Consumer expectations are driving rapid and exciting change in the retail environment. Omnichannel, always-on shopping behavior is increasingly becoming the norm, and technology solutions like buy online pick-up in store (BOPIS), Instacart and AmazonFresh are taking off because they are tailored to meet the needs of today’s "omnishoppers.”
The key is that shopping behaviors including product discovery, selection and ordering are no longer discrete activities that only occur in stores; they are integrated into everyday life. Run out of mayonnaise while making a sandwich? Quickly drop that into your online shopping cart while you’re thinking about it. See an ad for new storage bags that would be perfect for sending your kids to camp? Click to buy them now. Discover a great mixer at a party? Don’t try to remember it the next time you go to the store — add it to your Instacart list on your smartphone. That’s “omnishopping,” and based on our research, it’s happening across all demographics and geographies.
The old paradigm depended on brand target customers remembering the products they wanted during weekly shopping trips, but the omnishopper model rewards brands and retailers who bring the store to the shopper. This is achieved by keeping a cart close by at all times to “catch” impulse buys as they occur throughout the day.
Delighting omnishoppers requires a new cooperation between brands and retailers, which may initially seem uncomfortable to both until they realize they’re leaving their old school competitors in the dust. Brands drive most of the out-of-store discovery of their product through marketing efforts like ads, social media, public relations and so on; each of these digital touchpoints should be cart-enabled, with direct connections to the retailers most relevant to each individual shopper.
Retailers make up the fulfillment part of the process and should make this process as frictionless as possible. They can find ways to make it super easy for shoppers to collect products digitally, and receive them how/when it best fits their needs from numerous options like local delivery, curbside pickup or subscription box deliveries.
Omnishopper nirvana is when shoppers feel almost like they just have to think about wanting a product and it’s dropped in a cart for them, and that products seem to magically appear in their lives at just the right time. With smartphones, new IoT tools and emerging B2B services, we have the technology to make this a reality. Expect to see the brands and retailers who drive this change get disproportionately rewarded.