The Commerce Gap:

Connecting Online & Offline With Enterprise Loyalty

Whether you’re an incumbent retailer or a digitally native brand, loyalty is the key to connecting your online and in-store channels.
INTRO
Customers are redefining where and how they shop.

Commerce is ushering in a new era, one in which customers can shop anywhere and everywhere. Gone are the days of the single-channel shoppers; smart enterprise businesses understand that online-offline connectivity is key to future-proofing their business.

Despite knowing this business shift is inevitable — and fast-approaching — retailers struggle to get up to speed. With both incumbent retailers and digital-first brands in mind, we created this guide to help enterprise brands overcome the Commerce Gap and meet the expectations of the hybrid shopper.

Table of Contents
01
The rise of the online-offline shopper
02
It’s time to ditch the data silos
03
Bridging the gap with loyalty
04
Choosing an agile loyalty partner
05
Online & in-store loyalty in action
06
Next steps
01
The rise of the online-offline shopper
02
It’s time to ditch the data silos
03
Bridging the gap with loyalty
04
Choosing an agile loyalty partner
05
Online & in-store loyalty in action
06
Next steps
The rise of the online-offline shopper
Chapter 01
The rise of the online-offline shopper

As we grapple with a new normal after unprecedented global changes in 2020 and 2021, one thing is clear: customers’ shopping habits have changed forever. The adoption of digital was unprecedented, and shopping has changed from an intentional decision to an almost serendipitous one as customers flock to online retailers.

According to Accenture, over 50% of consumers plan to use a mix of in-store and online shopping channels this coming year. Further, more than 65% of consumers are trying different shopping behaviors and intend to incorporate those behaviors going forward. Customers no longer stick to one channel; they readily go back and forth between online and in-store. Shoppers scroll through brands’ retail sites while waiting in line at their brick-and-mortar locations.

Consumers now expect faster, easier paths to purchase and a seamless transition between shopping online and in-store. A staggering 90% of shoppers expect their experiences with brands to be consistent across channels. Businesses that have survived and thrived under commerce’s shift toward digital retail were those able to launch a seamless, online-offline approach.

Connected experiences deliver hyper-relevance across channels. By creating a single view of customers and leveraging interconnected data collected from multiple touchpoints, enterprise businesses can deliver the robust personalization and value shoppers demand — effectively overcoming the commerce gap.

The Commerce Gap

Incumbent retailers and digitally native brands both deal with the commerce gap or the disconnect between their online and offline fronts. And both have unique challenges to overcome.

  • Incumbent retailers began with a legacy approach to commerce: predominantly brick-and-mortar locations. Though this strategy has created a foothold in the offline space, they need to replicate this experience online as shoppers split their time between the two channels.
  • Digitally native brands began and now mostly operate online, and these businesses’ top-tier online experiences need to translate in-store.

To meet shopper expectations and become brands of the next decade, both incumbent and digital-first retailers need to bridge the gap between channels.

It’s time to ditch the data silos
Chapter 02
It’s time to ditch the data silos

Now more than ever, shoppers are looking for personalization and hyper-relevancy with every interaction. Personalized experiences keep shoppers coming back, and they define brands’ approaches to retention.

According to McKinsey, brands can see a 5 to 15% revenue increase when shoppers’ experiences are personalized across channels. But, to achieve this level of personalization at scale, brands must create a single source of truth when it comes to customer profiles.

By connecting online and offline fronts, brands can holistically understand shoppers’ paths to purchase — how consumers behave in-store versus online, product preferences, engagement behaviors — and tailor their experiences accordingly.

Online channels allow brands to tap into customer data before, during, and after a purchase cycle. Without centralizing and sharing this customer information, the offline customer experience falls flat. Disconnected data leads to disparate experiences, and in turn, offline shoppers will receive hyper-generalized experiences rather than a bespoke path to purchase.

For incumbent and digital-first retailers to begin personalizing the in-store experience, they need to establish customer-facing touchpoints — QR codes, sales associates, mobile-activated experiences — equipped with online data and capable of collecting information about shoppers’ offline behaviors.

Optimizing data sharing and activation is also increasingly pressing as privacy laws ramp up. Targeted ads continue to lose efficiency, and customer acquisition costs continue to rise, meaning brands need to ensure that they can collect data in new ways and use it effectively.

Online-offline connectivity versus omnichannel marketing

Online-offline connectivity is crucial for creating a successful omnichannel strategy, but these strategies are different in scope. Omnichannel marketing includes collecting and centralizing customer data across all channels — SMS, email, loyalty, customer help desk. Online-offline connectivity exclusively involves sharing data across the two channels and creating unified shopper experiences.

As businesses move toward a fully omnichannel presence, connecting their online and offline channels will inevitably be a vital first step — and a lucrative one at that. According to a recent ROI Genome report from Analytic Partners, brands that use an omnichannel marketing strategy see a 32% increase in ROI compared to those that do not.

Bridging the gap with loyalty
Chapter 03
Bridging the gap with loyalty

Loyalty programs are the most effective solution to create consistency and connectivity across customers’ online and offline shopping experiences, making them a clear choice for both incumbent retailers and digitally native brands. Unlike other marketing solutions, loyalty connects with hybrid shoppers while also delivering the personalized experiences they crave.

Incumbent retailers face the distinct challenge of connecting their online-offline experiences while still largely using legacy point-of-sale (POS) solutions. In fact, over 75% of retailers believe their legacy POS prevents them from providing a consistent customer experience across channels. Moreover, given the antiquated nature of legacy POS systems, incumbent retailers struggle to keep up with digital transformation and today’s digitally connected customer. But, loyalty programs present a workaround through interconnected mobile access points and sales associates.

