Omnichannel retail has become a necessity for successful ecommerce businesses, as more consumers have moved to online shopping in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
About half of ecommerce decision-makers in Europe and North America thought that having an omnichannel strategy was important in 2021, according to Statista research.
This article is about how to use both online and offline channels to create a cohesive customer experience.
Omnichannel retailing is a business strategy that supports selling across multiple channels, which can include marketplaces, social media platforms, brick-and-mortar stores, and more.
true Omnichannel is not just another way of saying that you sell on multiple channels, it has become a popular buzzword.
Let’s look at the sometimes-subtle differences among omnichannel, multichannel and single-channel commerce:
A consistent brand experience is essential to success in today’s market. An omnichannel approach will allow you to meet your customers where they are and build relationships that transcend channels.
You should focus on optimizing your business model by diversifying your channels and integrating your data and systems comprehensively. This will help you improve your competitiveness and better meet the needs of your customers.
Customers have high expectations for a unified experience across all channels when they shop. A study by UC found that nearly 90% of consumers want an omnichannel experience.
It’s now up to 10. This shift is even more indicative with the average consumer using 10 touch points when purchasing an item, rather than the 2 touch points 15 years ago.
Almost six touchpoints.
An omnichannel approach has many benefits, including the ability to reach more customers and the creation of a more seamless shopping experience, which is something customers want.
Meanwhile, omnichannel experiences are designed from the outset to provide a holistic, consistent message and experience across all channels. Both omnichannel and multichannel commerce refer to selling across multiple channels.
However, multichannel experiences are often disparate, thanks to marketing efforts happening in silos, lacking a defined cross-channel message. Meanwhile, omnichannel experiences are designed from the outset to provide a holistic, consistent message and experience across all channels.
Multichannel philosophies focus on optimizing individual touchpoints rather than the customer journey as a whole.
Although it may be tempting for companies to focus on optimizing individual touchpoints, this can actually magnify variations in service and inconsistencies in other interactions.
Single Channel Retailing
Some retailers only sell through one channel, like their own ecommerce store or the Amazon marketplace.
Different Avenues of Omnichannel
There are many different ways for omnichannel organizations to reach their customers, from digital marketplaces to social media platforms.
Omnichannel can be used to excel in online marketplaces.
Some businesses may have an advantage over others because they can use existing markets and successful companies to their advantage. This can save them time and money.
A good example of a marketplace that has successfully implemented an omnichannel strategy is Amazon. Amazon started as a simple online bookstore and has grown into the largest online marketplace in the world.
By using Amazon as another channel, businesses can gain access to:
- Approximately 2.45 billion monthly visitors, nearly three times as many as the next company.
- Amazon’s fast, reliable fulfillment center, regardless of where you sell.
- More than 200 million Amazon Prime members.
- One of the largest data gathering centers in the world.
There is no need to introduce Walmart as it is one of the largest retailers in the world. Using Walmart as part of your omnichannel strategy can help businesses increase their customer base.
- Massive scale: Walmart.com has 120 million unique monthly visitors.
- Fast delivery & returns: In-store pickup, free next-day and 2-day delivery options, easy return policy.
- Seller tools: Huge investment in advertising, reporting and analytics.
On Walmart.com, sellers receive 13 times more visitors per month than on Amazon, making Walmart a much less saturated marketplace for sellers than other marketplaces. Walmart Marketplace sellers receive approximately 27,000 monthly visitors compared to 2,100 on Amazon.
Ecommerce sales in Latin America are predicted to surpass $100 billion by the end of 2022. With its rapid growth, this region should be a key consideration for your global ecommerce strategy.
Mercado Libre, known as the “Amazon of Latin America,” can help businesses take advantage of the omnichannel opportunity across borders.
- Latin America’s No. 1 ecommerce marketplace.
- Operating in 18 countries and reaching 65 million shoppers.
Wish is a global shopping app that is downloaded a lot and is active in 120 countries. It is free to use and has account management support for BigCommerce merchants.
