Omnichannel: What is Omnichannel Retail & How Does Omnichannel E-commerce Work?

Omnichannel is one of the most popular terms used in e-commerce and online retailing today. But what does omnichannel mean? What is the true omnichannel meaning that brings e-commerce platforms benefits and revenue? Instead of just presenting your customers with multiple ways to purchase products, omnichannel entails a fully integrated, systematic approach both online and offline, ultimately unifies your brand from A to Z, including fulfillment, marketing, merchandising, marketplaces, and so much more. If you, too, are looking for ways to expand your online business and are curious about the magical world of omnichannel marketing, here is everything you need to know.

What Does Omnichannel Mean?

It would be a bit difficult to come up with a single omnichannel definition. However, it is possible to answer  "What is omnichannel?" by naming a few key points. These few points include the ability to sell offline and online, provide a digital and physical presence, and offer various fulfillment options that vary from in-store pickup and home delivery. Omnichannel allows brands to handle their exchange and refunds both digitally and physically, manage a hands-on customer experience across multiple touchpoints, and embrace the customer's mobile journey from providing access to deals to key marketing focal points.

What is Omnichannel Retailing?

Also referred to as omnichannel or omni-channel at times, omnichannel retail is based on a single, non-changing fact that consumers have been engaging in various transaction activities for thousands of years. Over the past few years, the acceleration in customer behavior has made omnichannel retailing more important than ever, with more and more brands offering streamlines digital experiences, touchless checkout points, and curbside pickup to diversify their sales channels. It is safe to say that today, the customer journey is anything but linear and ordinary. That is why brands need to keep up with the upcoming marketing trends and get on board with the rising phenomenon of omnichannel retailing.

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Why Choose an Omnichannel Strategy?

There are various reasons brands choose to proceed with an omnichannel e-commerce strategy. The first one is the ability to meet customers wherever they are. Ecommerce and the social media channels that come with it have leveraged a significant audience to set brand-new commerce rules and surge marketplace traffic. Customers can now able to discover new and unknown brands via Google Shopping, marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, or social media ads that run on Facebook or Instagram. Product reviews, word-of-mouth marketing, and in-store discovery are also various ways people can meet and interact with certain products. Showing up exactly where the customer is, makes the shopping journey more convenient for both the client and the brand, a unique feature that omnichannel retailing offers.

Another reason to go for an omnichannel strategy is to be able to stand out in the crowd. The e-commerce world is a crowded place as it is, with an uncountable number of brands and companies all wanting to have a big chunk of the cake. That being said, with more retailers vying for online user attention, it is important to stand out with a better shopping experience, a resonant brand, and top-nautch customer service. Product assortment, advertising channels, messaging, and sales channels all contribute to any ways you may need to change to fit your omnichannel marketing needs. If done consistently and correctly, omnichannel marketing will offer a much better chance of enduring unexpected outcomes.

Drastic and sudden changes in customer behavior may occur any time, anywhere, making it more difficult for retailers to adjust their sales and marketing plans to keep up with the new reality.Understanding the set of data you have and identifying the key points you need to focus your energy on will empower your brand and provide a comprehensive and integrated omnichannel system that meets customers' demands. An excellent omnichannel fulfillment strategy will help your firm centralize data and use it wisely throughout all of your resources and sales channels.

Omnichannel vs. Multichannel: What's the Difference?

Although omnichannel vs. multichannel  marketing are very similar terms, a few distinctive key points set these two distribution strategies apart.While multichannel marketing presents the brand on multiple channels, such as websites, mobile sites, apps, and brick-and-mortars, omnichannel distribution is a wholesome way to complete the multichannel strategy to help optimize it for today's online user. Instead of having a fragmented experience on each channel, customers wait to have a seamless and perfect experience with the brand.At this point, the omnichannel strategy comes in, foreseeing that the customers may start searching about the brand on one channel, then move on to the next, as a progression of an organic and natural online journey.

Various Omnichannel Examples

In order to understand the dynamics of omnichannel solutions, the best way is to set a few omnichannel examples that explain how the process works. Let's say that the customer would like to buy a pair of pants online and uses your mobile app to browse through your online shop. They then may come to the conclusion that they want to receive additional information - be it about your brand or the pair of pants they are interested in - and hop on to your website. With a multichannel example, the pants' price may be different from in the app. The same situation may occur when the customer decides to visit your physical shop as well.

Omnichannel marketing eliminates these inconsistencies, offering the customer the same price and shopping options across all sales channels, whether they want to pick the pants up in the shop or have them delivered to their address, and ask questions about the return policy on the product through the chat window on the app. As you can see, compared to multichannel, omnichannel provides a flawless and smooth shopping journey throughout the brand's entire sales functions and services.

Advantages of Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichannel marketing offers various benefits to both brands and customers, where even the highest expectation of the customer is met with an impeccable and mistake-free approach.

Omnichannel offers a better customer experience.

The number one thing your customers expect from you is a unified experience. While 9 Omnichannelstomers explain that they want seamless service between communication methods, the number of increased touchpoints raises the need in an errorless approach. Breaking down the walls between sales channels, the customer is empowered to contact the brand on a higher level, offering a natural and meant-to-be feeling.

It increases traffic and sales.

Needless to say that deciding on an omnichannel logistics strategy is embarking upon hard work; however, it has been proven multiple times that the time, money, and energy spent on building an omnichannel marketing plan is more than worth it. Multiple studies show that omnichannel customers tend to spend more money than single-channel customers and spend more in the store with every additional channel they have used.

Choosing an omnichannel strategy boosts customer loyalty in the long run.

Spending more bucks on your brand is not the only involuntary benefit your omnichannel customers provide. A well-thought-out omnichannel experience can enhance your customers' loyalty towards your brand, creating an engaging brand story where discount coupons, traditional marketing tricks, and mid-sale campaigns are no longer necessary. An omnichannel supply chain helps you focus on customer loyalty, protecting your brand and image.

You can collect better data & use it wisely.

Omnichannel strategies help retailers gain insight into various aspects of their business, including creating offers and content that will help their customers engage more in shopping. Brands that can track their customers over different sales channels can use it to serve them a much more personalized experience.

Are You Ready to Make a Transition to Omnichannel?

In the ever-changing e-commerce world, keeping up with the latest trends and marketing strategies is essential for survival. Though not easy, switching to an omnichannel marketing strategy from single or multichannel commerce has priceless benefits that maintain their value in the long run. Omnichannel commerce connects the dots between multiple sales channels, providing a flawless experience for the customers across all platforms. If you think that your business is ready to make a transition to omnichannel, you can check out our e-commerce warehouse management systems that can help you with the shift.

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Erhan Musaoglu

Written by Erhan Musaoglu

Erhan Musaoglu is the CEO and Co-Founder of Logiwa.