Selling online has been one of the greatest leaps in the world of business. With growing digitization, people could now appeal to those customers sitting all the way across the globe. While they were making sales with their neighbourhood customers, they were also selling to someone in a different part of the world. The traditional retail approach in selling experienced a drastic shift. Therefore, many new business ideas came up that only had a digital model of selling. But, so did many businesses exist that only catered to the needs of their retail customers. Thanks to the newest approach in selling, businesses could sell in either of the two models without compromising on any one. Enter the world of Omnichannel retail!
Omnichannel retail brings the best of both worlds for the seller. While they can continue selling in their traditional retail approach, they also get to step out. Growing digitization has surely put a great deal of pressure on sellers to adopt to the new strategy. Most sellers that you see today, no matter what they are selling, are taking advantage of online selling. Be it Amazon, Flipkart of their own website. They are catering to the needs of the customers online. And this change is because of the rapid boost in the ecommerce sector.
On the other hand, when it comes to selling in the retail mode, brick and mortar stores are an important part of the economy. A majority of customers still prefer to purchase from stores than online. And that’s because of the obvious reasons. People want to have the look and feel of the products in person before making a purchase. Moreover, there are obvious trust issues in purchasing from a new seller online than in person.
Therefore, for sellers today, there is a huge opportunity to capitalize over. They have to be prepared with a solution that not only caters to their neighbourhood customers, but also to those sitting in any part of the world. This is where the omnichannel approach comes into the picture. The fully integrated approach provides an upperhand to sellers. This is especially in the rapidly changing market scenarios.
In simpler terms, you are not everywhere just because you have to be. Instead, you have a presence just where your customers are. And this becomes the basis of ultimate success and failure for an enterprise. So, if you’re interested in knowing about an approach that can 10X your existing profits, keep reading. We’ve got everything you need to know about the omnichannel approach. Get started right away!
What is Omnichannel Retail?
Omnichannel might seem like a new buzz world in the world of online selling. But, a lot of the existing brands have been pursuing it for years now. Nonetheless, it is never too late to step foot in the world. The simple idea is that with little efforts it takes your retail business to the next level.
Omnichanel is a fully integrated approach to ecommerce. It aims to provide the customers a unified experience of shopping. At this point it is natural to wonder about what a unifying experience really means in ecommerce.
One of the simplest assumptions behind omnichannel is that you don’t just sell on your brick and mortar store. But beyond that. This means you have more than one touchpoint for your customer. Let’s say that you sell on the following mediums-
- Retail store
- Mobile app
- Online marketplaces such as Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal etc.
With an omnichannel strategy or approach you will be unifying all of this. In other words, while you have multiple touch points for your customers, there needs to be one point of contact for everything. And this is what you quintessentially accomplish with omnichannel retail. In other words, the ideal omnichannel approach would go to all the places online and offline where your customers browse your retargeting ads.
If you’ve remotely studied mathematics, it would be easier to understand omnichannel as the law of large numbers. It means that the sum total of everything is much greater than its individual parts. So, if you have a separate monitoring system for your app, website, marketplace or social media selling profile, the new approach will amplify them when they are integrated.
Even though statistics back omnichannel big time, very few brands execute it. Research indicates that customers spend much more towards brands that have an omnichannel strategy in place. In spite of this, as many as 22 percent of the retailers make omnichannel as their priority.
Why is Omnichannel Strategy Important?
Now that you know what omnichannel is a unifying approach to all your selling efforts, let’s take a look at why it is important. Statistics suggest that as many as 80 percent of the retail sellers fail to provide their customers with a quality experience. They are not capable of providing a unifying experience to their customers. This in turn makes the overall experience broken. Most brands give the following reasons for their shortcomings-
- Analytics not being sufficient
- No internal structuring of multiple touchpoints
- Lack of quality data
- Poor tracking of customers across different platforms
With an omnichannel strategy, you overcome these effortlessly.
With the growing competition in the market, omnichannel is not just an option. Instead it has become a mandatory experience. Research indicates that more than 75 percent of the shoppers use multiple channels to compare the prices. Alternatively, they also hunt for discounts and lucrative offers. As a simple rule of fact, the more number of platforms your customer interacts with your business, the more they spend. They spend as much as 4 percent on every shopping experience. This is also 10 percent more than customers who just shop on a single channel.
The simplest idea is that not just your sale opportunity goes up with omni channel experience, but also your sale amount. As a result your business profits more and you gain an edge in the market.
More than your profits, it is also important for your customer experience. Here are some facts that will make up your mind. Sellers that used omnichannel in the long run experienced-
- Reduced cost in contacting each customer: A cost reduction of 7.5 percent was observed on every customer contact
- Increase in annual revenue: A direct observation was increase in overall revenue by 9.5 percent
- Rapid increase in customer retention rate: Companies with robust omnichannel strategies were able to increase their retention rate by 89 percent.
