The shopping experience that once used to begin and end in a store is now a journey across various channels—mobile, online, in-store and over the phone. Smartphones can alone keep shoppers engrossed with a brand anytime and anywhere, which is also about to soon command the majority of online browsing activities. They are further helpful for consumers to bridge the gap between online and offline world. The major challenge businesses today face is how to create and deliver a seamless, consistent, customer engaging and buying experience across all the channels.
Originally from retail, but applicable to every industry, the term “omnichannel” has been quite a buzzword for several years in past. It represents business strategy to connect multiple, siloed sales channels into one to meet every shopper’s demand. Here consumers browse and buy products when they wish and how they wish. They also wish for flexible fulfillment options, whether they opt for in-store pick-up, cash-and-carry or product shipping to a destination. Although, customers have widely gone digital, but they still enjoy the tangible and social interaction when they choose to engage with a brand in-store.
The Stats Tell the Story
Why has providing an omnichannel brand engagement become the norm? A leading consulting firm found that 84 percent of purchases were researched online, somewhere between the shopping journey. Another statistics shows that 90 percent of customers do purchases at a store, and the same customer percentage make use of their smartphones a part of their in-store shopping. According to a study, the omnichannel shoppers have a one-forth percent higher lifetime than those who shop just at one channel. This showcases that customers don’t see channels, but brands for which they look for similar relevant and consistent experience.
How to Deliver an Omnichannel Experience?
The foundation of offering an omnichannel experience begins with the core technology of a company. Omnichannel experiences can be provided by a central place for everything including customer, order management, products, and inventory data. Following this, the back-end systems of all platforms then stack up to every sales channel to ensure only accurate information reaches to customers for improving on customer experiences in real-time.
What’s the upside? Inventory level visibility through all channels means you will not lose out on any sales opportunity due to inadequate stocks. Centralized order management helps in fulfilling promises of order fulfillment, buying and returns anywhere. Alternative is to deploy different point solutions for every channel, each in their own installation, unconnected and not sharing data between channels. Customers that are exposed to this approach will feel not satisfied and frustrated during their move from one channel to another in an individual shopping journey.
Customers are indeed in the driver’s seat with more ways to engage with a brand. Providing omnichannel experience help you deliver rightly as per their expectations of consistent journey anytime and anywhere.