Jul 17, 2017

What is omnichannel retailing?

Omnichannel retailing is the practice by which a variety of channels are integrated and leveraged to influence a customer’s purchase decision.

Because the customer journey is no longer a linear experience and now includes multiple touchpoints, omni-channel retailing aims to provide a seamless shopping experience regardless of where the customer is (online or in-store), what device they are using (mobile or desktop), and what channel they are accessing content from (email, site, mobile app).

For example, a customer who adds items to their shopping cart while browsing on their mobile phone should be able to pick up where they left off via their prefered method of purchase on desktop at a later point in time. That means a cart that reflects their previous mobile session for a true cross-device experience. Additionally, if the same customer decides to select the “pickup in-store” option to bypass a longer delivery window, an entirely separate but connected, in-store experience must be triggered in order to match the customer’s expectation of acquiring their goods at a faster rate of service.

In this article on omnichannel retailing, learn more about its promises and pitfalls.

How is multi channel retailing different?

Multi channel retailing refers to all of the available outlets or touchpoints a specific retailer can leverage in order to better influence the customer decision making process. This includes channels such as traditional print, email, social media, a website, retail location, online ads, or mobile app.

The aim of a multi channel retail approach was to maximize revenue and loyalty by offering customers choice and convenience, but unfortunately, due to a common spray and pray mentality, along with data fragmentation, this method has become even less personalized and harder to measure in terms of channel attribution.

What are some of the latest omnichannel retailing stats/trends?

In a recent study by McKinsey Research and Harvard Business Review, it was found that omni-channel retail customers spent an average of 4% more on every shopping occasion in-store, and 10% more online than single-channel customers. Additionally, that the more channels a customer used, the more they would spend.

Even better, IDC Retail Insights research reports a 5-10% increase in loyal customers’ profitability, and 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel.

A few popular trends include retargeting campaigns based on prior browsing history, personalized product recommendations built off of user preferences, and rich mobile push notifications that inform customers on when items they’ve signaled interest in go on sale.

How do I make the most out of omnichannel retailing?

To successfully create an omni-channel retailing experience, a company must be able to create a complete 360 degree/single view of the customer. Without doing so, orchestration between channels will not be consistent, dampening the experience to a less impactful, multi-channel retailing approach.

The 360 degree view necessary to omni-channel retailing can be achieved by employing the right technology. For example, a unified platform will ingest data from multiple sources, allow data to flow freely, and establish a cohesive data set based on all available customer information which can then be used to produce powerful, contextual experiences.

Once the right technology has been put in place, answers to the following questions can be gleaned for insights into how to employ effective omnichannel retail experiences:

  1. What are my high-value acquisition channels?
  2. Who are my high LTV customers?
  3. Where are customers dropping off in the purchase funnel?
  4. What are each customer’s preferred devices, channels, and time(s) to be engaged?
  5. What utility can I provide current customers to increase loyalty?

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