The omnichannel retail experience is fast becoming the new normal, as consumers continue to demand a seamless shopping experience regardless of where they shop or what device they use. The rise of ecommerce has forced physical stores and online stores to up their game when it comes to providing their customers with a memorable and enjoyable shopping experience.
This transformation has created several challenges for brands, especially for those who have built a strong presence in one channel and are now challenged to support multiple channels. But it also creates exciting opportunities for forward-thinking retailers who are willing and able to take advantage of emerging trends and technologies to provide their customers with a seamless omnichannel experience.
An omnichannel retail experience is one that allows customers to seamlessly transition from one channel to another, whether it be from a brick and mortar store to an online store, or from online and mobile to in-store.
While retailers have long been challenged to provide a consistent experience for shoppers who begin their journey at their physical store location, in recent years they’ve also been tasked with supporting customers who shop via digital channels, including websites, mobile devices, and social media platforms.
As such, the omnichannel experience is designed to be consistent and across all channels — whether that be a mobile app, a website, a social media platform or an in-store kiosk.
For many retailers, their online storefront is the main source of revenue, which means it has to be successful. While many retailers have begun to expand their omnichannel presence, few have actually taken the time to improve the foundation of their online operations. This can be costly as retailers are now investing in systems and technologies to support multiple channels, but have yet to address their core online infrastructure.
A successful online presence isn’t just about having a website; it’s about having the right website that is built on a robust, scalable and future-proof architecture. This can be challenging, especially since many retailers chose to build their website in-house, which might not be up to the task of supporting multiple channels and millions of customers. This is why many retailers who want to support an omnichannel commerce presence fail, because they fail to take into account the foundation of their online operations.
This can be easily avoided by working with a dedicated ecommerce partner who can help you design, build and deploy a robust ecommerce architecture that is scalable, reliable and secure.
Retailers who have not yet invested in a 360 degree view of their customers are at a significant disadvantage compared to retailers who have. In this digital era, retailers who have implemented omnichannel strategies have been able to leverage their data, creating a 360 degree view of their customers, including their behaviour and preferences across all channels.
While it may seem like a simple task, collecting and analyzing data across all channels can be challenging and costly, especially for retailers who have yet to transform their business and implement an omnichannel strategy.
However, with a robust omnichannel platform in place, retailers can easily collect and analyze data across all channels, which can then be used to provide customers with a more personalized and relevant experience.
A critical component of an omnichannel strategy is having a robust omnichannel customer platform that can be used to connect all of your different channels, from your website to your mobile app, to your in-store kiosk. With a robust platform in place, retailers can easily connect and integrate their online storefront with their in-store systems, including the POS, inventory and pricing.
Similarly, they can connect their online and mobile channels with their in-store systems, which can be used to provide customers with a more personalized and seamless customer experience. In addition to connecting and integrating your different channels, it’s also important to make sure you’ve implemented the latest technologies and standards that allow you to easily add and connect new channels as they emerge. This way, you’re not trapped by your decision to use a specific platform but are instead free to use the best technology available.
The first step toward building an omnichannel experience is to understand that it’s a journey, not a destination. It is important to remember that while retailers have long been challenged to provide a consistent experience across all channels, they have only recently been tasked with supporting customers who shop using online and offline channels.
As such, retailers who are just getting started with their omnichannel transformation often struggle with the transition from supporting one channel to multiple channels and often have a difficult time managing all the channels at once.
However, with the right strategy, technology, and customer data in place, it is possible to successfully transition from one channel to multiple channels and even expand to become an omnichannel retailer.
A big part of omnichannel is understanding the customer journey. What channels do they use to shop? What channels are they expecting to use? How does the customer find your store (online or offline)? How do you stay connected with your customers?
Figuring out your customer journeys is the best step forward with omnichannel. After you have that information, only then can you start putting channels together.
Retailers have long been challenged to provide a consistent and seamless experience for customers who shop in-store and online. While it’s important to ensure both experiences are consistent, it’s also important to understand that each channel has its own unique challenges and that each experience has the potential to be very different.
Online retailers often face inventory challenges due to limited space, while in-store retailers have to deal with limited shelf space, inventory and staffing issues. Online retailers can collect and analyze data to a much greater extent, while in-store retailers have to rely on visual merchandising and product tagging to understand their customers and their experience.
While it’s important to ensure both channels are consistent, being able to manage each channel separately has long been a challenge. All of these channels lead to a better customer experience and they can give you back time in your business.
An omnichannel experience is critical for retailers who are serious about staying in business in the long term. Consumers are now more likely than ever to shop across multiple channels and appreciate an experience that is consistent, regardless of where they begin their journey.
Having an omnichannel strategy is the best way for retailers to stay competitive, and provide their customers with the consistent and seamless experience they have come to expect. Breadstack offers an omnichannel experience that is easily manageable and will create an impact on your business. Contact us today!