Omnichannel is the future for retailers

OmnichannelOmnichannel retailing is changing the world. With 450.000+ retailers and only around 50.000 webshops, there is an inconsistent ratio with the current online world. For retailing success you need the omnichannel experience.

With the gaining popularity of the internet and the growth of the number of online sales channels, many predicted the fall of the physical store. Retailers were better off going only online and offer their products exclusively online. And it is correct, a number of famous retail chains have become bankrupt in the mean time. But we still see a preference for the physical store. Successful retailers now have an offline and online channel and connected them in a good way and thereby profit from the synergy of the two channels. Because it is there. Especially when you implement a successful omnichannel strategy.

What is omnichannel?

The word omnichannel gives it away a little. “Omni” means “everything” or “all” and “channel” is pointing at “sales channel”. In an omnichannel strategy, you as a retailer are using the physical as well as the digital sales channel and interweave them together in a wholesome one. In this whole, they will add to each other and in the best cases; strengthen each other. There are a few ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ associated with this however. You can’t just match all different modules to each other. You can, as a locally known physical shop, not just expect that your web shop will be just as successful as your physical shop with non-local or even international customers. Omnichannel only works well if you streamline all processes, all information streams and all marketing information. You have to adjust your business processes so that they will give you more time instead of more administration work. This asks for a new look at your store concept and a careful and especially planned implementation.

Why should you choose for omnichannel as a retailer?

The reason is actually very simple: a well implemented omnichannel approach will give you a lot of profits. You are making use of the specific advantages of each sales channel and you are profiting from the synergy. If you adjust your business processes accordingly, omnichannel will also take away a lot of administrative work. You concretely save time that you can spend on innovative sales concepts, target group research and better knowledge of how to adjust what you are offering to your target group. Because omnichannel will also give you a lot of marketing information that you can use for your own good. There is one thing that you should keep a close eye on with omnichannel, not your assortment but the experience of the customer needs to be central. With the customer as your central focus, you can direct your company's formula in such a way that you take them on a tour through what you are offering. And it doesn’t matter if he is in your store physically or that he is shopping online in the night whilst you are asleep.

How do you successfully implement a omnichannel strategy?

Everything starts with the customer. The customer of the 21st century wants, besides a diverse selection, also clear product information, good descriptions, clear photos and an easy process to order. This is crucial for all retailers with an online offer. On the other hand you will start to notice that customers will stop shopping when they cannot see the forest through the trees anymore. Just as in a store where everything on offer is mixed up and it is a bit messy. You should take the customer by the hand and show them your offer and lead him in a friendly way to concrete action, whether that is asking for more information or making a purchase. In your physical store, you get customers that want to feel, that want extra information and want to be insipred by your enthusiasm and your advice of possibilities to combine with other items of your selection. These factors perhaps play a role with the customer experience of the online customer as well. It is important that you know your purchasing motives of your target group well and that you know at the moments of decision which extra information is necessary to make them make the next step.

A couple of examples

In your online shop you will inspire through pictures and blogs. Do you have a clothing shop, then you can profile yourself with a regularly updated blog in which you will show new combination possibilities. In your physical show you could do the same with touch screens. Offline as well as online you give your customers the possibility to find new information about brands quickly. When your sales staff has access to iPads on which they can show this, you will combine a personal approach with the giving of extra information. Of course it becomes extra lucrative if your physically buying customers can be lured to making purchases online and if you can make your online customers come to your physical shop. Ordering online and picking up in the physical shop, and then letting them there hand in a discount coupon is a strategy that can work successfully. Just like letting your shopping customers make an online purchase through the iPad of your sales staff employee of an extra accessory that is not physically in stock.

Synergy in business processes

In the beginning, when a number of retailers were selling physically as well as online from the same assortment and from the same stock, it regularly occurred that the physical stock was not matching to what was thought to be the stock. The retailer had to sell “no” quite regularly back then. In a well implemented omnichannel system your physical stock is adjusted in real time with each online and offline sale that is being made. This system alone will take a lot of administrative work out of your hands.
What happened a lot with retailers that sold through different channels, was that they only had a limited overview of their customers. Only when you implement omnichannel in a good way, this also belongs to the past. You are working with one integrated CRM-sytem for all your channels. If you arrange this in an intelligent way, this will give you a lot of useful information. Information about the age of your customers, their geographical locations and perhaps their education levels. With this you can better direct your advertisements and offers and measure the success of your efforts immediately. It is also very important that your appearance online as well as offline is identical. In this way your customers will experience a unity between your different sales channels and will feel at home and comfortable.

Experiences of other retailers with omnichannel

A renowned clothing company like Burberry’s gives you the online option to order custom made clothing, in which the customer gives his measurements online. The English shopping mall Westfield lets their customers give them their preferences online and then customers can ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ new offers. With this, Westfield is creating the possibility for real adjusted marketing.
Sales personel of Marks and Spencer have a tablet with them with which they can show product specific background information. This gives customers extra information and will enchance their customer trust in the sales employee. There are different successful strategies to be found. Within ten years, as is the prediction, omnichannel will become the norm. Who is then not in the game, is out.


Article written by: roybor
Times read: 1368x
Added: 22-02-2017 09:54
Last modified: 25-05-2017 11:23

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