By Ankita Kaushik, Content Marketer at MoEngage

Till now we have covered the need for connected retail, its benefits, and one of the popular brands’ Decathlon executing it perfectly. In this part (Part 3), we will cover how the pandemic is stimulating the connected retail shift.

eCommerce is a major driving force of the UK and European economy. The Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated consumer behaviour trends, changing the future of online shopping forever.

The modern shopper is a complex individual. The advent of technology and a mobile-first approach have required brands to tie their online and offline product marketing efforts together to ensure a smooth shopping experience for customers.

82% of shoppers are using smartphones as their shopping assistants today, while purchasing in stores. And this is just one of the reasons why retailers need to up their game when it comes to creating an omnichannel strategy.

Shaping Omnichannel Decision-making

Here are some of the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted omnichannel e-commerce and will continue to do so.

  • Development of a strong online retail presence by brick-and-mortar stores

Many stores that were previously known for their exclusive in-house shopping experience suffered an initial setback when the pandemic struck. However, considering that social distancing and online shopping are here to stay, several stores have developed a strong e-commerce arm to create an omnichannel experience for their customers.

The food and beverage and vehicles and parts industries, both traditionally known for their offline presence, saw an exceptional increase in the number of online stores during the pandemic and are expected to continue, going forward.

For the retail industry, shops and stores with a physical presence are using floor spaces creatively to offer a more fulfilling experience to shoppers.

  • Adoption of a more flexible system for a smooth shopping experience

At the heart of an omnichannel experience is seamless interaction with the customer. The pandemic has created new customer needs, requiring cross-platform touchpoints for a holistic brand experience while onboarding, engagement, conversion, and retention.

Companies have to now think of building a full suite of ways for the customer to interact with the brand including, but not limited to, a website, a brand-owned app, a physical store, a marketplace presence, social media channels, and partnerships with last-mile delivery service providers.

Admittedly, this will mean some loss of control when it comes to controlling the shopper’s engagement, as retailers diversify their channels of communication. However, brands can try to reserve the most important interactions over the channels that they have more control over, driving high-intent customers to brand-owned platforms rather than, say, social media handles.

Decathlon has set an exemplary example when it comes to understanding how brands need to adopt omnichannel retail experiences during and post the COVID-19 pandemic. It is time for other brands to follow suit and implement a similar dynamic retail marketing strategy to kickstart your offline-to-online journey!

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