Retail has undergone a substantial makeover in the last decade as more Americans shop online. Staying competitive in the e-commerce era is a challenge. However, it’s one many retailers are adapting to by focusing on an omnichannel approach.
Omni channel retail, or cross-channel retail, aims to create a unified, multi channel experience for shoppers by expanding a brand’s presence beyond a brick-and-mortar store and traditional marketing tactics. It includes selling and other touch points through e-commerce sites, social media, mobile devices, SMS messages and email. The combination of these allows business owners to create a recognizable digital footprint and a seamless experience for your customers.
Ninety percent of retailers have an omnichannel strategy in place — but they’re not necessarily realizing its full potential. These tips can help you kick your omnichannel efforts into high gear.
Go Where Your Customers Are
Before you can get serious about cross-channel selling, you first have to understand where your customers are spending their time. That includes the websites, search engines, mobile applications and social media channels they frequent.
One way to find out where your customers are online is by using Google Analytics to break down from where the traffic to your website is coming. You can also ask your in-store shoppers to fill out a quick survey online detailing their digital habits, as well as sending out the same survey to your email list subscribers.
Once you know where your customers are most often, you can focus your omnichannel strategy on those channels that have the most potential to generate new sales. For example, you may not want to waste time on a Twitter marketing push if most of your customers hang out on Facebook.
Check Your Tech
Having the right technology in place can make it easier to promote an omnichannel strategy. If your store doesn’t use a customer relationship management (CRM) system, that might be a wise investment for 2019.
A CRM allows you to collect customer data, but perhaps more importantly, it can help you transition from one sales channel to another smoothly, creating a seamless shopping experience. For example, you could use a CRM to analyze customer behavior to create individualized, automated marketing campaigns based on customer preferences, regardless of where they prefer to shop.
Other omnichannel tech solutions you may want to consider include point of sale systems that integrate automatically with e-commerce sites, cloud-based inventory management tools, and monitoring tools that can help you pinpoint what’s working with your online storefront or what’s not.
Not Sure How to Get Started?
As with pretty much everything in life, a simple way to get started is to learn by watching others. Hubspot provides some great examples of brands with an excellent omni channel customer experience. Some of these examples include brilliant strategies from Disney, Virgin Atlantic, Bank of America, Starbucks and Chipotle.
Emarsys also provides some great examples through Sephora, Crate and Barrel and Walgreens. While these large brands may have a bigger budget and more resources than you, it doesn’t mean that you can’t use them a prime source for inspiration.
You can also check out research reports published by companies that focus on existing and future trends. For example, Big Commerce has published the The Global Omni-Channel Consumer Shopping Research Report which provides insights into:
- How Americans shop across an omni-channel environment, including how much they spend and what they buy.
- How generations shop as compared to each other, including the multiple channels they each you, which payment options/technologies they prefer.
- Insights on how to increase conversion rates on all of the channels that make up your omnichannel experience.
- The things that motivate your audience to purchase.
All of this information can help guide you in enhancing your onmichannel strategy and ultimately increase your customer engagement and improve the user experience for your clients.
Make It Simple
Omnichannel shouldn’t be overly complicated. Ideally, you want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to shop either in-store or online. You also want to ensure that slong with athat ease, you are still giving them a personalized experience. And make it so they keep coming back. These relatively small updates to your existing sales strategy could make a difference in your retail success.