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Amazon is Upping its Omnichannel Strategy — And So Should You

Steve Susina • February 19, 2016

By Katherine Osos, Senior Experience Architect

Flat design vector illustration. E-commerce, shopping & delivery
Flat design vector illustration. E-commerce, shopping & delivery

For years, brick-and-mortar retailers have been advised that an online presence is imperative for success in today’s marketplace. But a recent move by Amazon reveals that online-only stores may need to widen their reach, as well, to stay competitive in an omnichannel world. The online behemoth opened its first physical store – a bookstore, in fact – last November in Seattle. And, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, the company is predicted to open up hundreds more in the near future.

A strong indicator of Amazon’s omnichannel mindset is reflected within the way its new physical store is organized. Books are grouped by genre (typical of all bookstores) AND by how highly they’re rated on (a new twist!). Amazon is also looking for ways to streamline the checkout process, much as it did in the online space. A patent application filed by the company last year reveals plans for a simplified in-store experience where customers are charged upon leaving a store – using cameras and sensors – without ever approaching a checkout counter or wielding a credit card. But only time will tell how successful such ideas will be. Until then, it’s fair to say that other retailers need to start ramping up their omnichannel game – and stat!

Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Arm your store associates with iPads. If they don’t have product info at their fingertips, they are at a disadvantage to customers who’ve already pulled up three competitor sites on their phone.
  • Provide customers with access to in-store wifi. This should not be considered a threat to the shopping experience, but rather a helpful tool to facilitate browsing.
  • Allow mobile apps to be a bridge between your online and in-store channels – not a separate entity. Many apps available today are more like an awkward appendage that companies expect customers to embrace rather than a helping hand to assist in the shopping experience.
  • Offer in-store kiosks that allow customers to order online and ship to home (the concept of an “endless aisle”). This allows stores to expand inventory access and eliminate shelf space for low-selling items.
  • Ensure that local, store inventory is available and updated real-time on your website. (Better yet, allow customers the option to order online and pick up in store). Showrooming is a real thing and customers will appreciate your help facilitating it.

If you’re interested in reading more about some specific omnichannel ideas, check out these blogs:

3 Tips for Including BOPIS into your Omnichannel Strategy

8 Ways to Optimize a Retail Location for Smartphone Use

Online and In-store Pricing: Maintaining Customer Trust

Omni-Channel Retail: the Seamless Shopping Experience your Customers Expect

Oh, the POS-ibilities! Extending Magento for OmniChannel and POS

Want to learn more? Please feel free to contact us.

Katherine Osos is a Senior Experience Architect with a background in editing and publication management as well as user experience and content strategy. When she’s not creating wireframes or conducting user research for LYONSCG, she enjoys hiking with her dog and playing the piano.

Steve Susina

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Steve Susina

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