Future of Commerce Blog

This is What Big Box Retail Can Teach You About Omnichannel Shopping


A new generation of shoppers has emerged, and their expectations are disrupting the way retailers sell. Customer-centric business models are taking an omnichannel approach to their primary sales offering. We’ve talked a lot about what big box retailers can learn from smaller brands in today’s consumer choice economy, but there are still lessons to be learned from these larger brands, as well. This is what you can learn from big box retailers about how to make your business successful.

How Modern Shopping Habits are Disrupting the Way Retailers Sell

At one point, we moved from brick and mortar to online sales. Then, we realized people were shopping from their mobile devices and made our sites responsive to accommodate them. Now, creating an omnichannel shopping experience that offers multiple sales channels for buyers is a successful retailer’s focus.

Companies that include offline, online, and phone ordering in their business strategy have the upper-hand with 91% greater year-after-year customer retention than those without an omnichannel offering. People still walk into Best Buy and Macy’s stores to shop, but they want to be able to pick up the phone or hop online to make an order as well. Amazon is even opening brick and mortar retail stores. You need to accommodate the needs of modern shoppers if you want success.

  1. Online Customer Reviews Can Make or Break Your In-Store Product Sales


Most of your customers, both off- and online, are going to check out product reviews. According to Forbes, 82% of consumers conduct research online, whether or not they make a purchase in-store. So, keep positive online reviews handy for your shoppers.

Leverage a product review tool and make sure customers can leave feedback for each item to help improve not only sales for a specific product but also your inventory. If a product isn’t popular, you probably don’t want to sell it anyway.

  1. Free Shipping Might as Well be a Required Offering


Free shipping is the number one incentive for online shoppers. Eighty-eight percent of people ordering products from your website will expect this. Not surprisingly, your phone and in-store customers will want the same option for delivery orders. If you’re not already doing so, figure out how to offer free shipping and meet customer shipping expectations.

In some cases this means you’ll have to increase prices. Other times, you can look at your packaging and carriers to discover opportunities for savings.  

  1. You Don’t Have to Sell the Hottest Products to Leverage Demand Trends


Artificial intelligence (AI) is trending right now, and people are raving about in-home smart technology. But, you don’t have to sell the most state-of-the-art products to piggyback on their success. It can be difficult to establish contracts with companies who import the hottest products, but you can still come up with creative ways to leverage trends.

For example, you can offer Moana doll accessories or Amazon Echo skins, rather than actual branded Disney or Amazon products. When big box retailers can’t sell a trending product, they still use consumer insights to improve their offering.  

  1. Automation & the Right Tools Will Help You Scale Your Business


Big box retailers sell a wide variety of products. Only the best automation software can handle the kind of sales that go through companies like Home Depot and WalMart. But, it’s not limited to billionaire tycoons. You can easily use technology to track inventory and enable multichannel selling no matter how many products you sell monthly.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever with the software available to you. Use portable credit card readers integrated with your eCommerce platform to track sales easily both on and offline. Make sure your inventory management processes are in alignment with your omnichannel offering.

Online Registries Facilitate In-Store Sales


One tactic you may not be using yet but that you should definitely consider is the use of online registries. With a registry, customers sign up online to create a shopping list for gifts they’d like to receive. Leverage a strategy, based on your loyal customer’s needs, to help shoppers refer traffic to you for products they love and want, but aren’t necessarily going to purchase themselves.

A bride and groom’s close family are often willing to go above and beyond their usual spending when the wedding day approaches. The same is likely for baby showers and other special occasions. If you want that spending to be on your products, offering online registry helps facilitate the sale.  


As you scale your business for today’s omnichannel customers, take a look at what the experts are doing. The above tactics can help you skyrocket sales both on and offline. To learn more about what you can do to succeed in today’s retail environment while remaining agile for whatever changes the future may bring, download Stitch Labs’ latest guide, Preparing for the Future of Retail


Ashley Kimler

Content Marketer at Heroic Search
Ashley Kimler is a full-time communications specialist and content marketing dynamo at Heroic Search in Tulsa. She’s been marketing for all sized businesses for over 10 years. Follow @ashleykimler on Twitter to see what she and her team get into next.

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