The Drive for Omnichannel Retail

Why is the push for omnichannel retail more important than ever? It delivers benefits to both consumer and brand.

In today’s digital and omnichannel world, retailers and their e-commerce partners have been forced to change their traditional beliefs regarding retail channels. The ways in which buyers browse and buy have changed the ways retailers need to engage, market, and sell – forever. Top retailers have embraced the imperative to deliver an omnichannel customer experience and that is a key aspect of their success.

What’s the current definition of omnichannel? According to Square, it defined as, “Meeting people on the channels where they are shopping and buying, whether it’s in a physical store or an online store or on social media, and connecting the dots between those channels. The purpose is to keep customers moving around within the brand ecosystem, with each channel working in harmony to nurture more sales and engagement.”
As the evolution of omnichannel continues, what do e-commmerce and marketing teams need to think about as they adapt to this omnichannel world?

Here are two reasons why omnichannel is a must :

Driving Demand – Multiple Platforms Matters

According to a recent Retail TouchPoints (RTP) Omnichannel Path to Profit survey, using both physical and digital touchpoints produces a highly engaged customer – for both brands and their products. Company websites are still top channel (83%) but brick and mortar stores rank high as well at (61%) for retailers.

Traditional pure play e-commerce retailers like Amazon are now setting up brick and mortar stores via Amazon Go. More stores are using physical stores as distribution arms for online stores. Other retailers are building better digital engagement strategies to integrate online, off-line, and voice technologies.

Omnichannel benefitsOmnichannel benefitsOmnichannel benefits

According to the RTP survey data,  retailers have begun to find in their own basic business functions improving as a result of omnichannel strategies. Benefits include increased customer engagement, improved loyalty, increased basket size, improved customer service and supply chain efficiency.

Omnichannel not only benefits the customer, but the business itself in addition to a more highly engaged consumer.

Better Data – Better CX

Among the countless benefits and findings of creating an omnichannel experience, perhaps the greatest value has come from businesses gaining a true understanding of their customers. By adapting to the buyer and meeting their needs, businesses have not only gained new clients, but now have a better understanding of current ones.

Successful companies like Amazon, Target, or Best Buy have gained a grip on their market through the power of customer data, buying intent, transactional analytics, and point of sale data. All this helps to help consumers find the right product, at the right time for an exceptional customer experience.

Like these US-based mavericks, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has also embraced the omnichannel approach via the acquisition of Hema Supermarkets. This move to brick and mortar retail as opposed to only online, has provided the company insights to buyers behaviors.

The new omnichannel-powered supermarket, according to an article in Forbes is an “experience center plus consumption center plus logistics center” rolled into one. This offers a seamless experience offline or online.

The power of the data? With this consumer information in hand, the company has already gained an even greater foothold in the Chinese market. Store sales per unit have reached 3X to 5X those of other supermarkets. Alibaba serves as an example of how omnichannel strategies drive results.

Want to read more about how omnichannel strategies can drive retail growth? Download the exclusive How Omnichannel Strategies Drive Retail Growth report here

Written by

Erika Goldwater, CIPP

Erika Goldwater is the director of global communications for inRiver. An industry veteran, Erika lives and breathes B2B marketing, content, public relations, and data privacy. She's a Boston marketer who hails from Baltimore.