Omni-channel retailers continue the search for the perfect shopping experience with a blend of mobile, internet, bricks-and-mortar and phone into the customer experience.
According to Google Search, “Omni-Channel Retailing is the marketing of multi-channel retailing, but is concentrated more on a seamless approach to the consumer experience through all available shopping channels, i.e. mobile internet devices, computers, brick-and-mortar, television, radio, direct mail, catalog and so on.”
Technology improvements like smart phones and tablets have fostered this integration trend. Buying behavior has pushed this trend as well. Retailers know that a customer shopping through multiple channels purchase almost four times more over time than a customer shopping a single channel.
Brick-and-Mortar Remains Dominant
In an article posted on About Money, Shari Waters states that Brick-and-mortar “refers to retail shops that are located in a building as opposed to an online shopping destination, door-to-door sales, kiosk or other similar site not housed within a structure.”
Traditional brick-and-mortar stores are still the backbone of retail in the United States. While eCommerce is experiencing year after year of double-digit growth, the majority of purchases are still made in physical stores. Immediate gratification is a main driver of this type of buying behavior. Being able to test a product or try on a piece of clothes is another reason purchasing in physical stores still out paces internet retailers.
The mixing of brick-and-mortar and the internet has given rise to the in store pick-up option. Customers can view and buy online, then pick-up at the store. Store pick-up offers customers the advantages of shopping online, e.g. research or price shop, but forgoes delivery wait times.
Internet Retailers Seek to Reduce Shipping Times
Many companies that were exclusively eCommerce are opening brick-and-motor stores in some major cities for customers who prefer the tactile experience of seeing and touching products before they buy. Amazon, keenly aware of the financial windfall of impulse buys, seeks to reduce shipping times down to hours instead of days.
Online shoppers are increasingly using their mobile devices to buy. Whether it is a phone or a tablet, the convenience to read reviews and see detailed product information has consumers consulting the internet often while in stores. Geo-location technology is fairly new, but already shows great selling opportunities for retailers.
According to 4 Omni-Channel Retail Trends to Watch in 2014, by Rick Chavie, there are four emerging trends to watch out for. These trends include:
- Leverage Sales Associates in the Digital Age: “Retailers will leverage mobile technology in store and equip associates and mobile devices bringing product information, customer history and purchasing capabilities to heir fingertips.” 
- Transition to the Cloud: Many marketers in the retail industry are exploring ways to drive web traffic into traffic within the actual stores. 
- A Turning Point in POS: “30 percent of retailers plan to change or revamp their POS system in 2014. Consumers will also increasingly demand in-store checkout via tablets.”  It’s undeniable, mobile should be a top priority for retailers.
- Actualization of Omni-Channel: Retailers must realize the need for omni-channel. Then they need to keep their brand consistent in the steps they take to get there.
1. Brick and Mortar (About) http://retail.about.com/od/glossary/g/brickandmortar.htm