Omni Channel Commerce
Omni-Channel Retailing is a seamless approach to consumer experience that can be accessed through all possible shopping channels, including television, radio, mobile internet devices, bricks-and-mortar, computers, and direct mail etc. Retailers are now trying to meet the customer demands by deploying more dedicated supply chain. There is a vast population that now likes to browse and compare products to see what else is available in the market and where.
Similar to the social media revolution which relies on the two-way exchange of thoughts and interaction, omnichannel is the recognition of social business. The brands who can best interpret themselves in this kind of social business atmosphere and understand all the customers can be classified as real winners in eCommerce.
Fulfilling Customers’ Desire
The omnichannel customers use all channels simultaneously, and e-Retailers use an omnichannel approach that will track their customers across all channels. In the current brick-and-mortar store environment, the customers are generally digitally savvy who already are well-informed about any product features and prices. They expect the store employees to impart extra knowledge than what they have. Using omnichannel retailing all shopping channels can work from the same database of products, and promotions, etc.
Omnichannel retailers help customers to experience the brand. Now promotions will not be channel specific, rather consistent in all retail channels. The bricks-and-mortar stores will then become extension to the supply chain in which customers can purchase from the store, after doing product research from other channel. Marketing will be made more efficient with offers that are specific consumer based depending upon determined by data mining techniques, purchase patterns, loyalty programs, social network approach, and website visits.
Ways to Improve Omnichannel Retailing
- Refine the digital presence of your Brand.
- Implement search strategy to improve the number of search and drive more visits to your eCommerce web-store.
- Digitise your retail stores! (http://www.cdotsys.com/digital-technology-in-our-retail-stores/)
- Offer mobile experience to all your customers
Benefits of Omnichannel Approach
With Omnichannel retail, customers can gain more knowledgeable about the products. Retailers will now reformulate the supply chain strategies so as to match the shift in consumer demand. They will also work hard to offer superior customer experience regardless of what channel the customer opts. Merchandise will become customer-centric.
This makes real time data a lot more important. Since customers are now socially connected, they can easily move from one channel to another, and then return the same channel to finish the purchase process when they see that the process is bookmarked where they had originally left it.
Example of Omnichannel Approach
Marks & Spencer launched ‘at home’ iPad app in September 2012, which is the second app introduced for iPhone users. This ‘at home’ app focuses on the home items available in the M&S catalogue and offers visual, digital journey that mimics ‘in store’ experience.
This is in a downloadable format and offers enhanced touch interactive capabilities. Customer can enable browsing through the home wares in a set up found in the store; interactive rooms having company’s products are provided to have a realistic view of how product would look in one’s home. Pages can be bookmarked for quick return, in-app shopping basket is available for buying, and includes social features allowing customers to share product images via Twitter or Facebook.
Investment in Omnichannel Retailing
Omnichannel retailing requires heavy investment of time and money. Retailers will now have to optimize the communication between IT department, sales and marketing department, and store sales staff. The overall process needs to be as flat as possible focusing on the goals and strategies. Retailers also need to understand customers and the target market to make appropriate decisions on channel integration and usability. Since the bricks-and-mortar sales is currently influenced by the online search, and is a lot of times higher than the total eCommerce business, omnichannel retailers need to be more informative, engaged and offer channel transparency.
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