Nowadays, we can buy online almost everything - from clothing, cosmetics and shoes, through furniture, electronic equipment, to a car, and even organic food products. The Internet has turned into one big shopping mall. We live faster and have less time for pleasure, so we try to facilitate everyday activities as much as possible. We can do our shopping without leaving home in a few minutes, even at 2:00AM.

The sellers themselves also want to facilitate their work. Synchronizing all sales channels together is more often noticed in the global e-commerce industry. The benefits are visible to the naked eye, and those who have already decided on the omnichannel strategy can count on profits.

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Definition of Omnichannel

Omnichannel is a “multichannel” approach to sales that provides seamless shopping experience, whether the customers are shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a brick-and-mortar store.

Although the trend continues to shape and it is difficult to define, it can be said that the omnichannel quintessence is the interaction between the seller and the buyer using countless integrated channels. Those channels can be stationary points, online stores, mobile devices, call centers, emails, etc. The essence of omnichannel is to focus on buyer - seller interaction in order to make it easier for the customer to reach the product.

A related omnichannel strain is omnichannel marketing. Potential customers can be reached by many channels (email campaigns, social media, TV ads) but a real challenge for a company is to figure out which ones their customers use. Another thing is delivering a consistent experience across those channels. The right approach to the client, appropriate marketing content and finally making profit are things without which company has no chance of success.

The consumer has more shopping options, but the company also has more options to reach the client and influence his decisions.

Differences between Omnichannel and Multichannel

The difference between the omnichannel and multichannel approach seems to blur a bit due to the use of numerous sales and marketing channels in both concepts. In fact, they differ significantly.

According to the multichannel, each of the media the company appears in can be treated separately. Often they will receive separate visions that will not be closely connected with each other. Omnichannel focuses on interlacing them. Each of the platforms used will be linked to the previous ones, which will lead to a high consistency in reception. The synergy of actions emphasize the value of the company and is ​​present in advertisements, products, customer service policy and any other areas. Acting in accordance with omnichannel, you can not encourage certain types of activities in one medium, and in the other use completely opposite ones - it will create conflicting message and company will risk getting wrong reception.

In customer relationship matter multichannel is focused on reaching the widest possible range of clients with all possible channels, while omnichannel puts an emphasis on keeping new customers. Building a good relationship with the client is a guarantee that he will stay with chosen company for a longer period of time. This increases the chance of identifying with the brand and the desire to share news with friends.

Activities focused on the convenience of shopping emphasize the understanding of the client's needs and give them a clear message that company knows what their expectations are. Thanks to this, the customer has the feeling that he uses solutions created specially for him.

Customer's needs are most important in Omnichannel

Maintaining the integrity of channels

The omnichannel strategy simplifies operation of the store and prevents the occurrence of problems such as incompatibile availability of products and different prices given in various sales channels. Different online and offline offers indicate the incompetence of the seller, which results in resigning from the purchase by a potential customer. Before buying a product, the customer can check its price both in the offline store as well as on the website. In the case when it turns out that the purchase of the product via the Internet is more expensive than in the traditional store, it’s obvious that he will choose the cheaper option. If prices are identical in both cases, online purchase becomes more frequent. Consumer expects flexibility from the seller and thanks to Omnichannel it is possible to integrate the channels so that he can buy in any way without choosing a lower price.

Minimizing customer effort

Another method of using the omnichannel strategy is to consider what may be a barrier for the client. When developing the functions of the store everything seems clear but in fact your customers may not find the information they need as quickly and simply as assumed. Properly built menus, intuitive categories and navigation buttons will help them browse your store.

If you have invested in a sponsored entry (in the cooperation of an online store with a blogger) and included your product in it - place a direct link to the place where potential customers can make a purchase.

In order to maximize the convenience of shopping you can ensure the highest quality of service in every place from which the customer gets to you. There can not be situations where e-mail contact will take much more time than getting a Facebook response.

Convenient purchase finalization

Potential customer gets acquainted with the assortment in various places. Often, before he decides to buy something, he looks at the selected product several times. Making possible to buy, for example from the Facebook level, is not only a convenience, but also a chance to use the full potential of the remarketing.

When a customer browse offer on the smartphone - it is a good idea to shorten the shopping process and let him pay in every possible form. The customer's desire to purchase may pass while redirecting from a social media site to a webstore. On the booming e-commerce market, it is necessary to take advantage of opportunities. Discouraging the customer to purchase by too complicated access to information is still one of the biggest problems for many e-stores.

This is an area where a company can gain an advantage over the competition, which has not yet focused on the omnichannel strategy.

Main benefits of Omnichannel:

  • Integrated Business - omnichannel communication allows integrating customer service, sales, merchandising, inventory and enterprise resource planning. Every aspect of your business can work well-fitted together with other parts providing the highest quality services and products to your clients.
  • Integrated Communication and Analytics - Variety of communication channels gather a lot of information to process. Analytics provides the ability to understand and review communication with customers to define their needs. Omnichannel retail management provides cross-channel capability through you can interact with customer data, no matter where it was generated from and you can cross-reference it with other data generated from similar customers across platforms.
  • Obtaining Data from Every Transaction - Managing every channel for each customer means that individual transactions are gathered together minimizing the risk of losing it in the mix. From tracking when customers are likely to purchase certain products to tracking demographics of customers, each transaction contains potential to effectively manage your business.
  • Delivering Complete Buying Experience - There is much higher chance that customers will complete their purchases if they can get comprehensive information they need directly from the brand they’re buying from. If client has to leave your site to do research, there’s a possibility that he will not come back. Retail buyers often check products online before making a purchase. Providing online research materials can increase sales indicator - customers can get the relevant information they seek before they step ing into brick-and-mortar store. Customers contact with your brand since the beginning of their buying process greatly increases probability of completing the purchase.

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