop when it's convenient for them, and this may mean later in the evening. If they encounter problems during the ordering process and no one is there to assist them, you may wind up with a customer retention issue.

Because of the prevalence of online shopping, you should consider expanding your customer service efforts to social media, Forbes said. Social media is becoming an integral part of the overall online shopping experience, and many customers air their complaints on these networks. However, many grievances never receive a response, and this can further impact customer satisfaction. Your winery may be able to gain an advantage over competitors by engaging with customers through these platforms. 



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