Blending In-Store and Online Commerce Experiences Is Easier Than You Think

By Jager Robinson | May 21, 2024

The line between physical and digital experiences is becoming increasingly blurred. Retailers are recognizing and embracing both in-store and online channels for crucial commerce success. As dropshipping became a more viable option, the consensus was online experiences would either rival or replace traditional in-store shopping. However, the opposite is true. In 2021, it was reported that 83% of consumers shopped both in-store and online frequently. Now, blended models are the norm as retailers and brands blend online and in-store experiences through various programs like Buy Online, Pick Up In Store (BOPIS), returns hub (Kohls for Amazon), and more. 

We sat down with Jason Krug, a Solutions Engineer from our team, to discuss how retailers are utilizing tech partners to achieve a more unified commerce experience for consumers. 

What are you seeing in the market that has led to a blended eCommerce experience? What do consumers want over the normal sales channels? 

Really, this boils down to the idea that the days of eCommerce meaning simply setting up an online store and calling it a day are over. Today, eCommerce encompasses a wide array of strategies and technologies, ranging from traditional online storefronts to dropshipping and marketplaces. This new approach, one that introduces your eCommerce store in your established brick-and-mortar storefront, was pioneered by the Costco’s and Walmart’s of the world. They introduced kiosks that let you shop online while in their warehouses for any products you missed. This just gave them a bigger cut of their already established consumer shopping carts. 

The opposite has been introduced, however. Now, we see retailers like Samsung introducing the ability to pick up items in-store after shopping online, which is sort of saving the brick-and-mortar industry. This inverse relationship is vital for these traditional suppliers to not only support their retail partners but also give consumers what they want when shopping online. 

Costco really pioneered this approach. A few years ago, they offered customers the ability to browse through their extensive online catalog while still enjoying the physical shopping experience. And, because of Costco’s return policy, they gave customers the option to return goods bought online directly to their warehouses. By integrating these dropshipping capabilities into their in-store setups, they are providing customers with access to a much wider selection of products without the need for additional physical inventory while also giving them the customer service they want. 

Really this concept should be called Unified commerce because the ultimate goal is to never lose a sale by blending every fulfillment option into one unified approach. If a customer comes to your site or your brick-and-mortar store and you don’t have it on hand, your commerce program should be able to easily source that product for shipping, in-store pickup, and more. 

With global online conversion rates sitting at just 3%, it’s important for these retailers to blend their eCommerce and in-store experiences not only for more sales but also to retain their customers who can shop anywhere, at any time they want. 

What are the concrete benefits of adopting a Unified Commerce experience? 

I want to hit on the concrete benefits real quick. For retailers, it means lower inventory costs, reduced risk of stockouts, and increased flexibility in product offerings. Beyond the intrinsic value, these blended experiences also improve customer retention and dramatically reduce the amount of lost sales for your in-store locations. By leveraging dropshipping, retailers can tap into a vast network of suppliers, ensuring they always have access to the products their customers want.

If a customer comes in wanting new shoes, a unified experience ensures that whatever shoe they want can be procured in-store or online during their transaction. Heck, we are even seeing retailers use their in-store experiences to provide direct shipping rather than pick-up so they don’t have to haul their goods around. 

On the customer side, the benefits are equally compelling. Shoppers enjoy the convenience of being able to browse a comprehensive product range, both in-store and online, without any limitations. Whether they prefer the tactile experience of in-store shopping or the convenience of online purchasing, customers have the flexibility to choose the shopping method that best suits their needs. And for those already committing to one avenue for purchase, they can be assured that there will be no slowdown for receiving their products on-time. 

If you’re looking to better retain customers, acquire new customers through interesting new channels, or simply want to provide additional customer-retention features, blending these two models is as easy as it gets. 

How important is it to find the right partner to make this move? I imagine it’s pretty hard to just say “build a more comprehensive solution” in a vacuum. 

I think tech partners are probably the most underrated part of eCommerce in general, and I’m not just saying that because we are Logicbroker. The right tech partner can give you so much freedom whether that’s freedom from tedious manual onboarding to the freedom to build these new programs. If you think about the weeks it takes some platforms to onboard new vendors and assume they can just handle a new commerce program, you’re probably asking for trouble. 

Partners like Logicbroker offer fully customized commerce experiences. Instead of hoping a legacy provider can get your target program up and running, Logicbroker’s flexible, native, and industry-leading integrations empower retailers and brands to curate their assortment with specific suppliers that meet their customer brand experience. Whether your program needs to start small with just a handful of vendors, or you need to onboard over 600 vendors in under a few weeks like our friends at BBQGuys, Logicbroker has you covered. 

We do this through On-Demand Onboarding and Product Discovery tools. On-Demand Onboarding can onboard new vendors or suppliers in under an hour. Instead of waiting for thousands of manual connection points, Logicbroker’s suite of native connectors can automate the onboarding process for retailers to give them control over their commerce program. 

Our Product & Partner Discovery Suite, on the other hand, is how new suppliers can showcase their offerings in one comprehensive portal. We call this the Connected Commerce Network® (CCN). This network combines product and partner discovery to showcase every SKU available to a retailer’s program for those looking to rapidly expand their assortment. We do this by highlighting all participating suppliers on our network with various pieces of information like the categories they support, their website, and their brand experience to ensure it is compatible with your customers before reaching out to them. With just a few clicks after discovery retailers and brands can easily connect through Logicbroker.

The best example of this is our customer’s FlipShop who added 3,700 new products from over 50 suppliers from CCN®. 

These are the cornerstones of new programs. If you want to launch a new vendor, and showcase them in-store, what better way to do that than to onboard them into your tech suite in under an hour? Want to connect your consumers to your brick-and-mortar store without worry? Our native connectors integrate with any sales program needed. 

I’d also be remiss not to mention that our whiteglove onboarding team is really unique in the industry. We take all our customer’s questions and ensure each supplier is tested and certified before they have a chance to go live. And the best part is we do that all without expanding your team. We love to say: “You focus on finding the right brands, we will do the rest!” 

To learn more about these blended experiences, or if your program isn’t delivering all the benefits it should, give the Logicbroker team a call. Whether you utilize Logicbroker or not, it’s important to chat with our solutions engineering team to see how a more comprehensive commerce program can help your organization. 

About Logicbroker

Logicbroker is a premier multi-vendor commerce platform that seamlessly connects trading partners regardless of integration types. Our modern solutions empower retailers and brands to take control of their customer experience by harnessing and analyzing vital first-party data, reducing inventory risk, and curating their expanded assortment. By improving the visibility into our client’s commerce programs, Logicbroker can better position retailers and brands for transformative growth.

As business needs and demand shift, Logicbroker provides the ability to quickly switch suppliers and product fulfillment between 3P to 1P and responsibly find new sources of inventory that uphold your brand integrity and meet your delivery promise. ​We work with mid-market and Enterprise manufacturers and retailers across a number of verticals including Health & Wellness, Home Improvement, Consumer Electronics, Toys & Babies, and Consumer Packaged Goods and service brands such as Samsung, Victoria’s Secret, The Vitamin Shoppe, Walgreens, Ace Hardware, and BBQGuys.

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