Digital-first brands face the opposite issue, as they’re often using more innovative POS solutions that easily support online touchpoints. Rather than transitioning their offline channels to support online journeys, digitally native brands need to replicate the top-notch experiences they’ve curated online in their brick-and-mortar stores. Loyalty programs make this a reality.

When loyalty members log in, they’re immediately recognized by a brand and their on-site experience changes accordingly. When shoppers are in-store, their loyalty program membership continues to color their experience. Through key customer-facing touchpoints, shoppers receive the same VIP-level experience regardless of their preferred shopping channel.

When a loyalty member enters a physical retail store and is looking through online inventory, their loyalty points and VIP status will be the one marketing touchpoint they will actively access and engage with.

And, loyalty empowers businesses to ditch the data silos.

Loyalty programs encourage shoppers to share their personal information in exchange for rewards, discounts, and/or more personalized experiences, which is especially important as we near the death of third-party cookies. By incentivizing shopper engagement both online and offline, loyalty provides brands deep customer insights into product interests, engagement history, and purchase behavior that can then be used to fuel more targeted marketing efforts.

Choosing an agile loyalty partner
Chapter 04
Choosing an agile loyalty partner

Yotpo Loyalty is the agile loyalty partner equipped to help brands connect their offline and online channels. Our robust data engine empowers brands to better understand their customers, engage with empathy, and optimize their customer experiences — whether their customers are online, in-store, or both.

Customer data is crucial to enterprise marketing efforts, but capturing it under one unified profile to leverage it at scale is equally crucial. After collecting customer information from multiple sources — loyalty program engagement, SMS sign-ups, reviews, purchase behavior — businesses need a loyalty partner capable of creating data-rich member profiles and producing actionable analytics to enrich hybrid loyalty experiences.

Delivering truly connected experiences depends on a brand’s ability to identify a specific customer across their entire ecosystem. In short, businesses need to choose a loyalty partner capable of:

  • Collecting customer data from multiple sources and unifying it under one profile
  • Turning data-rich customer profiles into an actionable resource
  • Leveraging actionable marketing strategies that drive revenue on both online and offline fronts

Retail businesses recognize that agile loyalty partners offer clear advantages over their legacy counterparts. Agility-centric solutions allow enterprise brands to scale and adapt as business needs change over time. And if this past year has proved anything, it’s that flexibility goes hand in hand with long-term success.

As commerce grows increasingly digitized — from marketing to selling to fulfillment — legacy loyalty solutions are not equipped to adapt to an ever-changing landscape. Innovation and agility are critical to a business’ success in this new age. Legacy solutions lack innovation themselves, making it difficult to build agility into marketing efforts.

Online & in-store loyalty in action
Chapter 05
Online & in-store loyalty in action

Yotpo Loyalty empowers incumbent retailers and digital-first brands to provide exceptional hybrid experiences through sophisticated point-of-sale (POS) integrations, associate-led in-store experiences, and customer-led in-store experiences.

By connecting Yotpo Loyalty to your POS system, brands can enroll, identify, and reward in-store customers — all while collecting data on offline purchase behavior to strengthen shopper profiles.

With Yopto’s robust API and customer-led experiences, incumbent retailers no longer have to worry about the limitations their legacy POS systems present. And, for digital-first retailers, Yotpo Loyalty offers out-of-the-box integrations for several POS providers. Overall, Yotpo creates the key customer-facing touchpoints in physical retail locations that many businesses need to establish.

Online experience

Upon logging into, customers receive a bespoke online experience tailored to their preferences, VIP status, and more; they’re immediately transformed from unknown shopper to known loyalty member. Yotpo Loyalty empowers brands to create reward experiences that drive engagement and inspire customer connection.

Associate-led redemption

Associate-led redemption doesn’t require any changes to the UI of the POS for store associate look-up. Instead, Yotpo Loyalty directly integrates with brands’ POS systems, managing customer details to confirm discounts, order data, customer data, and refund data. Additionally, sales associates can enroll shoppers into the program during checkout, access current members’ points balance, and encourage shoppers to take advantage of their loyalty offers.

Customer-led redemption

Customer-led redemption empowers shoppers to take control of their in-store loyalty experience. Scannable QR codes throughout the brick-and-mortar store prompt customers with an email link to sign in or register for a loyalty program. From there, customers can use their mobile devices to monitor their loyalty status and redeem rewards. After choosing an available discount or perk, shoppers receive a corresponding barcode scanned by a store associate for a frictionless checkout.

Customer-led redemption circumvents buyer hesitation and allows brands to go to market quickly. Shoppers have redeemable rewards at their fingertips, sidestepping any embarrassment they may feel when asking sales associates about discounts. Additionally, customers are incentivized to buy with more awareness of ongoing promotions and their loyalty status.

Steve Madden & Yotpo Loyalty

Like many legacy brands, Steve Madden wanted to rethink their eCommerce presence and drive more D2C business. After switching from a legacy loyalty solution to Yotpo, the brand could replicate the in-store VIP experiences online — ultimately growing their D2C business by 60% year over year.

“To establish a true direct-to-consumer relationship, it is imperative to get eCommerce and omnichannel right. It was a no-brainer to switch to an innovative provider like Yotpo, whose agile, single-platform approach improves our ability to provide a unified customer experience, not just for Steve Madden but across all our brands,” says Jeff Silverman, Steve Madden’s President of Retail & eCommerce.

Next steps
Chapter 06
Next steps

As an enterprise brand, bridging the gap between online and offline fronts is more than feasible with the right loyalty program and solution. Wherever your customers choose to shop, your loyalty program will ensure that their experience is seamless and interconnected.

Ready to take the next step? Watch this sneak peek of Yotpo’s agile loyalty platform, and see how it empowers you to launch a program quickly and optimize endlessly — no dev work needed.

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