Omnichannel is understood as a combination of several sales channels (traditional and online) to give the customer offers and overall experience. The development of sales channels is influenced by modern IT and telecommunication technologies, which are currently used by a large portion of consumers. Omnichannel retailing is an opportunity to understand and to use customer shopping habits and shopping potential better. This enables the product to reach customers more precisely, resulting in increased sales. The phenomenon of omnichannel sales appeared in Polish trade a few years ago, although it has recently gained momentum. Poland's e-commerce sector is developing dynamically, and the combination of retail and online is not really a matter of choice. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced retailers to adjust their offer to limited market conditions. Because of this, omnichannel became a necessity. Government restrictions on retailing blurred the boundary between traditional shopping and online retail. Many traditional retail chains were forced to shift sales online, while many online retailers decided to open their outlets in conventional shopping centers.
Purchasing decisions in Poland
From the customer point of view, shopping is supposed to be convenient, fast, and due to mobile technologies, possible to do anywhere, and anytime. Omnichannel offers an integrated sales model. Clients interact with brands through multiple channels - websites, mobile devices, or social media. Attractive prices, convenience, good customer service, and access to a wide range of products are the main factors influencing a modern purchase decision. Consumers now expect reliability, shopping safety, as well as product, and delivery diversity from retailers. Traditional shopping has taken on a broader meaning and is no longer limited to physical shopping, although it is also supposed to help the purchasing process. Omnichannel sales aim to offer the most convenient shopping channel for their customers. Clients must be able to choose and freely move between sales channels.
Omnichannel purchasing process
Omnichannel retail is a challenge for the brand, mainly in terms of logistics, prices, and technology. When shopping, the modern consumer expects above all an appropriate price for the product, and the sales channels serve to verify and control the purchasing process. Therefore, shops must adjust their pricing policy to the customers' expectations so that it is consistent both in the traditional retail stores and online stores. One of the most frequent purchasing processes among consumers is the so-called Research Online, Purchase Offline (ROPO) effect. As the name alludes to, customers initially researches online and then purchases it in a traditional store. The most frequently bought products, according to the ROPO effect, are building materials and home improvement. Consumers who buy according to the reverse-ROPO show different purchase preferences. Before buying a product on the internet, consumers collect information about it through traditional sales channels. The most popular products acquired under this purchasing strategy are home appliances and footwear.
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