Here’s a trivia question for you. What is the most important market for your retail company in 2022?
- Desktop browsers
- Mobile browsers
- Physical locations
- All of the above and more
The correct answer is, as you may have already guessed, all of the above and more. Today’s customers, whether they’re B2B or B2C, expect to get their products and services on demand, at the time and platform of their choosing. If your operations aren’t set up to satisfy that demand, you introduce friction to the buying experience, and there’s a greater risk that the customer will go elsewhere.
The successful retailer in 2022 embraces an omnichannel strategy, an anytime-anywhere way of doing business that puts the customer first by introducing availability on every possible channel.
But how do you make that pivot? In this article, we’ll explore how to develop an omnichannel strategy for 2022, emphasizing everything you need to achieve success in an increasingly fractured retail experience.
Think Mobile First
According to Perficient, mobile browsing accounted for a whopping 61% of internet traffic in 2020, up from even the year prior, when 57% of traffic came from mobile devices. If that trend continues, mobile traffic stands to take up two thirds of all internet traffic in just a couple years.
We’ll probably never reach a time when all internet traffic is mobile traffic, but there’s certainly no going back considering the ubiquity of the Smartphone. That means it’s imperative your business looks at its digital retail experience with a mobile-first mindset.
It’s far too easy to embark on development from and for a desktop, with mobile development happening secondarily, if it happens at all. Too many companies think that if they’re designing something to be responsive, then the desktop experience will be mimicked on mobile or require minimal tweaks.
Unfortunately, this usually leads to a subpar mobile experience. And if you’re doing the math, this means you could be alienating a significant portion of your prospective customer base. Formatting could be off, critical UX components could load slowly on LTE connections, and other issues can crop up.
You have to approach development with mobile at the forefront of your thoughts. Think about how mobile behaviors differ from desktop, and how the look and feel must change to accommodate those behaviors.
Creating an exceptional experience on mobile should be the first step for anyone serious about an omnichannel strategy.
Mobile, while important, is only the beginning. To really take your omnichannel strategy to the next level, you need an app that also puts the user experience (and your brand) front and center.
Apps are a crucial driver of loyalty, but like mobile browsing, they can actually have the opposite effect if they’re approached as an afterthought. Your app is an extension of your brand and the trust you’ve built with consumers. The act of downloading an app is symbolic and signifies future intent to purchase a product or service (and then continually use said service).
Eliminating friction and creating a seamless experience brings your customers into a like-minded community that, not coincidentally, also brings increased profits. Your app should have all the functions of your desktop experience, if not more. Things should load quickly with features intuitively appearing where and how the customer would expect.
Your customers should be able to buy products and services, file returns, reach customer service, and do anything else promised by your offerings all from your app. If not, ask yourself why, and see if you can get it on your 2022 roadmap.