8 ways to offer customers a truly omni-channel shopping experience online

Oct 15, 2018 · 4 min read

It is becoming more important nowadays for brands to offer a consistent experience for their customers across all their marketing and sales channels, from their retail storefront to their website.

Across all industry research into ecommerce and online shopping trends, we know that more than ever consumers demand a frictionless end-to-end online shopping experience, with smooth access across all devices, simple payment options and convenience across all touch points. Also important is flexibility in delivery timeframes and collection locations.

From our experience working with boutique brands, luxury fashion houses and everything in between, here are some ecommerce features we recommend offering to your customers for an omni-channel experience, and what’s required technically to make it happen.

Click and Collect

We’re seeing more demand for the click and collect/store stock lookup feature, especially in metropolitan areas where city workers find it convenient to shop online the night before or during the workday, and pick up their purchases during lunch or after work at their closest bricks-and-mortar store.

Technical requirement: Third-party integration

Our clients alice McCALL have a ‘Find in store’ feature on every product listing page.

Same day delivery

This feature goes hand in hand with click and collect in offering consumers greater flexibility in delivery timeframes and collection locations. It also addresses one of the primary barriers to online shopping — waiting for your purchase to arrive!

It can be logistically tricky, and right now only major retailers offer it, such as The Iconic, with 3–5 hour same day shipping in metropolitan cities, Myer and David Jones. It won’t be long before this feature is offered by premium and luxury brands and boutiques.

Technical requirement: Managed through your fulfilment process

Gift Cards (Online & In-store)

When you receive a gift card, it makes sense to be able to use it both online and in-store. If a client offers gift cards, we always recommend this feature to ensure that their customers have a seamless experience.

Technical requirement: Third party integration

Returns (Online & In-store)

Consumers want to be able to return stock wherever suits them, whether that’s through delivery or at their closest store. Just like delivery and collection, the reciprocal features are offered for returns, making things convenient and easy for the customer.

Technical requirement: Third party integration

Live chat

Live chat support is also becoming increasingly popular and we can understand why. Since being omni-channel is to offer a consistent experience in customer service, having a two-way communication platform with your customers will assist in sales.

This feature is especially helpful for brands with a higher price point to give customers assurance and support before making a purchase.

Technical requirement: App setup and configuration with customer support live chat software like Zopim

Shop Instagram

Instagram is no doubt one of the most revolutionary marketing channels for the retail industry over the last few years. If it’s one of your major referrers for online traffic to your website, the ‘Shop Instagram’ feature will help customers easily find and purchase the featured products from your Instagram feed.

Technical requirement: App setup and configuration

We set up a ‘Shop Insta’ feature for our client, Calibre Australia as part of their Shopify Plus replatform project.

Buy now, pay later

AusPost’s latest industry paper on online shopping estimates that BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later — yes, it’s an acronym now) payments accounted for 7.7% of total online goods spend in 2017. Especially attractive to the 18–39 year old demographic, payment services such Afterpay and Zip Pay provide instant gratification with low entry level for consumers.

Technical requirement: App setup and configuration

Stock Alerts

When it comes to launching the next collection and new stock, it is helpful to have stock alerts so customers are notified via email when a product is low in stock or back in stock.

Technical requirement: Third party integration sharing data between your ERP software and ecommerce platform

How to add these features to your website

Most of the features above require app setup and configuration or third-party integrations between your software platforms to set up sharing of data between them, i.e. Shopify Plus and POS software. Third-party integrations can be one-way or two-way, depending on why you need the two platforms to be in sync. They can also be fairly basic integrations or quite robust, which means that a lot of data is shared between the two platforms.

Having your ERP, POS, and ecommerce platforms in sync will help you create smooth and consistent shopping experiences across all channels for your customers.

If you have any questions about replatforming to Shopify Plus, third-party integrations and custom apps, please get in touch with our team.

DotDev is an official Shopify Plus development agency specialising in replatforming projects, third-party integrations and custom app. Based in Melbourne, Australia, we’ve worked with some of Australia’s premium online retailers in fashion, homewares and jewellery such as Tony Bianco, Calibre, Patagonia, alice McCALL and more.

DotDev Offline

Digital Development and Shopify Plus Agency