Given that 80% of consumers prefer an omnichannel strategy due to the seamless shopping experience it presents, adopting omnichannel retailing offers huge opportunities for eCommerce businesses.
But it’s not as simple as trying omnichannel and haphazardly seeing how it works out. Developing an effective omnichannel retailing strategy takes careful planning, testing and execution. Our top tips can help you get started.
What is omnichannel retailing?
Omnichannel retailing is a seamless shopping experience across multiple channels, both in the digital or physical environment. For example, a customer could start their purchasing journey in-store by physically viewing, touching and testing a product before looking for reviews on social media, then finally placing their order online.
As the digital revolution accelerates and consumer behaviors change, eCommerce retailers must keep up. 76% of customers prefer different channels depending on the context, so you need to make sure you’re meeting those needs.
73% of shoppers use multiple channels during their shopping journey.
1. Building an omnichannel strategy
The first and most crucial step is to build an omnichannel strategy. You can’t just decide to ‘do’ omnichannel one day. It takes careful planning, research and analysis to build an omnichannel business that achieves results.
The most important thing to remember is to keep your customers at the heart of your strategy. Key KPIs and business goals are important, but without meeting customer wants and needs, the likelihood is you’ll never achieve these.
2. Make it mobile-friendly
While omnichannel is about multiple channels, a lot of these are hosted on mobile devices, which is why your business must be geared towards this. Today, we’re living in an ‘always on’ culture. We can access products, brands and information any time, any place, meaning that people's wants and needs have changed.
Customers are no longer just browsing your products on physical shelves or a desktop website. They’re exploring your brand through the palm of their hands, using social media and mobile devices, so make sure your eCommerce experience caters to and is optimized for this.
3. Boosting customer engagement
As omnichannel retailing availability and accessibility increases, so does the battle to get your customers' attention over your competitors. To boost customer engagement, it’s essential that you’re offering the right value at the right time.
You can enhance customer engagement through several initiatives and match the relevant content with the right customer journey stage. Are you utilizing offers, emails, push notifications and loyalty programs to your advantage? This gets your customers to choose you over competitors time after time.
4. Providing the best customer experience
Omnichannel retailing is a customer-centric strategy that puts the customer first in every step of the purchase journey. A seamless experience enables customers to move through the purchase journey and between channels without friction. Not only that, but providing the best customer experience helps provide a point of difference, ensuring you stand out from the crowd.
Effective planning and execution will provide the best customer experience. Consider the following steps:
- Segment audiences: Not all customers should be treated the same.
- Personalization is powerful: Deploy personalization tactics to respond to individual needs, boosting the likelihood of a purchase.
- Offer the right content at the right time: Informing customers to make the right purchase.
- Give the right support: We’ll go into this in more detail, but customer service is a huge part of the customer experience and loyalty.
91% of customers are more likely to purchase if they’re provided with personalized offers and experiences.
5. Making the most of AI
AI is a powerful tool that you shouldn’t ignore. It takes the guesswork out of human operations, streamlining operations and saving countless hours. AI can be used throughout your eCommerce operations, from live chats to recommendation algorithms, enhancing the customer experience.
6. Utilizing social media
With omnichannel, social media is non-negotiable. It completes the omnichannel puzzle. Filled to the brim with opportunities to interact with, market and sell to your customers, social media holds boundless potential for your eCommerce business. From shoppable posts, sponsored ads and targeted marketing, social media is a powerful shopping tool.
However, it’s not just for shopping, but for reviews too. Consumers trust what they hear and see on social media. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram have emerged as powerful drivers of ‘viral’ products. If you can tap into social media successfully, you’ll be on the route to success.
7. Optimizing frequently used channels
For a seamless omnichannel operation, you’ll want to ensure you’re optimizing frequently used channels. It’s about understanding and analyzing the channels your customers use the most.
Do some generate more money than others ripe for reinvestment? Do other channels need a boost or a refresh? Use the data to your advantage to target customers precisely at the right time and in the right place to promote sales.
8. Harmonising 'clicks and bricks'
While this blog focuses on digital channels, this doesn’t mean to say you should neglect your physical stores. They play just as much of an important part, but you’ll need to make sure they complement your online presence.
Consider approaches such as social media opportunities in stores or building physical experience zones. You can even go one step further and develop your digital apps to have ‘in-store’ shopping experiences to facilitate and help the customer journey.
9. Provide the customer support to match
Even if you have the most seamless, engaging and rewarding omnichannel experience, if you don’t provide the customer support to match, you’re unlikely to achieve your business’ full potential.
No eCommerce business is perfect. Mistakes happen or customer questions crop up. You must ensure you have the right support when these issues arise. Cross-channel support from live chats, social media and in-store assistants is essential. If customers can’t get the help they need, they’ll go elsewhere.
10. Reviewing and testing
Last and by no means least is reviewing and testing. eCommerce businesses change all the time and new technologies are being introduced daily. Customer needs also evolve all the time, so you need to make sure your business is keeping up.
By deploying an omnichannel model, you’ll collect large amounts of data across every channel. Use this data to your advantage — it’s full of insights for growth. Test variables to see which comes out on top, whether email, social media posts or product promotion. Without reviewing and testing, you’ll be missing out on new opportunities.
Need a helping hand on your omnichannel journey?
At Circus Street, we specialize in delivering engaging, impactful training that makes a real difference for eCommerce businesses. Whether you’re looking to dive deeper into omnichannel retailing, want to explore the latest eCommerce trends or understand how to target your customers better, we’ve got you covered.
Download our eCommerce learning directory to learn more about each course, what you’ll learn and the benefits it offers for your business.
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