- Greater repeat purchases: Customers make more repeat purchases when they have a distinguished level of customer service
What is the Difference Between Omnichannel and Multi-channel?
Omnichannel capitalizes on your presence on multiple channels. However, it is fairly different from a multi channel experience. Let’s take an example to help you differentiate between the following-
- Single Channel
Let’s say that a customer comes across a product you’re selling online. They like it but decide to make a purchase later. While browsing a social media website, they come across a retargeting ad that provides a better discount coupon. So, enticed by the voucher, the customer decides to make a purchase. If you’re actively selling through social commerce they might make the purchase then and there.
Alternatively, the customer may copy that discount code and paste it during the checkout on your website. While checking out, it is possible that the customer decides to not opt for the home delivery of the product. Instead, they opt for a store pickup option. And if you’re already selling through a brick and mortar store, they’ll collect the package from there.
Now, if you’re only selling on the online website, it would account for a single channel experience. And as the customer interacts with your business across multiple channels it accounts for a multichannel experience. So, now what is the difference between omni channel and multi channel?
When you have multiple options available to shop from for your customer, it is a multi channel. For example, as a business you might provide your customers with the option to purchase from your retail store, marketplace, or website. These provide customers the touch points. So, this means that you have presence on multiple platforms over the internet. The customer gets to research and purchase from any of the channels they prefer. The point is that all these channels are working in their best capacity. But, they are all working at an individual level. They are not connected to each other in other words the overall customer experience is neglected.
There is no centralized approach to data management. So, if the customer has a profile on one channel that will not work on any other channel. Similarly, if your customer has the purchase history on one channel that remains exclusive for it.
In omnichannel on the other hand, the experience is quite the contrary. No doubt that omnichannel is the extension of multichannel. But, it unifies the entire experience. Moreover, the focus is totally on the customer, rather than individual channels.
Remember that in multi-channel, each of the touchpoints are competing with each other. However, this is not the case with omnichannel retail. With a unified experience, the focus of your business goes into empowering the customer to make a purchase. All your touch points therefore, have only one goal of optimizing the customer experience.
Who is Omnichannel Retail Strategy for?
Regardless of what you’re selling, if you want to sustain yourself in the long run, you must learn to prioritize your customers. Understand that customers are the backbone of your business. And since the competition is already soaring in the market with each passing day, you need to set yourself apart.
More than that you also need to pay attention to how you treat your customers. Unless you work on customer experience, there is no way that you can excel in the market race.
How to Build an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy?
Now that you are aware about the importance of omnichannel retail, here’s next. For an effective omnichannel plan for your business, you need to form a strategy. This will help you lay down the steps ahead and create a good experience for your customer. Remember that omnichannel can turn your idea into your successful business. All you have to do is get started on the right foot. Take a look below-
Understand the Basics of Omnichannel Process
The first step is to understand the process of omnichannel. You cannot take any further steps or strategize unless you know the methods of the process. It starts with establishing a seamless communication passage with the customer. Then you need to actually process the order by picking up the inventory from the warehouse and finally shipping it to the customer. After this process is complete, the after sales experience plays a huge part. The following defines these processes in further detail.
Everything begins with communication. In fact, it is the first step towards establishing a long lasting relationship with the customer. If you focus on good communication, everything else will fall into place. For example, right from the time you receive an order, send an acknowledgement to the customer. Then move onto sharing order updates and more. If you tell the customer that their order is moving, they will remain in sync. Most customers remain dissatisfied with a business because they lose information about their order. They don’t know when or where it is at a given point of time. If you communicate effectively, customers will love to come back to your business for more orders.
The next part of the process is processing the order. Once you start receiving the orders, you must be able to process it. And for that you need to have a seamless process in place. Remember that orders in omnichannel will be coming from all sorts of sources. This would include social media, website or the retail store itself. But, as you process them from your warehouse you will have to be ready instantly. If you miss a single order, the entire chain of operations will get delayed. And as a result, the customer experience will be impacted. Therefore, you need to be fast and efficient about order processing in omnichannel retail.
Another interesting part of the omnichannel retail process is warehouse management. This is also one of the most cost taking processes. The idea is that when you sell physical products in the market, you need to partner with a manufacturer or a supplier. These partners will send you products in bulk, that you will need to store somewhere. That’s what you need a warehouse for. It is the place your products are stored, packed and dispatched for the order processing. Warehousing is important as you need your products to stay up in high quality. Therefore, you need to invest rightly in your warehouse to keep your products in good condition.
