“The future is now” is a saying that is often circulated amongst Silicon Valley and tech professionals—but what if we were to tell you that it truly is here and it will completely transform the way we purchase items. And no, we are not talking about online shopping or purchasing your latest groceries through an app, we are talking about evolving the retail experience in mom-and-pop shops.
Brick and mortar stores are not going anywhere any time soon, what they are evolving into instead are hybrid creatures built by physical material but powered by the omnichannel experience. Now you might be asking yourself, “what is the omnichannel experience?”
It sounds like an invention of the future, perhaps something you might see in your childhood favorite show, “the Jetsons” or out of George Orwell’s hit classic, “1984”. But what if we told you, it is all of the above. It is both the future and the present in a beautiful melding of the two.
Diving Deep Into the Omnichannel Experience
Let us start off with a little old-school definition. What is the omnichannel experience? Well in short it is a term coined by Silicon Valley meaning a customer can access a product through multiple channels or platforms.
In layman terms, you, the customer, will essentially be able to purchase items with much more fluidity and ease when looking for a specific product. Let us use an example to paint a picture for you:
You are on Facebook, and you see an advertisement for a baseball cap you really like. You click on the baseball hat—but they do not seem to have your size. You click on support, ask them for your size, and it looks like they happen to have your size in stock at the nearest brick and mortar location.
You jump into your vehicle, and you go to the store. The sales clerk knows you are coming and already has your brand-new hat nice and dusted off for you. You pull out your phone, roar up your crypto wallet app, scan the barcode at the checkout register—and in one seamless and fluid interaction you have come across multiple touchpoints with one single company. All performed from the comfort of your phone. Multiple touchpoints, one single sale funnel, from awareness to the actual purchase—the entire process is seamless.
Omnichannel vs Multichannel
Now let us compare the future with what mom and pop used to do back in the day. The infamous battle between the Omnichannel experience and the multichannel experience.
When referring to multichannel, we are talking about how a majority of stores currently operate. Let us put on our thinking caps and use our earlier example to get your creative noggin going. You see a baseball hat you like on social media, you click on the link, oops it is broken. You manually enter the website on Google and look for your size. Yikes, they do not have it.
You figure, well let us go try the physical store—you jump into your car, drive over, only to discover they do not have your size or design in stock. You leave unhappy, distressed, and feeling like you just wasted a lot of time on nothing. Five different touchpoints, but without the seamless flow of the omnichannel experience. That is a big difference.
Who is Using the Omnichannel Experience?
This may come as no surprise to you, but a large majority of tech companies are taking advantage of this seamless way to sell their products. And even your big-store titans like Walmart and Target are jumping on board. Why?
Because it works. Because it makes the entire shopping experience better. From the moment their customers view their products, to the moment of checkout with your smartphone and an app, it is all seamless. Not perfect, but excellent. That is why more and more stores are incorporating the omnichannel experience.
Let us use another example. Disney, the mother of all theme parks and childlike goodness. You want to plan a trip to Disney for you and your kids. You jump on the app, select which theme park you would like to go explore, purchase the tickets through the app, book the hotel at the theme park and even grab a direct flight to the beloved theme park.
Once you arrive, you check-in, receive a wireless band—and through this band, you are able to pay for restaurants, order the flash pass, open your hotel—all through one seamless, omnichannel experience.
Is Omnichannel Experience the Future?
We are sure by now; you must have a fairly solid understanding of the omnichannel experience and what it means for the future of retail. It is a new concept that is here to stay. We are living through the technological renaissance that will transform the face of how we perform our shopping, both online and in-person.
From ordering your groceries or preparing for the big football game on Sunday to picking out a gift for your partner on Valentine’s Day—these actions, these shopping tendencies will all come from the birth of the omnichannel experience.
Gone are the days where you feel lost and in a state of despair because you cannot seem to find your size of Nikes or the perfect blazer for your best friend’s wedding.
These problems have been solved. Through brilliant technologies like the kind developed here at Elly, or the technological revolution that is transforming the way we pay for items.
Once upon a time, our company spent a good amount of time living in the French Quarter in Shanghai—do you know how we ate breakfast? We would jump on the elevator, descend a dozen floors, walk right out into the elderly man selling a fried pastry on the corner. Walk right up, open our phone, fire up my WeChat app, scan the barcode—payment processed, bitcoin accepted, and breakfast served.
All from the comfort of my phone. All through the luxury of the omnichannel experience.