What Is Omnichannel Retailing? A definition:
Omnichannel retailing is a strategy applied across all channels, platforms, and devices to provide a seamless consumer experience, increasing leads and consumer engagement. By providing access to products, offers, and support across all platforms, businesses can better reach consumers. This helps businesses better understand their consumers’ journeys, both online and offline, and creates an excellent consumer experience.
What Is the Difference Between Omnichannel and Multichannel?
While multichannel is similar to omnichannel in so far as it also reaches across several platforms, the platforms are not necessarily synced together. Since they occur in separate realms, it is harder to follow a specific consumer’s journey with multichannel solutions. A consumer who reaches the business via Facebook or via the website may not be recognized as the same consumer.
Omnichannel is like multichannel, but syncs data from different channels on a platform. By recognizing the same consumer across several platforms, it is easier for a business to understand their consumers’ journeys. This personalized attention given to the consumer creates a more positive experience, making them more likely to become a brand advocate.
How Does Omnichannel Work?
Omnichannel creates a better consumer experience by bringing together all platforms under one roof, enabling you to visualize consumers’ journeys and customize offers. Consumers can reach businesses based on their preferred platforms, whether it be a website, social media, or going to the brick-and-mortar store.
Meet Amy. Amy has made a New Years’ resolution to work out more. In order to concretize this resolution, she needs to buy new workout clothes. She starts browsing social media and comes across your business’ Instagram account. Amy likes what she sees, and starts to follow you. However, she still hasn’t made a decision to make a purchase, and is late to a meeting with a friend.
Over coffee, she shares her resolution with her friend who encourages her. On her way home, she browses through Instagram and is reminded of your products. When she gets home, she gets out her laptop and searches for your website. She starts browsing through your workout clothes and even adds an item to her cart. But all of a sudden, her cat jumps up on the table, knocks over her glass of water, and it spills all over the keyboard.
As the crisis unfolds, the shopping cart, the workout clothes, and even the New Year’s resolution are forgotten. At this stage, most consumers would have been lost – but not with omnichannel!
You have already engaged with this consumer on two platforms, and with proper data analysis, can track this consumer at every stage of their journey. Now that you know who they are and what they want, you can reach them on the same or across other platforms.
For example, you know that Amy follows you on Instagram and is interested in buying teal-colored yoga pants – so you can make sure she sees that exact outfit in your next Instagram ad. You can also try to drive her to your brick-and-mortar store by highlighting stores you have in her area.
By syncing all channels together, you can create a seamless, personalized experience for your consumer, converting them into a loyal advocate of your business. After a purchase, you can continue to engage with your consumer through interactive digital receipts and more targeted ads and campaigns.
How Can Omnichannel Retailing Help Boost Your Business?
Omnichannel retailing is a great way to improve consumer experience, which in turn benefits your business. Here are 4 ways that omnichannel can boost your business:
Omnichannel not only attracts consumers to your business, but engages them and converts them into loyal consumers. With omnichannel, you can reach and engage with leads across any and every platform available while you track these engagements across channels.
Boost Consumer Satisfaction
With omnichannel, you can increase consumer satisfaction by providing consumers with a more personalized ad experience that uses online and offline data to match relevant items and offers. This provides consumers with a Next Best Offer (NBO) option that makes them feel like they are receiving special attention. Omnichannel boosts consumer retention by 90%.
Make Data-Driven Decisions
Gather data across channels, from social media, mobile apps, your website, in-store purchases tracked through digital receipts, and more. With this data gathered in a platform, you can provide insights and track consumer trends and create more effective campaigns to increase sales.
Boost Return on Investment (ROI)
Armed with an omnichannel retail strategy and the data that it provides you with, you can make effective, data-driven decisions. This will lead to more effective spending of your marketing budget by running ads that work and building more targeted and accurate audiences.
How Can an Omnichannel Platform Help You Analyze Consumer Data?
An omnichannel platform gives you a 360° view of your consumers across all channels. By gathering data from both online and offline channels, you can create a comprehensive overview of consumers’ wants and needs. Bringing all of this data together gives you a never-before-seen understanding of your consumers.
An excellent omnichannel platform will help you maximize your operations by centralizing all of the data gathered. It will then analyze this data and turn it into insights by using artificial intelligence (AI). Once you have your pool of data analyzed, you can build an effective campaign strategy by predicting consumer behavior. Increase consumer loyalty with punch card campaigns, targeted sales, and more!
The Role of Brick-and-Mortar Businesses in Omnichannel Retailing
Much of our lives are spent online. However, only 43% of shoppers research items online before making a purchase, and eCommerce sales are only expected to make up 22% of global retail sales by 2023. This means that brick-and-mortar still plays a very important role in the shopping world.
Many people look up products online because it’s quick and can be done anytime, anywhere with a smartphone. However, most shoppers still prefer to see, feel, and try on the product before making a purchase. On top of this, many online shoppers, shopping for conveniences’ sake, prefer to return items in-store rather than online. After having received an item that isn’t what was expected or doesn’t fit right, they don’t want to make the same mistake twice.
This highlights the importance of an omnichannel platform that helps you gather data from all of these channels: both online and offline. By understanding a consumer’s full journey, from the first search they make on Google to the time they make their first purchase at your store, you can better cater to this consumer’s needs.
A brick-and-mortar presence is still essential in order to provide the perfect consumer experience.
The Role of Cashless Payments in Omnichannel Shopping
Cashless payments are becoming more and more popular with several options such as swiping, EMV contact and contactless, and NFC mobile payments. More and more consumers are turning to these more convenient payment methods. This is also beneficial for businesses, as eliminating cash greatly reduces the risk of robberies.
Accepting all forms of payment increases sales because it gives consumers the option to choose their preferred payment method, and provides more secure payment options.
However, just receiving cashless payments is not enough to boost your omnichannel strategy. You also need an effective point of sale (POS) to process your payments, gather and analyze data, notify, and alert you. It will also provide consumers with interactive receipts, engaging them and boosting their loyalty.
A cashless POS system is an essential tool in your omnichannel strategy, as it provides in-store data in a never-before-seen format. For example, you can gather data on what items sell the most, what items are generally purchased together, what items are most often returned, and more. This helps you create an effective marketing campaign strategy, both in-store and online.
How Omnichannel Increases Consumer Loyalty
Loyal consumers are the foundation of any good business. Loyal consumers are ones who will shop at your business time-and-time again, and who will also act as an advocate for your brand by telling their friends about you.
So how do you acquire loyal consumers? You need to nurture these relationships by providing consumers with an excellent consumer experience. By using a personalized approach, and making consumers feel like they are being heard, you can convert leads into loyal consumers and brand advocates.
Omnichannel naturally creates this experience for your consumers, by bringing data from all channels together in one place. Consumers who interact with you both on social media and in-person will be recognized as the same person, giving them personalized attention, and responding to their needs.
It is much more cost-effective to keep existing consumers than to invest in finding new ones, and consumer loyalty is one of the best indicators of a good ROI.
Getting Started with Omnichannel
So what are you waiting for? Learn how you can incorporate an omnichannel strategy into your business.
You’ll want to start with social media and your website, using similar and recognizable messaging across channels. Make sure that your presence on these platforms is not just to make sales, but also to provide customer service. You also need to take data privacy into consideration, and offer an opt-in option for your consumers so that all of the data can be stored on a single omnichannel platform.
You’ll also need the proper hardware and software: a point of sale (POS) that accepts all payment forms and syncs to a database that includes all of the consumer data you’ve gathered across platforms.