Omnichannel Approach – The Future of eCommerce
Just when you thought having a strong online presence and digital marketing capabilities was enough to gain a competitive edge, cult-favorite brands began adopting the omnichannel approach.
With unimaginable technological capabilities at hand, intuitive brands and game-changers began speculating, ‘How can we use these advancements to amp up customer experience?’
Omnichannel eCommerce is the result of this speculation and is rapidly being adopted by brands across the world.
What is Omnichannel eCommerce?
Omnichannel eCommerce is a technologically driven marketing approach that aims at creating a cohesive and wholesome customer experience. It integrates various platforms to accumulate and collate customer data, which enables brands to offer uninterrupted, quick, efficient service.
An omnichannel eCommerce strategy may use a multichannel approach, however, there are inherent differences between the two – Multichannel eCommerce and Omnichannel eCommerce.
To understand the concept of Omnichannel eCommerce, you must first know the difference between the three types of approaches.
Single-Channel, Multichannel, and Omnichannel eCommerce
- Single-Channel – The singular means through which a retailer or a brand approaches a customer refers to single-channel eCommerce. Here, the brand may only have a website or a stand-alone, brick-and-mortar store, or it may be available only through a third-party eCommerce site.
- Multichannel – In this approach, the seller or brand use more than one medium to reach out to their customers and sell products. Most brands today have a multichannel approach, wherein they have both an online and physical store. The customers can reach out to the brand through any of the given platforms, but these are stand-alone transactions. For example: If you buy a product online, you cannot request an in-store delivery. Also, your online and offline transactions are separate dealings; such as, the eCommerce website may not be aware or is not concerned that you are a frequent in-store purchaser because they consider that to be a different department.
- Omnichannel – This approach integrates all communication, queries, requests, and transactions made through various mediums onto a singular platform. The brand will have complete knowledge of the customer’s journey, preferred product, and specifications along with other important data.
How Does It Work?
An omnichannel eCommerce experience assimilates the customer’s data to create a seamless buyer journey throughout all touchpoints, and by extension, a great customer experience.
Imagine, you are on a hunt for a good mobile phone. You’re browsing the latest models on an eCommerce website and googling some of the features. You hop on social media platforms, say Facebook, and start seeing ads of the models you looked up earlier. Later in the day, you come across some blogs on mobile phones and shortlist a model from a particular brand. You go to the official brand website, check out color options and the price, and decide to sleep on it. The next day, you pass by the same brand store while shopping and decide to see the model in person. As soon as you walk into the store, your Wi-Fi connects with the store hotspot and the sales executive receives information about your search history and preferred model. He quickly shows you the same model you picked out and even throws in a few accessories to further persuade you to buy the product; you walk out of the store, content with your purchase.
Here are a couple of things you need to take note of. Your search history synchronized with your social media platform by providing you with relevant ads. You were shown pertinent blogs to compare and assess your chosen models with others. The next day, when you walked inside the brick-and-mortar store, the sales assistant already had information about your preferred product, making things convenient and quick, plus easy to sell. These planned ‘coincidences’ are signs of a great omnichannel eCommerce experience.
Iconic Brands and Their Successfully Executed Omnichannel eCommerce Experiences
- Sephora – The cosmetic giant offers an excellent omnichannel eCommerce experience for its customers by connecting their in-store visits with their online purchase and preference history. The brand also offers special features, wherein customers can virtually try on products before purchasing them in-store or through the brand’s eCommerce website and app.
- Neiman Marcus – Besides connecting with their customers at every touchpoint, the luxury chain of department stores has a unique omnichannel feature called ‘Memory Mirror.’ This allows virtual try-ons in 3D, plus the option to save the images for future reference, and also lets customers share their images on social platforms, thereby improving the experience and gaining traction through organic promotions.
- IKEA – Customers can simulate products in their homes, at scale, through virtual reality before making their purchases. This unique feature is synonymous with the brand and has been very popular among customers.
Statistics often speak louder than words. Listed below, are some important stats that may make you rethink your opinion on omnichannel eCommerce marketing and customer experience.
- Research conducted by Harvard Business School with 46,000 customers showed, “73% used multiple channels for their shopping experiences.”
- A study by Forbes states, “82% of the shoppers check their phone on purchases they are about to make in-store.”
- According to Forrester, “50% of the shoppers want an option of purchasing online and picking up the products later, in-store.”
- Another statistic worth mentioning in the Forrester report: “45% of consumers state that they expect in-store sales associates to know about online-only products.”
- “Companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement,” found by a report from the Aberdeen Group.
Strengths of Omnichannel Marketing, eCommerce, and Customer Experience
- Better Understanding of the Buyer’s Journey – Omnichannel marketing helps in collecting and managing customer data in a systematic fashion. Collectively analyzing customer data gives a better understanding of the holistic buyer’s journey. This analysis can help you serve your customers better and design unparalleled experiences.
- Enhanced Customer Experience – Omnichannel customer experience allows customers to start, continue, and finish their customer journey on their chosen medium. It offers complete flexibility to customers and creates a more seamless and efficient customer experience.
- Integrated Communication – Omnichannel eCommerce strategies collect and collate customer messages and data from various channels on one platform. It becomes easier to track the content, monitor messages, and manage your customer’s requirements better when you adopt omnichannel marketing strategies.
- Synchronized Communication Strategy – It also makes designing an effective communication strategy quite easy. Instead of trying to reach out to your target audiences on various platforms through mediums and risk sounding repetitive, you can communicate to them on their preferred channel, thereby saving cost, time, and improving the efficiency of the communication strategy.
- Enhanced Loyalty Experience – When integrated with a well-designed loyalty program, an omnichannel strategy can significantly enhance the overall customer experience. Annex Cloud’s dynamic, omnichannel loyalty can help you create an unparalleled customer experience, click here to learn more.