Purchasing and Fulfillment
The purchasing process of the shopping journey has changed as well. Retailers are evaluating existing and emerging opportunities to partner with mobile-phone manufacturers, banks, cryptocurrencies, financing companies, and others to provide more options for payment.
Fulfillment has also changed dramatically in recent years. Whether picking up in the store or at curbside, click-and-collect options have been extremely popular for consumers. Online retailers have deployed locker-based pickup stations to allow for 24/7 access to deliveries, and traditional retailers have responded with their own staffed and unstaffed 24/7 options. Fulfillment options for consumers that also extend the reach of brands are continuing to develop. We’re seeing store-in-store partnerships that give consumers opportunities to shop specialty brands in mass-merchandise retailers in addition to flexible fulfillment via online shopping and at-home delivery.
Service and Support
The pre and post shopping experience is vital to maintaining customer satisfaction and brand affinity – the longer the retailer engages the customer, the greater their intent-to-return to the brand.
Customers do not want to have to navigate restrictions and complexities of returns or exchanges but instead expect those processes to be as simple and as seamless as possible. Retailers have, for the most part, eliminated restocking fees or other hurdles to returning products in-store from online orders. Now, retailers are looking at returns and exchanges as opportunities to begin the next shopping experience as customers enter the store. Retailers with a physical presence near their customers can provide more complete and on-brand experiences in comparison to third-party service providers or shipping partners. This can help retailers save-the-sale and, in many cases, grow the basket with service offerings and complementary products.
Online and mobile experiences provide retailers with more ways to engage with consumers. These channels offer a full suite of options for businesses to transact, fulfill, and service orders. Integrating these channels to complement their physical presence is critical if retailers want to capitalize on their capabilities while maximizing their return on investments.
Consumers want the ability to shop, transact, receive, or return their orders how, when, and where they desire. If retailers can effectively provide those options, customer affinity and brand loyalty will follow.
See how Cisco’s portfolio of retail solutions provides the capabilities retailers need to embrace multi-channel commerce in retail.