As Gen Z enters the market as a major consumer, businesses are faced with a growing necessity to cater to a tech-savvy world.
Even classic brick-and-mortar stores, who have long depended on in-person interactions and word of mouth for ensuring positive customer experiences, are now working to convert their audience in the virtual sphere.
So, you have a retail store. You want to open communication and sales with your community online, so you set up an eCommerce website. So far so good. This is known as multi-channel selling and marketing, and it is the first step to being a trusted brand that customers are happy to find in-store or online.
But consumers today demand even more. They want to experience an integrated experience from channel to channel, from one medium to another. This is where an Omnichannel strategy comes in.
So what’s the difference between Multichannel and Omnichannel selling?
Both offer brand visibility and sales via multiple channels online and offline.
Both ultimately depend on sharing a single brand message, the same products and updates, across networks.
But Omnichannel offerings go one step further: they offer a seamless experience between the channels. Perhaps in-store customers can check inventory or product details on the app while browsing in person. Or while you’re in the queue for a coffee you can top-up your ‘rewards’ in real time for a deal on your upcoming coffee purchase. It could also include in-store tablets to guide and complete purchases, or in-app festival passes that update you on the agenda of the event. The possibilities are endless.
The key to omnichannel selling is uniting experiences and managing them together in real time.
The best-case scenario for your omnichannel strategy is when it’s managed from a single, centralized location online. As the demand for exciting omnichannel experiences grows, eCommerce software giants continue to innovate with specialized tools. Full integrations with social media selling and across sales platforms are common, as well as marketing tools to reach customers wherever they are.
The software also provides a crucial benefit particularly for brick-and-mortar retailers. Selling online and offline are typically managed very differently, but with omnichannel eCommerce software, instead of manually monitoring stock for your store while separately taking orders online, the same inventory management is integrated into both, and joined by a single PoS.
To complete the buyer lifecycle, most software options also offer payment and shipping integrations. So, if you’re a first timer in online or delivery retail, you have everything you need to get started.
For all sellers, the opportunity to extend your customer reach and the capacity to complete multiple tasks all in one space is priceless.
One of the best features of omnichannel selling is the opportunity for personalization. As we encounter the depreciation of third-party cookies, customer experience and retention are more important than ever.
That’s why your business needs to have a strong presence and an easy route to buy, wherever your customers are. And the experience needs to cater to their particular needs. With an omnichannel plan, you can, for example, use AR to allow ‘try before you buy’ browsing, either in-store or online. You can optimize your social media to drive sales and loyalty while in-store. The aim is to find the right channel at the right time with the right experience.
What’s more, this helps marketers to get to know their customers, learning from their behaviors and being able to offer better products and experiences.
So, with a uniform customer experience across multiple channels that adapts to the different formats, the message is more likely to reach your customer in an effective way.
How does this affect my business?
If, like half of the retailer population, you have gone partially or fully digital, keeping up with online trends is the key to your success. Omnichannel selling is a major trend for the foreseeable future, as it is only getting more popular.
For most, a multi-channel approach is going to be the first solution to cracking this trend, as it offers many of the benefits of omnichannel selling, and there is a substantial amount of supporting software that currently exists to get started today.
However, if you aim to scale your business, omnichannel selling and marketing is the way forward. This means using each of your platforms and channels to their full capacity and finding creative ways to provide customer experiences that last. And don’t forget to explore methods of combining two or more channel experiences together!
Omnichannel selling is good for your business. It boosts sales by opening multiple channels, and it allows easy business management with the software that supports it. Multi-channel selling is your go-to, providing the stepping-stones for building omnichannel capabilities. In other words:
- Integrate multiple channels into just one eCommerce store using the right software
- Use these multiple channels to build brand loyalty with consistency and quality
- Personalize the buyer journey for each different platform
- Gather valuable data about behaviors on each channel
- Use this data to combine two or more experiences to make the shopping journey fun and memorable, leading to greater trust and retention
What are you waiting for? Online and offline businesses can already integrate the Plesk eCommerce Toolkit and start their omnichannel selling strategy easily, right now.
What tips and tricks do you use to improve your eCommerce multi and omni channel strategies? Let us know in the comments!