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How omnichannel drives global ecommerce

The key to selling to consumers in new territories is understanding their behaviours and preferences, and then choosing a partner with local country, technical and logistics… View Article


How omnichannel drives global ecommerce

The key to selling to consumers in new territories is understanding their behaviours and preferences, and then choosing a partner with local country, technical and logistics capabilities to manage the go to market, says Jonathan Sheard, Vice President, Sales at ESW.

In today’s dynamic retail landscape, consumers are seamlessly navigating multiple channels to research, purchase, and return products. This cross-channel behaviour requires brands and retailers to be equally agile, meeting and exceeding customer expectations at every touchpoint. However, implementing effective omnichannel solutions–particularly in new markets– poses significant challenges, from understanding diverse consumer preferences to establishing robust infrastructure. Offering customers anything less than a localised experience and customer service is neither sustainable nor profitable.

ESW’s Global Voices study of over 18,000 shoppers across 18 countries focused on the behaviour of modern shoppers, offering insights into the benefits and strategies of omnichannel commerce. 

Why omnichannel matters

Launching an omnichannel presence is inherently more complex than an online-only approach, yet the rewards are substantial. Omnichannel shoppers not only make more purchases, they also spend significantly more than their single-channel counterparts. The popularity of omnichannel shopping is on the rise, making it a crucial strategy for any brand aiming for comprehensive market penetration.

The data reveals that omnichannel shoppers place an average of 15% more orders per year than non-omnichannel shoppers. Furthermore, a significant proportion of high-spending consumers (those who spend $3,500 to $4,999 annually) are omnichannel shoppers, emphasising the financial benefits of this approach.

The world’s omnichannel shoppers

Understanding the global omnichannel shopper is pivotal for successful international expansion. The survey reveals that 52% of global shoppers make use of multiple channels in their shopping journey. These behaviours include browsing in-store before buying online, researching products online before making in-store purchases, and buying online with in-store pickup and returns.

However, omnichannel demand varies significantly by market. Countries like the UAE, South Africa, and India have the highest rates of omnichannel shopping at 65%. However, Italy, Japan, and Germany show lower engagement (only around 39%), indicating the need for localised strategies.

Millennials lead in omnichannel usage

Younger generations, particularly Millennials, are at the forefront of the omnichannel trend. Nearly 58% of Millennials engage in omnichannel shopping, surpassing the 53% of Gen Z. This demographic’s digital fluency and spending power makes them adept at navigating both online and offline shopping environments as well as spending more across channels. Moreover, Millennials and Gen X have shown the most substantial year-over-year growth in omnichannel shopping, highlighting their critical role in driving this trend.

Hybrid workers are omnichannel shoppers

In addition to generational differences, omnichannel shopping preferences are significantly influenced by work habits. Hybrid workers, who split their time between home and office, are the most active omnichannel shoppers, with 63% engaging in this behaviour. This contrasts with 53% of those working full-time in an office or from home, and 42% of retirees, underscoring how lifestyle influences shopping habits.

Omnichannel shopper behaviours and attitudes

Identifying omnichannel shoppers is only part of the equation; understanding their values and motivations is crucial for brand success. Omnichannel shoppers are generally more brand-loyal and environmentally conscious. They most frequently use multiple channels for purchasing consumer electronics, and cosmetics. They are also more likely than non-omnichannel shoppers to participate in events like flash sales.

Sustainability and brand loyalty

Sustainability is a key concern for omnichannel shoppers. Those who report high levels of environmental concern are more likely to engage in omnichannel shopping. Brands that emphasise environmentally responsible practices can attract these consumers. Similarly, brand loyalty is strong among omnichannel shoppers, who often associate brand names with quality and value.

To capture and retain the loyalty of omnichannel shoppers, brands must offer a seamless experience that integrates digital and physical channels. This flexibility allows customers to engage on their terms, building trust and enhancing customer lifetime value. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Brands must localise their omnichannel offerings to meet the unique preferences and expectations of each market.

Accurate customer segmentation is a good first step in designing an effective omnichannel strategy. Targeting key demographics such as Millennials, Gen Z, and hybrid workers, and addressing their specific needs and values, particularly around sustainability and brand loyalty, is essential. Brands must also ensure they can deliver on their promises of a world-class omnichannel experience. To do that, brands need the right technology and the right logistics networks so they can  offer a hyper-local experience that is safe, easy and fast, from demand generation to customer retention, and everything in between. Enabling the right strategy and engaging the right ecosystem of partners from the start helps ensure scalable success.

By understanding and leveraging these insights, brands can effectively navigate the complexities of international omnichannel commerce, to make sure they meet the evolving demands of today’s global shoppers. To learn more, download the full report: Omnichannel Commerce: Creating Value for Your Brand and Your Customers.

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