Consumers’ Expectations Evolve in #Omnichannel Environment

“Omnichannel” is more than just a recent buzzword. It represents an expectation consumers have from their experiences with their merchants and their FIs. By understanding what drives consumers in this omnichannel environment, FIs can work to optimize the path to purchase.

Consumers’ shopping experiences no longer consist of simply making lists and traveling to brick-and-mortar locations. A recent study found consumers increasingly demand omnichannel services, and when merchants fail to provide them, the majority will take their business elsewhere.

Less than 5 percent of consumers tend to avoid digital methods altogether when planning a purchase. This means the majority of consumers opt for a blend of digital and human touch points when shopping. Merchants with less-than-optimal digital aspects of their businesses run the risk of losing consumers’ interests.

While on their paths-to-purchase, 62 percent of consumers perform research online before visiting a store. They enjoy the ease of seeing all their options with just a few clicks and instantly retrieving a breadth of relevant information. The self-service nature of the web should translate to consumers’ in-store experiences. According to the study, 69 percent of shoppers would be more likely to shop in-store if the store offered self-help technologies such as kiosks and interactive displays.

Like merchants, financial institutions (FIs) have been impacted by this shift in consumers’ attitudes. Consumers increasingly look to their FIs to provide the same level of digital, multi-platform options they receive in other industries. To reach today’s digitally minded consumers, there are a number of actions FIs can take. These include:

  • Understanding the consumer journey: FIs should leverage data analytics and segmentation to gain a deeper understanding of consumers’ needs at every phase.
  • Balancing human touch points with digital ones: Consumers often turn to digital platforms for simple questions, research and price comparisons. For more complex products and services, such as a mortgage application, consumers look for human assistance. FIs should provide a mix of both types of resources.
  • Developing a needs-based marketing approach: By considering the life events impacting consumers’ purchases, FIs can recommend related products and services. Utilizing data analytics tools can help FIs uncover these consumer needs.