Thanks to increased smartphones and social media penetration, a data-driven transformation has become possible in the retail sector for the last decade. Recent research shows that more than 75% of retail customers shop from multiple retail channels. As expected, digital channels are coming to the fore with the effect of the pandemic.
With the effect of this, retail companies have increased their focus on digital channels and increased digital advertisements. With a similar transformation on the customer side, nearly 80% of customers search for products on mobile devices.
Today, the terms omnichannel and multichannel are often confused. So, first of all, let's start with the answer to the question: what is omnichannel retailing.
The omnichannel retail strategy aims to bring all channels together, ensure that the consumer has a holistic experience, and thus create excellent customer satisfaction.
It is taking the multichannel approach to the next level. It focuses on the channel-independent holistic customer experience, not the customer's individual experiences across different channels.
Although omnichannel experience produces effective results, retail companies must first have technologies such as customer databases, online shopping sites, and digital channel management to achieve this.
Omnichannel commerce makes inter-channel connections by keeping the customer in focus. Thus, on the one hand, the communication with the customer is strengthened, and on the other hand, the customer can reach the product they want from any channel they want.
The omnichannel approach uses companies' e-commerce sites for sales and increases interaction with the brand and the consumer.
So omnichannel management develops a sense of loyalty towards the brand as well as a seamless experience.
Omnichannel management allows retailers to achieve a better customer experience, more availability, drive sales and traffic, and integrate digital touchpoints, thus better custoımer data.
1. Better customer experience
Omnichannel retail management provides more channels for customers, mobile, web, or in stores. As the number of touchpoints increases, the need for seamless integration among touchpoints becomes a must. Since omnichannel provides integration among all channels, customers spend up to 30% more than single or multi-channel customers. That’s one of the tangible results of a better customer experience.
2. Improved customer loyalty
Another study shows that those customers who logged 23% more repeat shopping trips to the retailer’s stores have omnichannel shopping experience within the previous six months.
The same study also indicates that They were more likely to recommend the brand to family and friends than those who used a single channel.
Thus it is clear that an omnichannel strategy can improve retail customer loyalty as well.
3. Better data collection and quality
Thanks to its omnichannel approach, it creates the opportunity for retail companies to collect more detailed data about their customers. In addition to the advantages of digital channels, it has become possible to obtain different and high-quality data for physical channels thanks to technologies such as IoT and image processing.
4. Increased sales & traffic
Another study states that customers who used more than four different retail channels spent almost 10% more in the store than those who used just one channel. Thus companies create more traffic with additional channels and, therefore, sales.
It is essential to understand different channel definitions first.
Single-channel retail means that a company sells its product via one sales channel only.
Multichannel retail sells its products to its customers on different channels, both online and offline.
Omnichannel retail builds on multiple channels as well. It focuses on a seamless experience across all channels.
When it comes to an understanding omnichannel vs. multichannel, the main difference is in terms of integration. Multichannel retail sets up all the channels separately. On the other hand, omnichannel orchestrates all channels in harmony in a single strategy.
Multichannel retail is about individual experiences. Omnichannel facilitates the entire customer journey with a customer-centric approach. Thus omnichannel provides a seamless customer experience.
Multichannel has no standardized experience. Therefore, customers cannot readily associate the experience and brand essence of the retail. Omnichannel aims to serve standard experience (does not mean the “same” experience) among all channels.
To sum up, omnichannel is the upgraded version of multichannel retailing.
Omnichannel retail is perfect channel management in theory. But in practice, retail companies should manage the process effectively. For this, there are some critical points :
Data-driven customer management is the key. First, choose different data sources (social media listening, customer surveys, etc.) and update periodically. Then analyze and generate outputs for better customer experience.
Once we understand customers clearly, it is crucial to choose proper channels according to customers' locations and habits.
Omnichannel retail is an entire business. Thus every channel should have its purpose to implement a seamless experience.
This is the critical and challenging part of the practical omnichannel retail approach. Companies need omnichannel solutions not only what to the right technology but also how to implement it. Omnichannel retail is a dynamic process. So chosen technology can manage this ongoing process.
Etiya provides “omnichannel solutions” with an integrated, consistent, and seamless customer experience from any device or channel. It is pre-integrated with other Etiya products easily. It is also quickly integrated into existing systems via open APIs.
But in any case, omnichannel is not a separate retail strategy. It is a part of overall digital transformation. So it should be aligned with other transformation projects. Etiya upgrades retail businesses with Etiya digital transformation services and consultancy.
So retail companies must implement omnichannel immediately before the weak and negative impacts of single or multichannel approaches.