Omni Channel Retailing
Today, consumers are increasingly embracing digital
technologies and mobile devices in the buying process. The integration of
digital and off-line shopping has led to the increasing popularity of Omni
Channel Retailing. Retailers who understand and implement the omni channel
retailing concept are providing an elevated level of shopping experience
to their customers.
What is Omni Channel Retailing?
Omni Channel Retailing can be described as an integrated kind of buying
experience that will meld the benefits of the physical stores with information
rich experiences of online shopping. This approach has its main focus on
building strong bridges between offline and online shopping.
Omni Channel Retailing is quite similar to Multi-Channel Retailing. However, it
is more concentrated on a seamless approach to consumer experiences through the
available shopping channels such as computers, mobile Internet gadgets, radio,
television, catalog and direct mail among others. The retailers are now able to
meet the rising customer demands through the deployment of specialized supply
How Does Omni Channel Retailing Work?
Usually, the Omni Channel consumers would like to utilize all the channels at
the same time. Consequently, the retailers who are utilizing the omni channel
approach are able to keep track of all their customers across the omni channel.
While using omni channel retailing, all the shopping channels usually work from
the same database of prices, products and promotions. Rather than perceiving
different touch points as part of one brand, the omni channel retailers allow
the consumers to have an experience of the whole brand, and not just a channel
within the brand. It is worth noting that the promotions and merchandise is not
channel specific, but rather they are consistent across the all channels. As such, the brick and mortar stores end up becoming a supply
chain extension where the purchases can easily be made within the store, but
they must be available for research through other different communication channels.
It is worth noting that there are certain components that are required for Omni
Channel Retailing. This components should be integrated so as to yield the most
effective results. Mentioned below is information on some of the components of
Omni Channel Retailing and how these components should be treated so as to
achieve the desired results.
Take note that omni channel retailing, makes marketing increasingly efficient
with various offers that are relatively specific to the consumer being
determined by factors such as loyalty programs, website visits, social networks
affiliates, purchase patterns as well as other kinds of data mining techniques.
The Benefits of Omni Channel Retailing:
Omni channel retailing approach will create a very knowledgeable consumer. This
means that the store employees should be increasingly knowledgeable about the
merchandise and procedures.
Notably, there has been a lot of hype about omni channel retailing, which can be
attributed to several factors. Brands and retailers have been forced to
reformulate their supply chain approaches so as to match with the paradigm shift
in the consumer demand. Keep in mind that omni channel shopping needs providing
a superior and immersive customer experience irrespective of the channel.
Usually, the retailers carry customer-centric merchandise that is not specific
to any kind of channel. Research has proved that the omni channel shopper
usually spends an average of 15 to 30% above the multi channel shoppers and they
exhibit a stronger brand loyalty, which often influences others to patronize a
The Importance of Up-To-Date Information: As you move towards the omni channel
approach, real time data is vital. This is because as the socially connected
clients move from one channel to another, they should be allowed to return back
through a different kind of retail channel so as to complete the browsing or
buying process at the point where they had originally left off. A convenient and
consistent brand exposure that is from an omni channel retailer should create
more awareness from consumers.
It is worth mentioning that some investment on money and time is required while
preparing an omni channel retailing presence. There should be excellent
communication between the marketing department, IT department
as well as the
sales team so as to eliminate any confusion about the strategies and goals.
There must be a thorough and clear understanding of the client and the target
market. This is essential since the right decisions about the integration and
usability of the channel should be made. Since the brick and mortar sales that
are influenced by online search are higher than total e-commerce sales, the omni
channel retailers must be informed, personable and they should always be
connected and they should allow channel transparency.
As much as the concept of omni channel retailing is quite new for majority of
the retailers, it gets much more attention since consumer behavior is constantly
changing and retailers are able to gain a single kind of customer view that
integrates customer and shopping data with other factors such as customer
preferences and behavioral profiling. In order to see what possibilities omni
channel retailing offers, it is a good idea to perform relevant tests. However,
this will mainly depend on the retailers' individual content, product types,
customer behavior, profile and the market. Several strategies can be used to
create a more integrated kind of shopping experience. Notably, there are those
that have been tried, tested and proven while others are still fairly new.
Components of Omni Channel Retailing
1. Utilize the Social Media
Peer to peer communication has proved to be among the most effective methods
that you can use to sell something. The brands that utilize social communities
and the social media are moving from the traditional forms of advertising and
instead they are allowing their clients to assist in building the brand through
comments, recommendations and discussions. Social is a major part of omni retail
shopping as the experiments that have been done in stores have proved - for
example, the display of likes on tiny screens right next to the actual products.
