Businesses that only utilize a single sales channel run the risk of losing customers to competitors that offer their products and services on multiple outlets. By using the omnichannel retail strategy, companies can create a seamless transition between platforms to provide customers with the best shopping experience.
However, retailers need to take a close look at data integration, consolidation, and management in order to reap the many benefits of omnichannel marketing.
What is an Omnichannel Retail Strategy?
An omnichannel retail strategy is a marketing, sales, and customer service tactic that stretches across all sales channels to make a cohesive experience for customers no matter when, where, or how they contact the company.
It is important to note that omnichannel is not the same as multichannel, although there are some comparisons. Single, multi, and omnichannel strategies differ when it comes to integration and customer reach.
- Single Channel Retail
- Multichannel Retail
However, most multichannel retailers have an online and offline presence. Multichannel marketing is an excellent strategy for businesses trying to build their established client base and boost customer engagement.
- Omnichannel Retail
However, omnichannel retailing integrates all outlets to ensure customers can seamlessly transition between platforms. This means all sales channels have access to customer, inventory, and sales data to ensure all locations work in unison.
How to Create an Omnichannel Retail Strategy
As consumers become more and more familiar with online shopping, many expect retailers to offer discounts and products in-store, online, and through mobile apps.
In fact, a GE Shopper Research study found that 81% of shoppers check an item's price online before making a purchase, regardless if the final transaction is made online or in-store. Therefore, retailers need to ensure all of their sales channels display the same information and provide a seamless transition.
For successful omnichannel marketing, companies need to-
1. Create a Seamless Mobile Transition
An eMarketer study found that 45% of consumers like to shop online, in-store, and via mobile apps, making it crucial for businesses to provide a consistent customer experience across all platforms.
This can be difficult when it comes to programming an e-commerce site, as some websites are not compatible with mobile viewing. Therefore, retailers should determine whether to develop a separate mobile app for shoppers that use tablets or smartphones, or ensure that the site is mobile-friendly.
2. Prioritize Customer Experience
First and foremost, customers want personalized experiences that enhance their shopping journey. Companies should find ways to customize the consumer experience at every phase, from browsing products to the final transaction.
Many retailers allow buyers to create personal logins that will save their preferences to the account. This not only makes future shopping easier for the consumer but also enables the business to gather insights. With access to sales data, customer e-mail addresses, birth dates, interests, and purchase histories, management can create detailed reports and targeted marketing schemes.
3. Manage Customer Data
A Retail Systems Research study found that 54% of marketers say that their biggest inhibitor is the lack of overview of their customer data across all sales channels.
Without data integration and consolidation from each retail platform, businesses cannot accurately access customer and sales metrics. Therefore, retailers should standardize information from all channels to enhance actionable insights to provide the best customer service.
However, companies need to ensure that they have a robust framework that can handle large volumes of data, or else they can experience website crashes and malfunctions.
4. Improve Customer Engagement Across All Channels
Once all channels are established, retailers should focus on increasing their customer engagement. By improving customer interaction, time spent on the site increases, which often improves conversion rates. There are several ways companies can improve their engagement, such as-
- Creating customer-based content
- Improving search engine optimization (SEO) scores
- Increasing referrals
- Running contests
- Interacting with customers on social media
- Running promotions
Benefits of an Omnichannel Retail Strategy
Omnichannel marketing expands a business's customer reach by providing multiple outlets for consumers to discover their brand. This strategy also allows retailers to-
- Remain Competitive - Modern shoppers are omnichannel buyers. This means that retailers using single-channel marketing are losing potential sales to competitors that offer products across multiple platforms. Therefore, omnichannel retailers are able to maintain a competitive edge by reaching consumers with different shopping preferences.
- Increase Customer Retention - Studies show that 33% of customers said they stopped returning to a business due to one bad experience. By providing a seamless shopping experience over various platforms, retailers can increase their customer retention.
- Increase Sales - Increasing customer engagement by providing multiple shopping platforms gives buyers more opportunities to make a purchase. This also encourages impulse buys, which drives sales and income.
- Improve Operational Efficiency - Sharing data from each channel enables businesses to make better inventory, customer, and sales decisions. This consolidation lowers data collection and processing expenses, increasing operational efficiency, and business intelligence.
- Enhance Customer Loyalty - By offering different ways to access the company, customers can become familiar with the brand. Improving familiarity gives consumers a chance to get to know the brand, make purchases, and develop a trusting relationship.
- Improve Data Collection - The more sales channels businesses offer, the more data they can collect to improve customer service, sales, and inventory. Insights can determine what products consumers gravitate towards and the preferred platforms.
The omnichannel retail strategy gives companies a competitive edge and the chance to establish a presence on every platform.