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What's in store Omnichannel innovation: Bridging the Gap Between Online and In-Store Experiences

With the prolific rise of e-commerce and mobile shopping over the last few years, the traditional brick-and-mortar retail store model has had to adapt in innovative ways. Omnichannel retail has emerged as the solution to help bridge the gap between online and in-store shopping experiences, allowing retailers to provide customers with a seamless, integrated shopping experience across multiple channels.

Today, around 90% of customers state that they expect a consistent and interactive experience across all retail channels, be it online, in-store or via mobile. This is critical, as retailers who don't sell on multiple channels miss out on up to 30% of sales. In response, over 80% of retail companies state that they have made investments in omnichannel retail to meet customer demands.

As consumers continue to use multiple channels, their expectations for what a seamless shopping experience looks like have become increasingly complex. For instance, 72% of customers say that they expect companies to have knowledge of their purchase history, irrespective of the communication channel used. Without the appropriate tools and technologies in place, implementing such a process into their systems could prove challenging for many retailers.

This is where innovation in omnichannel retail comes into play. Today, an increasing number of retailers are looking to invest in technologies that can help them make use of customer data and improve their customer experience across all their channels. To advance these innovations many retailers are looking to innovative startups and the innovative solutions that they are developing to fill in the gaps. 

Startups are leading the charge in developing a number of interesting technologies that can serve retailers in a number of way, including innovations such as; 

  • Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR): AR and VR technologies are allowing retailers to create deeply immersive experiences for customers. Now customers are able to try on clothes virtuals, see what furniture would look like in their house, or explore shops all from the comfort of their own homes. With AR and VR technologies retailers are able to offer their customers a highly engaging and convenient shopping experience. 
  • Chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI): Chatbots are everywhere these days. From retailer’s website to mobile apps, chatbots allow customers to have answers to questions they have in real-time. An increasing number of startups are developing AI supported chatbots that have the ability to create highly personalized responses based on such data points such as  customer's purchase history and browsing behavior etc.  
  • Blockchain technology: Blockchain technology can create a secure and transparent supply chain that allows retailers to track products from the manufacturer to the end consumer. This can help retailers identify any issues or delays in the supply chain, allowing them to take corrective action and ensure that customers receive their products on time.
  • Payment systems: Startups are developing  easy-to-use payment processing systems that can easily be integrated into a retailer's website or mobile app. These payment systems offer customers a seamless and secure checkout experience.

In recent years, startups have emerged as key players in driving innovation within the omnichannel retail industry. These nimble and innovative companies are capable of developing cutting-edge solutions at a rapid pace, leveraging their small size and agile working methods to their advantage. By partnering with startups, traditional retailers can tap into the latest technologies and trends, allowing them to stay ahead of the competition and meet the evolving needs of their customers. This has become increasingly important as the retail landscape continues to evolve at a breakneck pace, with new technologies and customer preferences emerging on a regular basis.

Interesting to learn what are the most interesting startups developing innovative technologies and solutions for the retail sector. Download our comprehensive omnichannel retail innovation report, produced in partnership with the Retail Institute Italy. This report offers valuable insights and analysis on the latest advancements in the industry, providing a wealth of information to retailers who want to stay ahead of the game.

Download the Omnichannel report

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Download the Omnichannel report