2. Integrating the Customer Reviews
Similar to the social media, customer reviews are very powerful advertising
tools. The shoppers usually trust the experiences that their peers have had more
than the information that they get from the brand advertisements. Today,
companies are now taking advantage of the ever-growing mobile trend so as to
make reviews as well as product guides available in the stores. The customers
are able to access this information as they shop and they can utilize it to
assist in making purchase decisions. When companies are able to read reviews as
well as see comprehensive product information, they will be able to create a
comprehensive purchase experience that will assist in driving the sales up.
3. Utilize Digital Means in Order to Personalize Physical Information
Undoubtedly, the modern consumer enjoys a personalized shopping experience. They
love being given a warm greeting by a store associate and they appreciate having
somebody who remembers their purchasing preferences. Consumers do not fancy
going through long sales pitches as they look for items to purchase. There are
stores that are using apps to assist their employees to accomplish this kind of
things for their clients. There are also apps that deliver information about the
in-stores sales as well as events directly to the clients as they shop. This is
one app that is being tested in the retail industry.
4. The Technological Advances In Store
With the advancements in technology, businesses will now offer more personalized
and detailed shopping recommendations. The in-store stations that allow clients
to interact with products that are available for sale are able to gather vital
information related to things like cloth sizes and purchase history, which
allows the retailers to deliver a more comprehensive product guide to every
5. Merging Local and Social
Social Media platforms such as Facebook and Foursquare allow businesses to
utilize their channels to market their products and services to the local
customers. Such services link the mobile users to friends through check ins that
show which people have stopped where as well as any other comments and
experiences. The business that want to use the social media platforms can offer
sales alerts, coupons, messages and events, delivering information to shoppers
about their day-to-day routines.
The evolution towards a more integrated digital, physical, mobile as well as
social shopping experience is just the beginning. Today, retailers are now
moving towards the cross channel kinds of experiences. It is actually
interesting to analyze what has been tested and what has worked. Take note that
utilizing closed loop marketing along a single customer view all across shopping
and marketing channels will give you the data and insights that you require to
perform further experiments.
The omni channel strategy has opened doors to different opportunities such as
coupons that can either be redeemed in-store or online. The integration of
online tools like tablets and smartphones to provide extra product information,
ratings and reviews is a major plus. This allows the retailers to engage
directly with their clients and offer extra in-store tools with the aim of
encouraging them to make more purchases.
Further to this, the major challenge of inconsistency across the channels
provides the retailers with the chance of collaboration between the
merchandizing and marketing departments. The consumer data should be utilized
for in-store visits and also to provide similar personalized experiences as
compared to the other kinds of online channels. The collaboration on this front
will allow better assortment of inventory as well as forecasting. As such,
taking the omni channel approach is a critical strategy for retailers. Retailers
should understand the omni channel concept as well as the return on investment
that it delivers.
Jo-Ann Fabric and H.H. Gregg and Craft Stores are two examples of businesses
that allow their consumers to check their inventory by the store, purchase
online as well as pick their product from their desired store.
Another example is Restoration Hardware. This company converts its stores into
brand showrooms where the consumers can test products as they shop through the
vast online catalogs. Also note that WalmartLabs is now mining social, mobile as
well as local data so as to predict their shoppers' next purchases, which will
aid them to have relevant stocks.
How to Start
At a glance, it may appear like the omni retailing approach is a simple concept.
Well, being able to unify the Focus of the Fortune 500 retailer along the
mentioned complex lines is not an easy undertaking. You must begin by
prioritizing among the hundreds of possibilities. Secondly, you should think
about the customer experience across the channels as well as the devices after
which you should build a communication web aimed at bringing together, from the
conference room to the showroom. Also within the organization, you should break
down the functional silos and, then create incentives for various departments to
be able to share data and sell products from all the channels.
The majority of the retailers may probably have started making adjustments with
improved client-service policies, new kinds of mobile features as well as
updated product delivery options, but they are still missing the mark. However,
there are still several international and innovative chains that are closing on
this deal. Macy's, Best Busy, Nordstrom's, Staples, Urban Outfitter and
Restoration hardware have started making the transitions that are needed in
developing a consistent experience for their pool of shoppers.
With the strong belief that the omni channel retailing forms an integral part of
the retailing future, these chains are uniting e-commerce teams as well as
retailing and integrating the technology systems with the aim of seeking a
unified goal. These companies are adding quick pickup counters for the online
purchasers, staff training to handle the instant checkout through tablets and
smart phones and, then gathering the data so as to personalize the shopping
So, what does this mean for the retailers? They simply need to move from the
traditional way of doing things. They need to come up with strategies that will
assist their customers to shop with ease.
Consumers will soon stop dealing with retailers who cannot meet them where they
are. This also applies to the retailer and manufacturer relationships.
Therefore, it is time that we embrace omni channel retailing in a
bid to match the expectations of customers.