Shipping is yet another area where omnichannel retail really stands out. Because the orders are coming in from all sorts of platforms, shipping can be a big hassle. In other words, you will have to create multiple orders from different platforms even if you miss any one of these, you might end up destroying the entire customer experience. Therefore, make a shipping strategy that goes a long way for your business. This starts with investing in the right logistic platform. Dash101 Logistics is a one stop logistics platform that helps you integrate all your selling channels on a single platform. Using it your entire omnichannel shipping strategy falls into place.
Last Mile Delivery
Last mile logistics is that part of shipping, where the delivery agent takes the product to your customer’s doorstep. The Journey Of the product begins from the destination courier hub. Once the product reaches there, it is assigned to a courier delivery agent. The courier delivery agent then takes it to the customer’s doorstep. Last mile delivery can be a game changer in omnichannel. One mistake and your customer experience can stand ruined. For this reason choose a delivery partner that is reliable and handles your products with efficiency.
The journey of your omnichannel sale doesn’t end at delivering the product. In other words, it goes out even after that. And the after sale experience is where you create an actual difference. Most businesses fail to create this experience, and hence lose the customer. Because unless you create a relationship with the customer, they might not come back for a second purchase. Make sure that you plan your after sale experience pretty well. Be it using feedback, sending thank you notes or providing customers with brownie points for a purchase. Plan effectively.
Understand the Customer
One of the first steps you should take to form an omnichannel strategy after understanding the process is to understand your customer. You might want to sell in a new territory or have a target audience in mind. However, unless you really understand them, you cannot cater to their demands. Therefore, start by planning the experience of your customer. Understand what are the channels they prefer and then create a detailed plan. This will ensure that there is a smooth flow of experience across all customer touchpoints.
Be Available on Multiple Channels
One of the biggest rules of omnichannel is to establish a presence on multiple channels. While it is different from multichannel retail, you need to make sure that the experience is unified everywhere. Be present on multiple channels so that you can attract your customers from all possible ways. But, for that you need to know where most of the customers are. And then be present with your brand at those platforms. This way you can create a touchpoint for the customers on that particular platform. Never miss an opportunity to grab a sale.
Leverage Data to Strategize
In the world of omnichannel retail, you need to understand the importance of data. There is no shortage of data with every platform almost running its own analytics. Be it Facebook, Instagram, your website or anywhere else, you have sufficient data to guide you. All you have to do is leverage it to build an omnichannel strategy. With this in place, you can reduce your customer churns, retain one time buyers and create a solution to handle market ups and downs. Alternatively, it also helps in forecasting your sales and preparing for the market influx in advance.
Say Yes to Personalization
When you’re in the world of eCommerce, you’ve got to say yes to personalization. This is the only way to compel the customer to make a purchase. Imagine how you would convince a customer to purchase something in a retail store. The same goes on for an online experience. In other words, when your customer is online you need to understand their behaviour and then speak to them. Understanding their behaviour can be done by channelizing the data and segmenting it. Segment users into different categories. This will be based on the common behaviours that they share. Then create personalized journeys for all of these segments.
Set the Right Narrative
One important thing to make sure in omnichannel retail is to set the narrative right. Context can create all the difference in a business. This means that if you send a wrong message through your marketing campaigns, you will be left be users with poor experiences. Customers might stop engaging with you, if their narratives don’t align with yours. Therefore, you need to make sure that your business is relevant to your customers. Then you also need to make sure that you send the relevant content to your users at the right time when they are most active on their preferred channel.
Take the Help of the Right Automation Tools
Tools are the foundation of every business. For this reason, you need to make sure that you use the right ones. The right automation tools can help you get started with your omnichannel business on the right foot. You need not always pick the most expensive ones or the ones that are popular in the market. Sometimes one of the new tools can help you reach your business goals. Therefore, first conduct an analysis of your real requirements. And then search for the tools that serve the best purpose. Remember that the right tools can help you frame your strategy and lead it to implementation.
Become Customer Centric
Never forget the customer as you make a decision for your business. Customers are the backbone of any business. As a seller you should have this narrative. The same must go for your entire team. Your employees must serve the customer with a consistent experience. And as a seller, you must be willing to offer them a training in this aspect. Because unless you have a customer centric mindset, none of your tools or marketing strategy will be effective.
What are the Benefits of Omnichannel Retail Strategy?
Omnichannel can help you take off with your business idea. It can turn your old brick and mortar store into a profitable online business. Here is why it is absolutely a good idea to adopt an omnichannel approach.
