Omnichannel strategy: why you should make your business adopt the practice
What it is, benefits and how to put it into practice
In this post, you will learn the concept of omnichannel and understand why companies are increasingly adopting this strategy that improves the customer experience.
To talk about omnichannel, let’s first understand the meaning.
What is omnichannel?
The Latin “omni” prefix means “all”. Therefore, the omnichannel must include all channels. Being omnichannel means all points of communication between your company and your customer must happen uniformly. It is the perfect integration between the brand and the consumer.
In this strategy the focus is on your customer, that is, based on his needs you create a unique experience with your brand, unifying sales in a business model that contemplates the costumer in all available channels.
This strategy can be the great differential that your business needs to stand out from the competition.
Nowadays, the purchasing process is based much more on persuasion and relationship.
The consumer does not have much time, but has great connectivity and greater mobility. And, of course, the moment of purchase can happen at any time. You must remember that the purchase doesn’t just happen in the physical store or on his computer at home. He can shop on the way to the airport, for example. And at any time of the day. Consumer expectations are higher and more sophisticated than ever before.
Today, a customer already expects to be able to buy online and then return a product in a store, or to buy online and have a product shipped to a store. These changes have an impact on operations. The client’s life is made easier through having their high expectations met. It’s the company/ supplier’s logistics that have to be seamless in order to meet those expectations.
The purchase can no longer be divided between online and offline. Your sales communication has to be unified. The customer does not separate what he saw on the website from what he saw in your physical store. He wants to have a consistent experience with your brand.
The channels must complement each other. Often the consumer can go to the physical store and search from there with a cell phone in hand. Keep in mind that omnichannel is an integration between your company’s communication channels.
You should know how to put yourself in that consumer’s shoes and think: would you like to receive that message? Care about becoming relevant.
This unified experience goes beyond prices and includes subtler issues. For example, returns should be accepted in any channel, regardless of where the product was bought.
Let’s imagine that a wife forgot her husband’s birthday and just remembered that she has to buy a gift for tomorrow. But if she buys online, however fast, delivery will take a few days. So she wants to buy the product online and pick it up at the physical store. These two modes must coexist and not compete with each other.
Or, for instance, a potential shopper may search for items online, then visit a store for sizing and touching the product, then purchase the items and request them to be delivered to their home.
If your product is clothing, for example, the costumer may want to feel the texture of that fabric to buy only after being sure how the product actually looks. Operating this system requires careful integration. You can find more details in the book “Operations in a Omnichannel World” by Santiago Gallino and Antonio Moreno.
How do I make my brand omnichannel in practice?
You have already understood the reason for adapting your business to this strategy: to satisfy your customer and make him trust your purchase model. When he needs to buy again, he will certainly remember the positive experience with your brand.
- Know the target audience of this business: understand their buying habits and put yourself in their shoes;
- Integrate online and offline channels;
- Test and evaluate the integration quality of your channels.
This way you will understand the demand of this type of customer and offer something that actually corresponds to their needs.
However, your omnichannel transformation should not change what is already successful. For example, you should not lose focus on fundamental areas that are essential: employee management, product assortment, forecasting and inventory management.
Multichannel marketing covers the various channels that can be used in the customer journey: online markets and portals, physical stores and single brand stores, mobile applications, SMS, direct mail and social media.
In managing business activities, however, each channel is independent and is treated separately from the others, each with its own objective and strategy, without a systematic exchange of information or an effective coordination of resources.
However, they are not connected. Salespeople who work in the physical store do not know about the purchases that were made by the application on the website and vice versa.
Customers can be very frustrated if they go to a store looking for guidance and notice this lack of integration between the seller and the online store. They may even feel unsure about that sale and go to another store where they feel more certain.
In addition, this lack of integration does not allow optimizing the efforts and budgets dedicated to retail management, because each channel works as a different company. Keep in mind: a good experience will remain in the customer’s mind for the next purchase, but so will a bad one.
Omnichannel vs multichannel
We already learned that in the omnichannel strategy the focus is on the customer, and in the multichannel strategy, the focus is on your product. Generally, the channels are independent of the others, with no integration. Each channel has an independent strategy.
Multichannel is flexible but it expects brands to function within the limits of the channel. That’s why we argue that it is so important to know your client. Because then, it will be clear which channels are better for your target. Then you can optimize those channels to maximize sales.
If you want to unify your sales channels, you must understand:
- Who is your audience;
- Where and how they buy;
- What are the consumer’s priorities and values.
Based on the answers to these questions, you will create a relationship with the customers. This will bring reliability to your company, in addition to maximizing your potential sales. Omnichannel your business and enjoy good sales!