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3 Ways Home & Garden Retailers Can Unify & Simplify The Shopping Experience

3 Ways Home & Garden Retailers Can Unify & Simplify The Shopping Experience

From sofas to succulents, home and garden products are personal purchases. That’s why the customer journey can be long and fragmented as shoppers take their time to browse and consider their options. And the journey to buying is often an omnichannel one, with shoppers bouncing from open tabs on their phone to in-store perusal, and finally buying from the showroom floor or online from the comfort of their home.

This mixture of online and in-store stops on the path to purchase is becoming the norm in retail more broadly. About 42% of ecommerce orders last year involved stores, an increase from 27% in 2015, according to research from GlobalData. And just as customers grow accustomed to the ease and flexibility of omnichannel shopping for other types of retail products, they expect the same from their home and garden stores.

Image of a woman browsing on the internet with a laptop on her couch. Next to the image is a fact that reads, '42% of ecommerce orders last year involved stores, an increase from 27% in 2015, according to research from GlobalData.'

But delivering a smooth and personalized experience across storefronts, websites, and warehouses in this vertical is easier said than done. Bulky and delicate inventory complicates order fulfillment and browsing and checkout in stores. Plus, disconnected online and offline customer profiles keep retailers from reaching out at the right moment and building lasting relationships.

That’s where an intuitive POS system can help retailers connect disparate touchpoints and bring a personal touch to the in-store experience. Here are three ways home and garden retailers can use Shopify POS for a smooth customer experience across channels with a unified set of tools.

1. Offer flexible pickup and delivery options 

Order fulfillment for a catalog that includes human-sized plants or king-sized mattresses can be tricky. Customers will have all kinds of preferences for how they receive their unusually shaped or easy-to-break home goods. One shopper might order a fragile item online and pick it up in-store to avoid damage in delivery, while another might buy a larger item in store and have it shipped home because they can’t transport it on their own. 

Accommodating these omnichannel preferences can improve the customer’s experience, and ultimately win a sale. If a shopper can’t get a product how they want, they’ll go to a competitor where they can.

Here are two fulfillment options that home and garden retailers can shore up with Shopify POS

Buy online, pick up in store

Buy online, pick up in store, or BOPIS, has become a popular fulfillment method in retail. With Shopify POS, retailers can offer local pickup with ecommerce checkout.

This method is helpful for delicate items that customers prefer to handle themselves, or if they’d just rather not wait for home delivery.

With every storefront and warehouse connected with Shopify POS, you can make a product available for pickup wherever a customer wants it.

Buy in-store, ship to customer

To simplify the logistics of coordinating across warehouses and shipping providers, retailers can also use Shopify POS to allow customers who visit a store to buy an item and have it shipped home. 

With the Ship from Store feature on Shopify POS, customers can check out in store and have their items delivered wherever they want it, whether that’s their own home or a friend’s or family member’s home. Staff can manage fulfillment tasks directly with Shopify POS and print packing slips and shipping labels on their own.

Ship from Store is useful for large or bulky items that customers might have a hard time carrying home on their own, or even items of any size or shape—and customers just like the convenience.

2. Integrate the in-store experience at every customer touchpoint 

Showrooming is a central piece of the in-store experience for home and garden businesses. Customers like coming into a storefront to see what a mirror looks like, or a blanket feels like, or how much space a fiddle leaf fig plant takes up.

But the path to purchase doesn’t always start—or end—in the showroom. A customer might browse several brands’ websites at home, visit a couple different stores, and return to a website to decide which color or style they want, all before committing to a purchase.

Home and garden retailers can make in-store customers’ lives easier with tech that helps during and after the initial store visit. Here are two ways to bolster in-store operations with digital efficiency through Shopify POS:

Endless aisle

It doesn’t always make sense to keep every color or style of a piece of furniture or dishware in a showroom. Or sometimes an item is out of stock or available at another location. With endless aisle, a feature available with Shopify POS, customers can see an item on the showroom floor, but browse all the colors and styles available online on connected hardware, like a mobile POS tablet. Then they can place the order and have it shipped to home.

Draft orders

For a big-ticket piece of furniture, customers might need to consult a partner or take measurements first before committing to the purchase. With Shopify POS, staff can create draft orders, which are a powerful in-person selling tool that helps staff create open orders on behalf of the customer and attach their information to that order. Draft orders move seamlessly across retail locations, devices, and sales channels so if edits are required, staff can easily pull up the order to change product quantities or customer details. Staff can also email draft orders to customers so that they can buy at home when they’re ready. 

3. Sync online and offline profiles to deepen customer loyalty

An in-store visit shouldn’t be the last stop on a customer’s journey. Retailers need data and analytics to connect with shoppers after the purchase and strengthen repeat business.

And tools for relationship building aren’t just important for the average consumer—they’re also important for industry professionals, such as designers. These customers have a more frequent buying cycle than regular consumers, who tend to only buy home goods in large volumes after an event such as a move or renovation. Retailers need a strong understanding of customer profiles to strengthen their relationship with designers through trade programs.

Too often, home and garden retailers’ online customer info sits in one database, and in-store customers’ info sits in another. Here’s how Shopify POS can help retailers unify customer data to make strategic loyalty offerings: 

Email capture during checkout

Don’t let in-store customers disappear into the ether. With email capture at checkout, customers can opt in to future digital communications, and retailers can connect a customer’s online shopping profile during the in-store checkout. This also makes it possible for retailers to make loyalty offerings down the line, and manage trade programs for interior design professionals.

Access customer profiles on in-store hardware 

With a mobile device like POS Go or a POS terminal, retail staff can quickly pull up key customer information at checkout, such as order history and contact information, to make recommendations and facilitate orders on the floor. Staff can refer to order history to better assist designers who might have unique preferences and shopping lists.

Image of a cartoon retail store on the left with a fact on the right that reads, '80% of customers believe Shopify POS better integrates their in-store and online sales channels than other point-of-sale software.'

Bridge the channel divide with Shopify POS

No matter how long and winding the path to purchase, home and garden retailers’ ability to show up for customers at every step is key to standing out and building lasting relationships.

Shopify POS helps home and garden retailers meet customer expectations for flexibility and convenience while managing a particularly fragile and cumbersome inventory in warehouses and storefronts. Plus, they can use the platform to connect across online and in-store touch points and encourage repeat business.

Shopify POS customers agree: 80% of customers believe Shopify POS better integrates their in-store and online sales channels than other point-of-sale software. Seamless channels lead to deeper customer connections—and a clear path to repeat sales from happy customers.

Try the Home and Garden POS that does it all

Shopify POS helps you create a unique in-store experiences that convert more customers and simplify inventory management across 1,000+ locations.

Discover Shopify POS for Home and Garden

This article originally appeared on Shopify Retail Blog and is available here for further discovery.
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