Being there for Your Customers
In today’s world customers love to shop online. But, when you only have a retail store, you are letting go of a big opportunity. Your customers are all over the online platforms looking for products just like you. All you have to do is be there for them. With an omnichannel approach, you get to take your business where your customers are. It doesn’t mean that you need to bombard your customers with marketing campaigns. Instead, find out which platforms they are at and offer your touch points there. Remind them of your presence there and let them get in touch with you.
Omnichannel enables you to leverage the power of integrated analytics. It means that you need to be present on multiple platforms to reach out to your customers. But, in spite of the platform being independent, they are unified for the customer. This means that the customer gets a one stop shopping experience no matter which touchpoint they choose to make a purchase. This offers an integrated analytics approach. Therefore, you get to understand, study and analyze the analytics from multiple channels. The data presented will be across platforms but presented at a centralized place. This can give you far greater insights than ever before, ultimately reflecting in your decisions.
More Efficient Business
If you are going all in for the omnichannel approach, you need to have a single point of contact for almost everything. This means that most of your operations are integrated. For a business this can mean increased efficiency because they can do everything from one single place. Be it customer service, sales, marketing, resource planning, inventory management, along with more, everything works together. For example, a platform like Dash101 lets you sell your products, ship, manage inventory and do more from a single platform. It is a one stop solution to your omnichannel strategies and efforts. Alternatively, it can also help create streamlined workflows.
Profitable Customer Experiences
With an omnichannel approach, you nurture your business and your customer relationships. Statistics suggest that customers in an omnichannel approach are more valuable on several accounts. They tend to spend more than single channel or multichannel customers by almost 10 percent. This means that omnichannel customers not only spend more, but also spend more on every occasion they shop. Moreover, apart from the revenue, your customers are also much happier and content with their experiences in omnichannel retail. After all, no matter which platform your customers choose, they can find the desirable product almost anywhere.
Imagine you have a retail store that runs perfectly well. Your customers living in the neighbourhood come and shop from you. In another scenario, you have a retail store alongside an online store and a presence on the marketplace. Which of these would give you more visibility to your audience? Exactly! Omnichannel retail approach offers you increased visibility over the Internet. Using it you can access new markets and have a better reputation in the market. Moreover, you can also have more customers purchasing from you, helping you boost your sales. In other words, it gives your customers a brand, they can engage at different levels with.
With omnichannel, your first priority is your customer. While profit making is no doubt still in the equation, the focus shifts on providing value to the customer. You want your customers to be able to find the products they are looking for with ease. Maybe they find a product attractive in the store, but can’t find it in the right size. Therefore, they can purchase it online and get it delivered at their doorstep. The entire experience remains seamless for your customers and you as a business enjoy from the experience they are getting. Most successful businesses today have a customer first approach. Take Amazon for an example.
What are Some Upcoming Omnichannel Retail Trends?
Now that you know about the omnichannel retail aspect of business, keep an eye on the trends. You must stay one step ahead and strategize for the individual demands of your business. This is because customer demands are changing fast and you need to be prepared for that. So, here are a few trends that you must keep your eye on-
Sophisticated B2B Experiences
Just as valuable the B2C consumer expectations are, the same goes with B2B customers. The B2B purchases are expecting organizations to invest heavily in the technology. This technology will not just help amplify the sales but also help provide exceptional service to the buyers. This points us to the direction that the omnichannel strategy could be more critical than ever.
Making Smart Tech the New Normal
More and more sellers are looking forward to leveraging technology for business. With omnichannel proving to be one of the most fruitful and sale making opportunities, technology can be put to good use in the time to come. More forward thinking customers are anticipating customer focused technology to be used for omnichannel. The organizations that use technology will not only be enhancing their sales using it but also impacting the customer service. A large portion of marketers who are leveraging technology already believe that it is creating a difference to their business by helping craft more streamlined customer journeys.
Technology for Customer Relationships
Technology is the driving force behind customer relationships, especially in the modern times. Customers are looking forward to technological innovation from brands that are integrated with the customer’s journey. The technology is also helping them anticipate their needs as well as make revent suggestions. For example, product recommendations are one of the best ways to lure customers and compel them to buy more. Even customers love to get product recommendations. This strengthens the relationship between the buyer and the seller. In the times to come, it will become even more important to nurture customer relationships as businesses have to sustain themselves.
Omnichannel can have a great impact on your business. It can accelerate your marketing efforts and take your business to the next level. All you have to do is adopt it as soon as possible for your business. With little investment you can decrease your overall business spend and increase profits. More than that, you can provide your customers with an unparalleled customer experience. If you’re just a retailer, it is time you start looking for online solutions. Establish your presence online with Dash101 and take off your business with your target customers. Create a unified omnichannel approach by managing all your business activities from a single platform. From selling to managing inventory, shipping, managing returns and marketing your business, do everything from a single platform.
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