Provide a seamless experience across channels

Retailers that have a multi-channel strategy in place are naturally able to provide their services to customers both online and offline. A successful and truly cross-channel approach has the added advantage of giving consumers a seamless experience across whichever platforms they choose, no matter what stage of the purchase process they are in.

Don’t forget the personal touch

 For retailers to be a success online, they must focus on giving their customer the personal touch that they would expect in any physical store. Whether this is through personalised recommendations or ‘Click to Call’ customer services, online retailers have to make the human connection available to those consumers that want it.

Think mobile

The coming years will see extended growth in the mobile commerce sector, enabling consumers to interact with retailers on their mobile device, online or in-store with the same brand experience across all platforms. The rise of the tablet computers, such as the iPad, could also create an interesting new market for ‘mobile retail kiosks’ within physical stores. Therefore, consumers would be able to visit retailers in-store, while the sales assistant can look up the user’s preferences or previous purchases there and then. This could change how consumers and retailers interact in a substantial way.

Increase loyalty through communities

We have seen that 2009’s recession-hit shoppers have needed more reassurance from friends and colleagues before buying, particularly high-value items such as designer goods. The rise of social networks means more people are acting as brand advocates online. E-commerce platforms that provide customers with easy-to-use and integrated social networking tools such as ‘tweet this’ or ‘post link to Facebook’ buttons will make is easier for individuals to promote products and services online and for retailers to potentially reward them. Social commerce continues to add a ‘community feel’ to the shopping experience and increase customer loyalty.

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