This is a dedicated account manager who will help you with everything from getting started to increasing your visibility. They will also help you with merchandising and making sure your products are seen by potential customers.
Organizations that want to be present on multiple channels (omnichannel) can use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to reach new markets that they couldn’t before. This can be done by placing digital ads on these platforms and mobile apps.
For example, Facebook has a marketplace system that was originally used mostly by individual users, but now includes larger businesses.
This rebranding is significant for organizations that are based on omnichannel because Meta will also be associated with the channel metaverse.
This data indicates that Meta brands have a combined reach of 3.6 billion people each month, with Facebook accounting for 2.9 billion of those people.
TikTok does not allow businesses to sell products directly on the platform. However, businesses can use an integration like BigCommerce to sync their inventory with TikTok. This way, when a person clicks on a product on TikTok, they will be taken directly to that product’s page on the businesses’ website.
As of September 2021, TikTok had 1 billion active users, which could be good news for businesses that are interested in using the platform.
Organizations have a real opportunity with social commerce, and those that aren’t participating stand to miss out on a significant revenue stream, especially when considering that:
- 73% of shoppers across markets made a purchase in-store after finding or discovering the item on social media.
- 66% of Gen Z Shoppers use social media to research a product before purchasing it.
Millions of people use Google every day, so placing ads and listings on the site is a great way to reach potential customers and promote your brand.
- 75% of global shoppers used a Google product in the past week to help with shopping.
- 59% of shoppers surveyed say they use Google to research a purchase they plan to make in-store or online.
- 76% of consumers enjoy making unexpected discoveries when shopping.
Steps for Creating and Implementing an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy
Omnichannel strategies are about providing a seamless customer experience across all channels. This means that you need to provide a consistent message and experience across all channels, including in-store, online, and mobile.
It’s not just about offering multiple platforms for consumers to make purchases; it’s about giving them a seamless, convenient, and enjoyable experience.
When moving from single or multichannel to omnichannel, the following 10 steps are crucial:
1. Define what an omnichannel customer experience looks like for your brand. 2. Map out the customer journey and identify pain points. 3. Assess your current technology infrastructure and identify gaps. 4. Implement new technologies to support an omnichannel strategy.
5. Train employees on how to use new technologies and processes. 6. Launch pilots in select stores or channels to test the new omnichannel strategy. 7. Analyze customer feedback and make necessary adjustments. 8. Expand the omnichannel strategy to additional stores or channels. 9. Monitor results and KPIs on an ongoing basis. 10. Make necessary adjustments to ensure a successful omnichannel strategy.
1. Get All Teams on Board
A shift to an omnichannel approach is too big for your marketing department to handle alone. Every team member in your organization should be trained on how to use data to make customer experiences more personalized.
The result of what? The result of having a marketing team that can craft on-trend offers and capture your target audience’s attention is a sales team that understands the best way to close deals with each type of buyer.
Customer support teams that know how to make each person feel valued and respected are crucial.
2. Optimize for Mobile
For many shoppers, smartphones are the preferred method of researching and buying. What’s more, younger generations, like Gen Z, rely heavily on social media for shopping inspiration.
As these generations gain more buying power, it is urgent to move to an omnichannel approach. Mobile users expect a seamless user experience, which is essential for making the most of an omnichannel approach.
3. Segment Customers
One way that businesses can deliver on the personalization that consumers crave is through segmentation. This can be done by developing buyer personas.
These personas might look at and segment customers by traits like:
- Hobbies and interests
- Values and beliefs
- Preferred method of interaction with businesses
Use the buyer personas you’ve created to personalize the buyer’s journey for each one.
4. Choose Your Channels
Reach the people who use your products or service using the channels they use most. You can figure out which channels to use by looking at analytics and customer feedback.
It is important to invest in the most profitable channels for your company and those that bring in the most new customers. You should also focus on streamlining and refining the shopping experience for each buyer persona.
5. Map the Customer Journey
A customer journey is the complete experience your customers have with your brand, from start to end. To understand your customers, you need to map out their customer journey. A customer journey is the complete experience your customers have with your brand, from start to finish. This will help you meet your buyers where they are.
