In an age when technology offers consumers limitless shopping choices at the touch of a button, retailers increasingly need to make the most of innovation that allows customers to easily interact with their brand. An ‘omnichannel’ strategy, which lets customers to browse, pay for and return goods using a mix of both on- and off-line platforms, is no longer just “nice to have”, but a necessity.

The benefits of linking purchasing platforms – including online, in-store or in-app – are numerous, from giving merchants a better understanding of customers’ habits to improving payment security. Here, Barclaycard explores how embracing omnichannel can help retailers stay competitive and keep shoppers happy.

1. Simplifying the shopping experience
Consumers want to shop in a way that suits their needs, whether in-store, online, or via app, and they expect to switch effortlessly from one platform to another. Barclaycard research reveals, for instance, that nearly two-fifths (38%) of us research clothing online before going to a bricks-and-mortar store to make their purchase.

Streamlining online and offline channels will help retailers meet customer demands for this omnichannel experience – for example, by offering one, centralised catalogue of goods accessible by phone, online or on the high street. This helps consumers move between browsing options without losing track of their items, as the channels can ‘communicate’ with one another. This ensures that whichever platform (or platforms) shoppers choose to use – whether online, face-to-face or a mixture – they can find what they need, when and where they need it.

2. Building a stronger relationship with shoppers
Consumers want a more personalised shopping experience, so it is vital that businesses understand their customers’ browsing and payment preferences, whether that’s to pay with a contactless card or via a mobile app. If they have this level of understanding, retailers can tailor the shopping experience to meet their customers’ exact needs. Barclaycard research shows two fifths (38%) of UK adults are happy for fashion retailers to use their purchasing and browsing data to provide a more personalised service, and three in ten (29%) say that tailored deals are likely to encourage them to buy from one…