29 Aug Why you need an omnichannel solution for your retail business
There’s one fact that we need to address before anything else: the omnichannel has taken over in the year 2022. Three years after the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic, businesses are finding that having the power to communicate with clients using as many channels as possible is not just an option, but a requirement.
Most retail/service businesses were traditionally single-channel up until recently, which meant having a a physical representation of their stores and a website for online orders. This business model worked for the longest time, especially before the pandemic when everyone could still easily walk into stores and browse items.
With the pandemic came many changes in customer behavior and buying preferences, however. With the limitations imposed by physical distancing came a dependence on other mediums of commerce. The omnichannel was just about to blow up.
What is an Omnichannel?
What is an omnichannel? An omnichannel is an approach to unifying all customer service channels in one place. This allows your team to compile all the necessary conversations to make one cohesive story. The benefits of this also goes beyond simplifying customer interactions for your team, but also for helping build a better and clearer customer journey.
Benefits of an Omnichannel Solution
E-commerce in the year 2022 looks a lot different than it did 3 years ago. The trends we have now call for a different customer experience, one that’s based on a more social aspect — something more personable and personalized.
According to this Shopify article: “Personalization has always been important to online retail. Successful programs have proven to lift revenue by up to 20 percent, reduce cart abandonment, and increase customer satisfaction.”
If you’re a retail and service-related business, there are many reasons why you should be looking at investing in an omnichannel strategy. Let’s go over them below:
- Convenience — Consumer demand is leaning towards a more “frictionless” experience. According to this report by Emarketer.com, “The timeless truths of retail are that consumers will always want better prices, selection and convenience. With the internet having already driven major progress on the first two customer needs, attention is now turning to convenience.”
- More avenues for meeting customers — when you take advantage of an omnichannel solution, you’re not just opening yourself up to meeting more customers. You are also compiling all these avenues into one convenient place where you can connect all these inquiries so that they make the most sense.
- Personalized experience — one of the biggest e-commerce trends of the past few years is a focus on the customer journey. A personalized customer journey allows you to get to know your customers better, giving you valuable insight into their needs and those of their network.
- Optimization — there’s a famous saying in the industry that goes: “If you’re not taking care of your customer, your competition will.” An omnichannel solution allows you to optimize all leads and gives you a better chance of converting them into sales!
How to prepare your retail business for an Omnichannel approach
If you think you are ready to adopt an omnichannel solution for your business, there are a few steps that you should be looking into.
- Assess what your business goals are — it is vital that you first determine whether an omnichannel strategy is really what you need for your business. When you decide that it is, you can then proceed to the next step.
- Train your team appropriately — make sure that your team is familiar of all the different channels that are available to them. Preparing them to multitask and to use these mediums to the best of its ability makes sure that you fully maximize the investment of time and resources that you’ll end up going with.
- Choose the right omnichannel platform — there are a myriad of options available to every business right now. Some standout examples would be Shopify, Magento, and Zendesk. Our very own Nautilus Talk is an integration with Zendesk, one that lends our powerful calling feature to their powerful CRM platform. You can read more about that here.
- Determine the features you’ll be needing — every platform comes with its own set of tools and features. Some omnichannel solutions offer the standard CRM features, while some come with a calling feature built in to boot.
How to use an omnichannel platform as a retail business
A properly integrated omnichannel strategy allows your team to leverage different communication channels in the hopes of converting simple lead inquiries to actual sales. As a retail business, you’re likely to market your business to different social media sites with their own preferred messaging platforms. With e-commerce’s dependence on digital marketing, the likelihood of an inquiry stemming from these channels is rather high.
According to this report from Big Commerce, forecasters are saying that approximately 46% of prospective e-commerce and non-store sales will stem from a multichannel/omnichannel platform.
So how should you as a retail business use an omnichannel platform?
First off, use this platform as a means to better understand your clients. With most CRM software, all conversations are compiled to make a more streamlined customer journey. This lets you create a more efficient customer profile, and also allows you more insight into their behaviors and buying preferences.
Secondly, fully integrate all your marketing and social media strategies into your omnichanel solution. This lets you fully maximize all your lead generating strategies and allows for a more seamless, convenient buying experience for the customer.
Lastly, harmonize your physical and digital channels. The common issue between e-commerce and in-store shopping experiences is miscommunication. Say a customer sees a deal online and they decide to go to an actual brick and mortar store, the deal should be honored there too. Make sure that everyone is on the same page, and with the same goal in mind.
Omnichannel Retail is more than just an industry buzzword today. It has, in fact, become the industry standard in today’s e-commerce and online-driven marketplace. Customer demand continues to rise and their expectations rise even faster!
As a retail business, your primary goal should be to present a unified and consistent brand experience. Your brand is everything, and it should be one that puts your customers and their needs first. An omnichannel solution allows you to do that and more! It lets you have better conversations that doesn’t necessarily just end with a sale, but could lead to more marketing and lead-generating opportunities.