There used to be a time when businesses could survive on their brick-and-motor stores alone for driving sales. Today it is imperative for businesses to be present across multiple channels where the customers want them to be, including web stores, online marketplaces, physical stores, social media, trade shows, etc. Managing these channels independently not only increases the overhead (of time, resources and money) on the retailer but also imagine the impact it would have on customers; a customer will have a very different experience from one channel to another disconnecting them from your brand. Your customers must experience your brand and not a channel within your brand. This is where the concept of omni-channel comes to the rescue of the retailer.
Omni-channel as a concept proposes a seamless connection between each one of your customer touch points to ensure that your customers get the same experience consistently irrespective of the channel they choose.
Most retailers understand multi-channel as a concept where they manage multiple channels like a physical store, eCommerce store, online marketplaces, etc. independently because there is no information sharing that happens between them and businesses find it difficult to use the information they have to their benefit. For example, because of isolated systems they will never be able to identify if a customer is a repeat customer or a new customer if he/she were to make a purchase from a different channel.
Omni-channel as a concept proposes to bridge this gap by creating a link between each one of these systems to ensure that data is shared between them. With seamless information exchange retailers can also now afford to run and track a common marketing and branding campaign (an essential component of omni-channel experience) across channels.
Benefits of Omni-Channel Retailing
- Increase Sales – Increase sales by opening alternate channels for your consumers to shop on. The connected systems also ensure that you no longer have to lose a customer when a product is out of stock in one store but available in another.
- Streamlined and Automated Order Fulfillment – Scale your business by streamlining the order fulfillment by automatically syncing order information from eCommerce store to the ERP system for fulfillment.
- Improved Operational Efficiency – With reduced errors and streamlined processes retailers are bound to see improvements in their operational efficiency.
- Improved Customer Experience
- Faster Information Exchange – With connected systems your customers can now very easily track their orders, visit past transactions, and do much more.
- Alternate Delivery Options – Improve the customer shopping experience by providing them alternate delivery options like shop online pick-up in store, get an out of stock item delivered home from an alternate store, etc.
- Efficient Returns – Your customers can now purchase product online and return in store, making returns easy to handle, faster and efficient contributing to your customer’s shopping experience.
- Targeted Marketing and Sales Campaigns – You can now run targeted campaigns for your customers and focus on building your brand and brand experience.
- Manage Data only on One System – You can now manage information only on one system and have the information synced to all the other systems allowing you to add more channels without increasing the overhead.
- Stay Competitive – You can leverage this integrated ecosystem of yours to stay competitive and even compete with the bigger players like Amazon.
How can you become an Omni-Channel Retailer?
You need the following to become an omni-channel retailer:
- Right Infrastructure – you need the right infrastructure to ensure that there is seamless communication between each one of these systems to ensure that there is one centralized repository of data and to ensure that you present the same information to your customers irrespective of the channel they shop on.
- Omni-channel Mind Set – the right infrastructure can only provide you with the right tools that you need to provide the omni-channel experience. But if you do not have the right mind set you will continue to do business the same with but with the new infrastructure. For example if you build isolated strategies for each one of these channels then even after consuming the same data each one of these channels will provide a different experience to your customers. Hence the right mindset along with the right infrastructure will enable you to be a true omni channel retailer.
How can i95Dev Help?
i95Dev is a leading eCommerce and integration company in North America which can help you build the right infrastructure required to truly become an omni-channel retailer. Our