Online and offline shopping is merging as more “omnishoppers” appear in the marketplace. These consumers browse online and shop offline, and vice versa. 

It’s now not enough just to have an online presence, but a catalogue of products is also expected so shoppers can browse on their own time.

About the omnishopper

Omnishoppers will often browse in store while on their phone, so as to compare prices, read online reviews, scan barcodes, take photos of products, and discuss them with family or friends before purchasing. They are the ultimate researchers.

In 2020, almost anyone with a smartphone in their pocket could be considered an omni–shopper – and that represents more than 70% of the population! In fact, each search conducted on a mobile device results in nearly two additional actions on average, such as visiting your website, making a purchase or coming in store. This means that being visible to these on–the–go researchers is no longer just a nice–to–have.

Just because they’re looking for fresh information to guide their shopping habits, don’t make the mistake of thinking price is everything. Research suggests that speed is the currency of the digital age. Being there when your customer is looking for you can make the difference between building a lasting loyalty or being left out in the cold.

Changes in consumer habits can feel daunting, especially when there is a new trend to get to grips with every other week. So what can you do to make sure you’re positioned to succeed with the modern consumer?

Hedge your bets - digitally speaking

There are some fundamentals to marketing that don’t change much, including the idea of finding out where your customers are already and meeting them there. For the omni–shopper, it is important to remember that they cover a lot of different mediums all at the same time. They’ll be listening to a podcast while walking past a billboard and Googling where they can buy the latest iPhone.

These consumers embrace technology, so you should too. Set up a cross–channel marketing strategy to ensure you reach them. This should include web, mobile, social, email and direct mail, along with how you present your brand in store. Each channel should have its own strategy and goals, separate from the rest but they should all work together to tell a consistent story about your brand. This will give you the best chance to connect with the omni–shopper at each stage of the process.

Create an experience that they can't help but love

The double edged sword of the omni–shopper is that they know exactly what they want. This is great if you’re offering the features they want, but you might struggle to change their mind once they’ve done their research.

One way to create value to these shoppers is to think about the whole experience starting from the first moment they think about your offerings to long after the sale is complete. For example, how easy is it to find information about your business online? How about on mobile? Digital natives will take approximately 8 seconds to decide if something is worth their attention, so if your website is clunky or takes more than a few seconds to load, chances are you’ve already lost their attention. This is a big focus for us at Storbie and we spend a bunch of time making sure all our sites are sleek, fast and optimised to the needs of modern web–users.

Build a relationship - not a transaction

With so much information at the omni–shoppers’ fingertips, loyalty is far from a given once they’ve bought from you once. If they haven’t loved the experience, they are one 8–second search away from taking their business elsewhere. You can avoid this by genuinely connecting with them beyond the point of sale.

There are many different ways you can do this, and it doesn’t need to be difficult. Love, Lis makes point of connecting with her customers through social media networks and keeps in touch post–sale via mobile and email. PuzzlesNZ provide wrapped sweets when they ship their products, which is easy to do and is a lovely surprise for their customers. Think about the little extras that will make you stand out from the crowd. The omnishopper will reward you for your efforts.

The omni–shopper isn’t all that different from any other customer. The ready availability of information is just a part of doing business these days. As has always been the case, the key to success is finding a way to communicate in the language your customer is speaking and to stand out from the crowd. You might need to get a little creative, but if you keep this in mind you’ll have a loyal following from this bunch of consumers.

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