Today, no matter how big or small your omnichannel retail business is, your customers will interact through different channels. Whether it’s going in-store to browse products, ordering an item with click-and-collect, or making a purchase via a mobile app, shoppers have no shortage of options.
Retailers know the importance of this consumer behaviour. Across the Nordics and Benelux regions, omnichannel shoppers make on average 2.9X more purchases, and spend 2.2X more compared to single channel shoppers.1
We partnered with consultancy firm, Pattern (previously Practicology), to find out if retailers in Northern Europe are investing enough in creating seamless and consistent experiences across all channels, whether it’s their website, their app, or their physical store.
In Project BOX 3.0, we evaluated 71 brands across six countries – Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden – and benchmarked them against five customer experience (CX) principles to understand which retailers are providing the best omnichannel experiences.
The five CX principles include:
- flexibility (speedy delivery and fulfilment);
- an informative experience (guidance and direction a customer needs to find the products and information they want);
- convenience (easily solving hurdles an omnichannel shopper might experience);
- and a unified experience (where the user experience is connected across all customer touchpoints, online and offline).
You can find out more about these principles, and take a closer look at the omnichannel landscape in Northern Europe, in our deck (available to download at the bottom of this article). But first, let’s hear from the winners of each category themselves to discover the secrets behind their success.
“When it comes to offering a truly personal experience to your customers, it’s important to understand their individual needs. Asking them the right questions and building customer profiles allow you to offer them the most appropriate products, solutions or services. Take our bike repair service; by asking what part of the bike they need to fix when they book their appointment, we can ensure that our team is ready to help the customer when they arrive at our store.”
Decathlon’s omnichannel customers make the most visits and have the biggest customer lifetime value, ultimately driving a 37% higher average order value than our offline customers. Our in-house data system offers a 360 centralised view on our customer's omnichannel behaviour, which means we can better tailor our services and offering towards them.
It helps that we have a united vision and centralised solutions for most markets we operate in; for example, we have a common backend solution for almost all countries. Having these shared resources are crucial for us, as it means that we can exchange best practices between countries and learn from each other. That said, we also ensure there is autonomy to make decisions on a local level to cater for local nuances.
Our biggest milestone was being able to share our physical store's inventory online, in real time. Providing real-time information to our customers means that they can browse online and plan ahead for a trip in-store. The biggest challenge, on the other hand, was unifying our tools to build a customer journey with the same level of services and information across all our different channels. For the customers, but also for the team members.”
“At Matas we offer a seamless experience across the app, the website, and the store. It’s just one Matas, it doesn’t matter where or how you order.
We put a lot of effort into speed and delivery. All orders are next-day delivery, and in the Greater Copenhagen area, about a third of all our home deliveries are delivered on the same day. If you pop into the store in the afternoon to buy something and find it isn’t in stock, the store associate can order it for you and it will be delivered to your house in the evening. It’s very fast.
We also make it easy to see availability. We integrated live inventory information at our web store to show if it is in stock in your local shop – this has resulted in almost 50% of our online orders being picked up in our stores.
We found that through our loyalty programme, Club Matas, people were most satisfied with us as a brand when we activated across multiple channels. Our omnichannel Net Promoter Score (NPS) is higher than for a single channel customer, because we can serve their needs better.”
“From our own data and research, we know that A.S.Adventure’s omnichannel customer is worth at least 2.3X that of a single channel customer. Hence our strategy has evolved around making the omnichannel experience as informative and helpful as possible.
Over 80% of our customers do their research online before buying in-store. In this exploration stage of the buying journey, product expertise is crucial and we want to ensure that we’re there for our customers, paying attention to the See, Think, Do, Care model.
Our personnel provide detailed advice from first-hand experience. When you’re buying a tent, for example, we will help you determine what the right tent for you is by asking relevant questions; what kind of trip are you going on? Hiking? A family vacation? Knowing what the customer needs, and providing the information that helps them make a considered choice, is what we pride ourselves on.
And the customer journey doesn’t end with the purchase. We follow up by email to continue the conversation. If they bought walking shoes, we’ll say: ‘Congratulations on your new hiking shoes – here are some recommended trails. Check out our products to help keep your shoes in optimal conditions.’
Lastly, it’s crucial that we share the correct information at every touchpoint. Our Google Business Profile is visited more than our own website – so having accurate information such as the correct opening hours is crucial.”
“At NetOnNet, we play to our strengths – our customers want convenience and that’s something we can proudly offer them.
Our physical stores are not just stores, but also our external warehouses spread over the country. We have a large volume of them, all placed strategically, so we can support our customers with a great last mile offer. This means our website and app are where our customers go to window shop.
Customers can find out all they need to know about a product from our digital offerings: whether that’s pricing, availability, or delivery options. And we know that most of our customers have started online because almost 90% of those coming into the store make a purchase. And when customers come in, we’re highly likely to have the item in stock, owing to the large size of the building. .
We have a short customer journey; if our customers are looking to purchase a product, they can do so in just a few clicks. We’re also able to offer quick delivery – because of the size and locations of our warehouses, we can often deliver within an hour.
One of the things that makes this possible is the fact that our business operations are not siloed. All our functions sit together and that means that we can work together to identify practical solutions, and come up with helpful ideas that will really help benefit our customers. I believe that’s really important for the success of a great omnichannel experience.”
“A unified experience means that you are able to have a seamless, consistent conversation with your customer; when they leave one channel, you can pick-up where you left off in another. Whether you’re in the app or the store, the experience is the same. At IKEA, we are experts in this; creating a better everyday life for our customers is one of our core values, after all.
Omnichannel customers are our most valuable customers. Compared to single channel customers, this segment accounts for a significant share of total spend and a much higher shopping frequency. So it’s extremely important that we make the omnichannel experience a premium one.
I see the IKEA app as holding the highest potential of any channel we have, not least because it’s in the back pocket of our customers. We're continually updating and providing better functionality in the app, to better serve and inspire our customers.
In the omnichannel circle, data is the fuel that connects your touch points with the customer. It allows them to see the progress of their order, when they can expect it, and if there have been changes. All those things require that we utilise our data in a smart and ethical way.”
Learn more from the best omnichannel brands
Dive deeper into the research and get more tips from the winners of each category by downloading our report.