Omnichannel – You must’ve probably heard this word a lot in retail as well as the eCommerce industry. But, what does it mean? How can this help your online business? And most importantly, can omnichannel strategy really help your eCommerce business to grow?
Well, to answer all such questions and tell you whether omnichannel commerce is worth implementing or not, I’ve written this very informative yet easy-to-understand article. I hope this would help you clear a lot of confusion and make you thank me later!
So, without any further ado, let’s hit off with the basics of omnichannel eCommerce strategy.
What is Omnichannel Strategy?
Omnichannel marketing is essentially the customer experience through the one seamless channel where they (the customers) are the center of every single channel that touches every customer touchpoint.
It is basically the integration of all the platforms where the customers land during their online shopping journey. This includes emails, social media platforms, and all the different devices that shoppers use to reach you.
Now, it may seem a little overwhelming and you might think that it’s the same as multichannel commerce – but I assure you, it’s not. Let me tell you why it is so.
What Is The Difference Between Omnichannel and Multichannel Commerce?
- Single-channel commerce is the one in which the products are sold through one single channel. It could be from an online website, app, or retail store.
Now, all omnichannel commerce is multichannel, but not all multichannel commerce is omnichannel.
- Multichannel aids in selling products through different channels – both online and offline. Multichannel commerce is famous for engaging customers. You can use channels like social media, your website, and physical stores too.
- Omnichannel commerce operates on various different platforms as well, but the difference here is that it integrates all the channels in one place. This means that now the customer can have a consistent, streamlined experience through all the channels.
Omnichannel is a much better option to provide your customers with a flawless and convenient shopping experience. Not convinced if an omnichannel strategy is nifty for your business? Give me a moment to tell you about some of its benefits.
Benefits of Omnichannel eCommerce Strategy
An omnichannel strategy is highly beneficial for your online business as it doesn’t only affect any one aspect of your business growth. Omnichannel improves all those aspects that trigger your customers, your marketing strategy, and the strategies that boost sales and conversion rates. How? Let’s find out.
1. Exceptional customer experience
Customer satisfaction is the number one benefit of implementing an Omnichannel strategy. In a study done by Superoffice, it was revealed that customer experience will surpass the priority level of product and pricing.
The statistics of Forbes show that 96% of the consumers choose customer service to be the first factor in deciding which company they shall remain loyal to.
Omnichannel commerce simply asks you to put your feet in the customers’ shoes. What would you wish for then? A seamless, hindrance-free shopping experience is all you could ask for.
The omnichannel strategy simply does that work. Let’s say Emelia started her journey with your website and searched for a product on her tablet. She saw your ad on FB on her smartphone offering a discount while going to the office, so she added the product to her cart.
Her devices are linked with the same email address that she uses on her devices and other email and social media accounts. At work, she opened her laptop and decided to complete the purchase. Once it was done, you sent a thank you and a confirmation email along with the tracking details.
You see. Emelia started her journey from your website using her tablet and ended it on her laptop. The touchpoints she covered online were your site → social media → site again → email, and that too using 3 different devices!
With the proper implication of the omnichannel strategy, Emelia didn’t have to stick with one platform and one device. Her journey was seamless before she could even realize how many touchpoints she has jumped through.
2. Engage customers wherever they are
Customer satisfaction is what your customers seek, and you provide. But customer engagement is what you seek. The sad part is, the customers don’t care if you’re getting that or not.
However, you can put some effort to make sure that customer engagement is improved. A customer-centered viewpoint gives your eCommerce store the opportunity to manage customer relationships across all channels.
In most online business systems, customers are not managed as single entities across all channels: from the website to social media to your app. With an omnichannel strategy, you can manage interactions & engagement with customers across all platforms.
This prevents the loss of information, increases the quality of customer service, and gives customers engagement no matter where or when they shop.
3. Integration of your business
By now, you must’ve concluded that integration is the consequence of omnichannel commerce. This concept is so amazing and so effective when you want all your touchpoints to act as one and work towards one direction.
Whatever your customers do with whichever devices, your online business is one single entity walking with them throughout.
More than just marketing stunts, omnichannel strategy communication enables integrated consumer service, sales, merchandising, inventory, and enterprise resource planning. Rather than varying parts of your business, each aspect of the business syncs together with other parts to provide the highest quality of service and product to your customers.
4. Better data collection & its analysis
Omnichannel eCommerce strategy is all about unifying all the scattered parts in one single place.
With an omnichannel strategy, you can collect and unite customer data from several platforms and systems like cookies, device IDs, shopping carts, social media, mailing lists, POS systems, loyalty and referral programs, etc.
By using this information, you can create a 360-degree view of each shopper who engages with your brand. Using the data collected, you can analyze your consumer behavior, interests, and intent for a better strategy design that will ultimately lead to a higher sales rate.
5. Improved brand visibility
Omnichannel marketing enables you to showcase your brand and messages in a consistent and timely manner – be it different devices, social media & your website.
Whenever and wherever a consumer encounters your brand, they are offered a seamless and exclusive shopping experience. Hence, the omnichannel strategy leads to improved brand visibility that results in better engagement and customer loyalty.
