For the uninitiated, the term ‘Omnichannel Commerce’ may sound very daunting. Some might even think that it’s one of those fancified words that only complicates simple concepts. In reality, however, it’s a very straightforward term that refers to a sales approach that uses multiple streams to create a unique and comprehensive customer experience.
Every business should consider giving this concept a try as it can be an excellent way to engage with customers as well as build good relationships with them. It’s also hailed as the future of retail, so if you want to give your enterprise a nice edge, learning more about it now would prove to be highly beneficial.
If you’re interested in giving it a shot, here’s a quick introduction to omnichannel commerce and the very tricks you can make use of it for your business’ success.
What is Omnichannel Commerce?
First things first, though, what exactly is omnichannel commerce? As mentioned above, it’s a method wherein different avenues are used to sales in hopes of providing a seamless customer experience. It empowers brands to reach consumers at every buying experience (online and off) to provide a consistent consumer experience across all channels.
The terms ‘Omni’ which means all or of all things and ‘channel’ meaning routes or means pretty much make it self-explanatory if you’ll really think about it. These channels can refer to the different platforms you use to reach your customers from your brick and mortar store to your telemarketing efforts and social media accounts.
Omnichannel commerce is already a commonly used technique nowadays in the age of the internet. This shouldn’t be surprising as it’s already a must for enterprises to make themselves more visible and easily available through every possible and appropriate venue nowadays. As a result, consumers also take advantage of the opportunities.
In fact, a Harvard Business Review survey found out that 73% of all customers use different channels in the entirety of the process of their purchase. As consumers grow more and more conscious about where they spend their money, they try to learn as much as they can about a brand or product before sealing the deal. They tend to use multiple sources to gain as much information as they can and ensure that they’ll get the information they need to make a call.
What should be noted about omnichannel commerce is the fact that it’s focused on the entire customer experience more than the experience of the customer on each channel. The goal should be to enhance the purchasing journey of the customer to make a sale.
Omnichannel vs Single and Multichannel Commerce
To better establish what omnichannel commerce is, let’s compare it to other similar concepts: single-channel and multichannel commerce.
Single-channel commerce refers to a method wherein you only use one venue to make a sale. This can refer to either a brick and mortar location or an online store like an e-commerce website or an account in online marketplaces like eBay or Etsy. Lots of brands choose to use this technique and get great results from it. However, if you wish to provide a richer experience to your customers, the other two methods might be more appealing to you.
Multichannel commerce is often confused with omnichannel commerce as both use several avenues to reach customers. However, a multichannel approach employs a more basic strategy as it only uses different platforms to reach customers. They’re primarily used to become more easily available to consumers, so those who are interested in their services and products will know where to find them.
All omnichannel experiences are considered multichannel experiences as well but you can’t say the same thing the other way around. For an approach to be considered as omnichannel, all of your platforms should work together and enhance each other. Consistent messaging is key as it can create cohesion among all venues, connecting all channels seamlessly.
It’s a step up from the multichannel approach as this gives a more professional character to your brand. Your clientele will feel more visible and well cared for in the process as well. This makes it highly beneficial for those who hope to build good and lasting relationships with their customers.
Why Employ an Omnichannel Approach
There are several reasons why you should closely consider investing in an omnichannel strategy for your business. Here are the top benefits that you can enjoy from this approach:
Enhanced customer experience
Having several ways to be available to your target audience is a great thing because it allows them to find you faster. However, it has a few challenges, especially if you have different people handling various platforms. The experience from one may not necessarily be similar to the others without an omnichannel approach and it can have a negative impact on your overall efforts.
It’s important to make the experience seamless and similar so you can project a consistent image to your potential clients. Having different individual experiences from various venues can be a bit polarizing and will not send a very positive message to your audience. You’d want them to get the same good experience from your brick and mortar store as well as your social media accounts to best capture the kind of service your brand can offer. If you fail on this front, you might lose your appeal to some of your prospects.
Boost in sales and traffic
Converting your omnichannel efforts into sales can be a bit challenging but you can be sure that it’s well worth the effort. By appealing to your potential client consistently on all platforms you have, you can effectively acquire a new customer that has a high likelihood of becoming a repeat customer.
According to another Harvard Business Review survey, omnichannel customers are more likely to spend more than single-channel customers. This shouldn’t be too surprising because the former are more engaged with your brand so there’s a very good chance that they’ll make more purchases, mostly in the form of multiple transactions.
Roused customer loyalty
Lots of brands also work hard to achieve omnichannel commerce to further encourage customer loyalty. While the quality of your products and services will go a long way in retaining customers, top-notch customer service and a wonderful purchase experience can also help you win people over effectively.
A great transaction will leave a good impression on a customer, so instead of risking it with someone else in the future, they’ll check in with your offerings to see if they can go for a similar positive encounter that they’ve had before. According to studies, those who had an omnichannel shopping experience will have repeat shopping trips to the same store that offered them the said experience. They’re also more likely to recommend a business to friends and loved ones if they had an excellent omnichannel experience with them.
Another notable thing about this benefit is that it can help you cut down certain marketing offers that tend to cost you a lot. With loyal customers to bank on, you don’t need to be as aggressive in offering discount vouchers or massive discounts and other traditional marketing ploys. Their loyalty will be enough to secure sales.
Improved data collection
Using different platforms to engage customers is also a great way to gain a better understanding of what they’re like and what they want. You can use the information you’ll gather from these venues to better tweak your approach and appeal to your target audience.
Creating an Effective Omnichannel Approach
With everything said above, it’s easy to see why lots of brands make an effort to employ the omnichannel approach in their marketing efforts. If you want to do the same thing, here are the most important tips that can help you carry out an effective campaign:
Get to know your customers.
Most businesses like to think that they truly know their customers but it’s not always the case. Make sure that you truly know what your target market wants and needs so you can craft the right strategies to appeal to them.
Choose the right platforms.
Not all venues will be very useful to you. Find where your customers are and focus on those channels for the best results.
Craft a good plan of attack per channel.
It wouldn’t be ideal to use different avenues for the same things. Not only will that be repetitive but it can also burn you out as it will require you to churn out a lot more content than necessary. Designate a specific purpose for each channel instead.
Hook up and connect all of your channels.
This is the trickiest part for an omnichannel approach and not everyone pulls it off. The key trick here is to use technology in order to get to know your customer’s behaviors across your platforms. You will need to follow them through all of your touchpoints to better understand their patterns and activities. This will tell you what your next step should be and how you can engage with them.
Maintain all of your channels.
After establishing your venues to get in touch and be available to customers, you have to make sure to maintain all of them effectively. You can’t just stop once you’ve put your touchpoints in place. Your consistency in providing support and engaging with your audience will determine the success of your omnichannel approach.