How an omnichannel retail strategy can boost ROI
You’ve likely heard of the term ‘omnichannel’. Retailers and eCommerce experts are raving about it.
But what is it?
In this article, we answer your questions about omnichannel commerce and help you understand why it’s so important.
What is Omnichannel Commerce?
Omnichannel commerce is a strategy that allows shoppers to complete retail transactions across more than one channel (online and offline). These channels include:
- Brick-and-mortar shops
- Social media
- Social media networks
With an omnichannel approach, customers can make purchases using a variety of methods. Customers can buy products and services using:
- A mobile device while they sit on their couch
- A laptop as they sip their favourite latte at a coffee shop
- A point of sale (POS) system inside a brick-and-mortar store
The Difference Between Omnichannel and Multichannel
Like omnichannel commerce, multichannel commerce allows customers to interact with brands on multiple channels.
The difference is, a multichannel approach to commerce doesn’t have systems to share data or processes with one another.
On the other hand, an omnichannel strategy removes the boundaries between these distinct systems by connecting them, creating a more seamless integration from one touchpoint to another.
As a result, omnichannel commerce provides customers with a unified experience as they shop across all platforms.
This is important because today’s shoppers might start searching for a product or brand online. Then, they might go to another channel as they move through the buyer’s journey.
Why is Omnichannel Important?
Having a strong omnichannel strategy is key to providing customers with a unified shopping experience. To get an idea of how crucial an omnichannel approach is to achieve a high ROI, consider these stats:
- 9 out of 10 consumers want an omnichannel experience when interacting with a brand.
- 76% of consumers search for a company online before visiting their physical location.
- 46% of shoppers confirm inventory online before visiting a store.
How the Pandemic Changed Shopping Behaviour
In 2020, nearly half of retail executives said they would increase their investment in omnichannel retail.
Because many consumers started shifting from offline to online channels, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, more and more customers began making digital purchases.
And brands that offered an omnichannel shopping experience exceeded in giving customers a seamless way to buy products.
For example, businesses that offered curbside pickup and delivery options gave customers convenience; a huge comfort in a time of uncertainty.
Benefits of an Omnichannel Retail Approach
Brands that invest in an omnichannel strategy can experience a host of benefits. Let’s take a look at just a few.
- Consistent Branding
Using an omnichannel approach, you can achieve cohesive messaging across various channels. No matter what channel a customer uses to engage with your brand, the messaging stays the same.
Maintaining consistent branding across multiple channels increases brand recognition and trust with customers.
2. Better Customer Experience
When a customer can interact with a brand across multiple touchpoints, they feel more compelled to communicate.
For example, imagine that you have a brick-and-mortar location but not a website. A potential customer wants to see if you have a particular item in stock, but for some reason, they can’t reach your store’s phone number.
What are they more likely to do?
- Potentially waste time driving to your shop even though there’s a chance you don’t have the product they’re looking for. They can’t check online because you don’t have a website.
- Go to another store that has a website showing the product in stock.
They’re more likely to choose the second option. It’s more convenient and meets their needs, making for a better customer experience.
3. More Customer Loyalty
Companies with omnichannel commerce strategies retain around 89% of their customers. On the other hand, companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement only retain around 33%.
A study of 46,000 shoppers showed that 73% of customers used multiple channels during their shopping journey.
The study also revealed:
- Within 6 months of purchasing from an omnichannel brand, customers logged 23% more shopping trips to that company’s store.
- Customers were more likely to recommend an omnichannel brand to their family and friends.
Meeting Today’s Shopper’s Needs with an Omnichannel Approach
Now you know what an omnichannel strategy is and why it’s important. Let’s look at how you can apply it to your brand.
Consider the Buyer’s Journey
The customer journey is rarely linear. Customers often take various journeys before making a purchase.
- A consumer uses their phone to browse social media and comes across a brand they’ve never heard of before.
- The next day at work, the consumer uses their computer to visit the company’s website. This is when they discover the brand’s app.
- Later, when the consumer is home, they download the mobile app and browse the brand’s products.
- After work the following day, the consumer visits the retailer’s physical store, finds a product they like, and checks out.
Creating a strong omnichannel strategy will allow you to understand and anticipate the different stages of the buyer’s journey.
This, in turn, makes it easier for customers to complete specific goals (i.e. research, comparison, purchase, etc.) at each stage of their journey.
Rethink Your Channels
Define the channels you’ll be using for customer interaction:
- Choose the right channels based on customer preferences and behaviours.
- Choose a clear purpose for each channel.
- Connect all channels.
- Test your channels, and tweak them based on your results.
Achieve a Personalised, Omnichannel Strategy with Storey
As more and more customers shift to online shopping, offering multiple, integrated customer touchpoints is paramount. So, there should be a seamless connection between online and offline channels.
But what if customers could have both at once?
At Storey, we can blend the home shopping experience with the physical retail environment. That way, your customers get the best of both worlds during their retail journey.
Connect brands to consumers through personalised online shopping experiences, powered by video, text and live chat.
Build Instant or scheduled live video product demos into your omnichannel strategy that educate your customers and build their confidence in your product features and benefits.