Omnichannel retailing – what is it? We’ve all heard of multichannel selling – selling your products through various channels such as the Internet, bricks and mortar stores, direct marketing, call centres, group buying and so on. The omnichannel approach takes things to the next level - promoting your products to customers in exactly the same way across all your sales points. Customers don’t see channels, they just see brands, and customers expect the brand to be consistent no matter which way they choose to shop with you.
Welcome to the world of the ‘Connected Customer’. This customer is empowered, informed, and tech-savvy. Their shopping experience starts on your website where they browse your products and do their research. Their research continues on their mobile phone where they search your eBay store, engage in social media such as Facebook and Twitter, until finally, when they know exactly what they want, they come into your store to make their purchase. This customer is looking for the complete customer experience – the same ’story’ across all channels.
Research has shown that omni-channel shoppers spend up to 15%-30% more than multi-channel shoppers and exhibit strong brand loyalty, often influencing others (via their social networks and online activity) to use and support a brand.
Customers actively research products, and they form an impression of the retail brand, the products being sold, the range provided, and the price points they sit at. This customer driven demand for a seamless experience from brands operating in multiple channels is key to why omnichannel is so important for retailers to grasp. Without really committing to, investing in and improving the customers experience across all touch points of the brand then you will not meet the needs of your customers.
The key to successfully embracing omnichannel retailing is twofold: Commitment and Investment.
It requires a complete buy-in from the boardroom; and in turn this commitment must be mandated throughout an organisation in order to be effective - the Marketing team needs to be communicating the same messages to customers across all touch points. Customers are getting smarter, and so in-store sales staff need to be more knowledgeable about the products they offer and production processes.
A paradigm shift is required in the thinking of what a ‘store’ actually is – in the new omnichannel world, it is not just the physical bricks and mortar store that we once knew ‘retailing’ to be. It is all the possible ways that a customer can buy a product from you. Embrace this concept and make your store ‘bigger’ – promote products through channels and markets you may not have thought of before. You may currently have a physical store and a website. Add more avenues for sales –multiple eBay stores in multiple countries, utilise Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, introduce another physical store in a new location - locally or overseas.
And this is where it gets complex, because all of a sudden we’re talking about additional channels and emerging markets all the while utilising traditional business applications that weren’t built to accommodate this purpose.
Companies wanting to grow using the omnichannel strategy will need to invest in the right technology. Your IT solution must be capable of introducing and supporting these new channels in a speedy and consistent manner, without long development and deployment timeframes. It should promote data integrity by maintaining 1 customer record and 1 product record across your entire omnichannel ‘store’, rather than multiple applications working in silos.
You may like to consider the following: Does your current software application manage the entire supply chain process across all your channels end-to-end? Does it offer real-time store inventory levels and central management of all orders? Is it easy to push multiple products to your website, multiple eBay stores and manage the challenges of selling in overseas markets such as languages and varying currencies? Can you select shipping carriers in real time and batch dispatch Orders?
Can your business execute across all channels, with consistent branding information, from a single solution?
Contact Qdos Technology if you are ready to expand your business using omnichannel retailing, and we’ll show you what your new ‘store’ can look like!