Most people don’t shop in a linear fashion, meaning they don’t start and finish their shopping journey in one go. They might do some initial research, but then get distracted and never come back to finish their purchase.
Omnichannel marketing can recapture the attention of those potential customers and persuade them to complete their purchase.
A company should carefully map out their customer’s journey from start to finish in order to identify any areas where the customer may have a negative experience. By doing this, the company can make changes to improve the customer’s journey. The more detailed the customer journey is, the more control the company has over it.
6. Offer Cross-Channel Support
Since the internet began, there has been a proliferation of startups. This has been accelerated by digital transformation and now there are more companies than ever vying for people’s attention.
And if customers can’t reach or get help from the brand they’re currently using, they’re willing to switch to another brand.
Cross-channel support ensures that shoppers can contact your business in multiple ways. This includes calling, emailing, direct messaging, or contacting you through social media. By providing near-immediate answers to customer inquiries, you can create a positive customer experience.
7. Use Automation Where Appropriate
If shifting to an omnichannel strategy seems like a lot of work, it is. But the results are well worth it. To free up time for employees and focus on the move, make as many processes automated as possible.
Consider the following tech to support your efforts:
- Inventory management software
- Social media management tools
- Market segmentation software
- Digital experience platforms
- Email marketing solutions
- POS card readers
- Automated telephone ordering
While it is important to automate some processes, it is also important to personalize interactions with customers to maintain a sense of connection.
8. Harness the Power of Data
The software you use will likely have data analytics built in. In combination with surveys, this information can help you refine your customer experience at every stage and inform future marketing campaigns.
9. Personalize, Target and Retarget
Most people do not shop in a straight line. They may look at their options on a smartphone one day, think about it for a week, and then buy it in the store.
It is important to stay in touch with customers on all devices and platforms in order to keep your business fresh in their minds and increase the chance of making a sale.
10. Make Continual Improvements
You can’t deny that omnichannel is effective, but you should always use data to improve processes and personalization.
Make sure to test different aspects of your content to see what works best. This includes experimenting with different formats, headings, and subject lines.
Today’s landscape is rapidly changing, and to remain competitive you need to be up to date with customer demands.
Benefits of Omnichannel for Retail
If you want to make more money, you need to make the customer buying journey easier. Meeting consumers where they are is the best way to do this.
Customers are annoyed by having to enter their information into multiple forms and trying to find your brand among others. If you make the shopping process easier, they are more likely to buy something and be satisfied.
Between 2019 and 2021, Nasdaq reports that nearly 170,000 new professional and technical service firms were created.
This is a good sign for the economy, but businesses will have to work harder to get customers.
Offering an omnichannel experience is an excellent way to make your company stand out. Not only will it improve the customer experience for potential customers, it will also improve the experience for returning customers.
Improved Customer Service
Modern customer service is defined by omnichannel support. This means that people who need help with a product can reach a customer representative and resolve their issue quickly.
According to research from Hubspot, excellent customer service will make customers more likely to purchase from the brand again and more likely to recommend it to others.
If your company’s channels are interconnected, it will be easier for consumers to get help using their preferred method.
In a study of 46,000 consumers, Harvard Business Review found that on every shopping occasion, omnichannel shoppers Spend 4% more in-store and 10% more online than single-channel customers.
Omnichannel shoppers tend to spend more money overall when they have access to more channels.
Optimized Business Processes
With interconnected sales and marketing channels, you can get a more precise understanding of which processes are effective and which are not.
Your website, store, social media, and IoT information are all combined to give you a clear picture of the decisions customers make throughout the buyer journey.
Omnichannel Marketing has Changed
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant increase in online marketing and retailing.
Retail organizations were forced to decide whether to adapt to the new normal of consumers being largely homebound, or to give up entirely.
Many businesses started selling their products online instead of in physical stores after realizing that this was the future of shopping. The percentage of retailers in the United States who offer online ordering grew a lot in recent years.