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Recently Kathy Gramling, Jeff Orschell, and Joshua Chernoff of the Harvard Business Review released the article, “How E-Commerce Fits into Retail’s post-pandemic Future”, which explored the growth and trends that began with COVID-19 and how customers are choosing to shop and interact with brands in 2021.

According to Ernst & Young’s “Future Consumer Index”, in Early 2021 60% of shoppers were still visiting brick-and-mortar stores less than pre-pandemic, with 43% of shoppers now buying products online that they would have typically bought in-store. Retailers responded to these trends by investing nearly 10 billion dollars in e-commerce from May to July 2020, focusing on providing customers with the e-commerce experiences that they have come to expect from web-native retailers. COVID-19 has accelerated many innovations and has provided retailers the opportunity to better understand and reevaluate how to do business and provide value to their shoppers in this new normal.

The article goes on to explore the importance of offering strong, value-driven customer experiences, whether the customer is shopping online or in-store. The authors stress the importance of creating an “interwoven journey that is relevant to your target consumer — and structure your channel ecosystem, e-commerce included, in a way that provides value along that journey”, noting that 38% of customers intend to continue shopping more often online, but still visit stores that provide great experiences.

In the article, the authors provide a few questions to help retailers define how they should think about e-commerce and omnichannel innovations, including:

  • Do I have an agile, adaptive technology platform that understands that every consumer journey is different?
  • Is my organizational structure free of silos — which isolate e-commerce, merchandising, store operations, supply chain, and marketing — that interrupt the experience?

  • Have I considered my assortment congruity — what’s online and what’s in store and the logic behind channel exclusivity?

  • How can I be price-competitive and still maintain margin? For example, how can I introduce impulse purchases in an online environment?

  • What role does store layout and merchandising play in this?

  • How do I orchestrate the consumer journey from digital to physical and back again?

  • How do I maintain the experience all the way to consumers’ doorsteps?

Read more about this analysis from Harvard Business Review by checking out the article here.

Versatile Credit is equipped to assist retailers in building a financing program with over 25+ prime, near-prime, and no-credit-needed providers that offer financing options for customers across the FICO spectrum while providing a quick, seamless application experience. Versatile has the technology and expertise to integrate our financing platform into the tools, processes, and experiences that your shoppers expect while leveraging the systems and technology that your associates are already familiar with. Versatile’s tools help you provide shoppers with the same comprehensive financing options anywhere a buying decision is made — online, in-store, and beyond.

Reach out to us today to learn more about how Versatile Credit can help build an omnichannel financing program for your business!