6. Highly cost-effective
With the insights extracted from the data collected, you can stop shooting arrows in the dark. You can now create marketing campaigns and invest in your resources more efficiently.
With the data collected with the aid of an omnichannel strategy, you can also tell where and when to concentrate on a particular strategy as compared to others. This can bring a far more profitable return.
For example, you see that your Instagram ads are driving more traffic as compared to your Google ads. Then, it becomes obvious where to invest more and where to cut down.
7. Attain higher ROI
Customer satisfaction, better engagement, the unification of data, better brand visibility, and cost-effective techniques are all ultimately going to result in achieving better conversions and higher ROI with the help of the omnichannel strategy.
Now, you may see that there are a lot of benefits attached to omnichannel commerce. I can bet that you are convinced now. So, what’s the next step? How do you start with your own omnichannel marketing strategy? Don’t worry, I’ve got this all figured out.
How to Get Started with Omnichannel Strategy?
Every company builds its own unique omnichannel structure. You’ll have to work closely with all your departments to create your own, very strong omnichannel strategy. While you are working on it, I suggest you include these elements:
Now, it’s time to begin the journey towards omnichannel commerce.
1. Keep all your departments in this together
Make sure that everyone understands the objective behind your omnichannel strategy so that you can begin to plan your transition to this model. It’s important to include all your departments as it’s always better to have everyone on the same page.
Now, the transition can be smooth and people can adapt to the ‘omnichannel way of working’ easily. When your team is already prepared, it won’t take too long for implementing every plan for each of your goals.
2. Create & set goals
Implementing the omnichannel strategy is not one-night magic. Set small, measurable goals so that you can keep a track of how much you’ve progressed. Find out how long it is taking for you to achieve one small goal and how effective is it providing for your eCommerce business. Keep creating goals and measuring success until you achieve your final aim.
3. Perceive your customer
Don’t make assumptions about knowing your customers. Figure out who your target audience is. Omnichannel works best only when you find out on whom to focus. Get in touch with them, take Customer feedback, run surveys, and utilize social media platforms.
You are ultimately doing this for your customers. Omnichannel is primarily a customer-centered strategy. Hence, do not exclude them from your plan. Find out about their preferences, which channel they spend the most time on, and their interests. Also, look for your customer pain points.
4. Map out the customer journey
Once you successfully figure out who your target audience is, start mapping their journey. Analyze things like:
What route do your customers take before they buy something?
What channels are they usually using to do this?
Is their route too complex?
How many days or weeks do they take to end their journey?
What categories are the most likely to explore?
5. Set up and use channels
Identify which channels are you going, to begin with (ultimately use all). Set those channels up in such a way that engages and entices your target group the most. These channels are the pathways that’ll help your customers walk through the seamless experience you are trying to create.
For example, if your potential audience is mostly young, then probably Instagram or Facebook should be on the top of your list.
6. Keep optimizing and developing
Once you have everything up and running, do not leave your omnichannel strategy on autopilot to work further. Keep up with the market changes and make sure that you bring change in your methods whenever required. Develop your existing strategies and introduce new strategies too.
7. Include every channel in the frame
Though it’s better to pick one thing at a time, during the journey, don’t leave any stones unturned. Include every channel in your omnichannel strategy.
However, it completely depends on you where to invest your time and money more and on which to cut down your expenses. For the journey to be seamless, your customer should not feel that there is a bridge that needs to be filled at any touchpoints.
8. Do not waste any time
There is no time to be casual – stay focused. For the transition and the later journey of an omnichannel strategy, you are required to stay alert for the things that need to be developed and optimized. Minor neglect can create hurdles in the journey and mess with the concept of omnichannel commerce being seamless.
9. Retarget your audience
Retargeting your audience means reaching out to your consumers with the products that they are already looking for or have looked at in the near past on your website.
Retargeting helps in encouraging your consumers to encourage them to initiate their online shopping journey. You can use the email of your existing customers and social media platforms for both new as well as old consumers for retargeting.
Facebook ads and Instagram ads are some of the best platforms to market your products. If you are retargeting your existing customers who have not returned for a while, then it is always better to allure them with exciting offers.
For example, if they were looking for a pair of jeans, then you may retarget them by providing an exclusive discount to them for that particular product.
10. Go slow, steady, and effective
Ultimately, your omnichannel strategy should consist of a realistic plan to build a consistent, aligned experience across multiple channels, which may include any or all of the platforms featured in the above graphic.
Because this is still a comparatively new emerging concept – for your brand and your departments, there’s still time to start small and expand in the future. Hence, go slow and fasten your pace along the way.
Omnichannel strategy is about providing a ‘one of a kind’ experience to your customers. Apart from being uniquely seamless, it is a wonderful way to boost your eCommerce business growth too.
Once implemented successfully, it brings a lot of benefits attached to it. There are a few things that should be done religiously to bring the most out of it. These things could seem tedious, but against the improvements that omnichannel strategy brings along with it – the task is worth performing.
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