Have you ever considered adopting an omnichannel retail strategy?
Omnichannel isn’t a new concept, but it continues to grow in popularity and develop in functionality. Many companies, including retail giants Target, Amazon, Nordstrom, and Nike, have invested a lot of capital and time in creating a seamless omnichannel experience for consumers.
The majority of consumers rely on multiple channels (e.g. in-store shopping and mobile app) across their shopping journey (72% according to Harvard Business Review). With integrated channels and a smooth shopping experience that prioritizes personalization and convenience, companies can provide the best possible customer experience and better appeal to each individual’s preferences.
So, if you want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to interact with your brand, you should consider implementing an omnichannel strategy.
But, before you do, here are three questions you need to answer.
Where are your customers?
In other words, how are your customers reaching and interacting with your business? Where’s your traffic coming from?
You need to be where your ideal customers are.
If you don’t know where your customers are, you can’t expect to develop a successful marketing strategy, so you should prioritize customer research. But don’t worry – there are a number of analytics platforms out there to help you figure this out, such as Google Analytics, Shopify, and HubSpot.
These types of platforms visualize your traffic and identify common conversion paths. But don’t forget about traditional market research methods (like surveys). Together, data analytics and traditional research can combine to answer this important first question.
Can your customers make purchases across channels?
If not, it’s a necessary investment and upgrade if you want to implement an omnichannel strategy.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your website, mobile app, Instagram, or physical store – your customers need to have the ability to make a purchase or at least commence the purchasing process from each of your channels.
Once you know where your customers are, you can figure out which channels to focus on. If you have a large following on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll want to start there. Both platforms have the functionality required to enable customers to make purchases. For example, Instagram has a shoppable post feature that allows viewers to click directly on your product-related posts.
Are your physical stores integrated with your online platform?
The underlying theme of omnichannel is integration. Omnichannel retail requires seamless integration across each channel that your customers use to connect and interact with your brand.
From an operational standpoint, this means your company needs to integrate (1) sales channels, (2) delivery and fulfillment, and (3) returns.
Take Sephora as a prime example. Before even arriving at a store, a customer can check for discounts and out-of-stock items. If they happen to find something they like, they can add it to their cart for later. As a result, Sephora’s customers feel like they (and their time) are valued.
They could be sitting in the back of an Uber, waiting for their lunch, or taking a break at work – it doesn’t matter. Since we live in a digital world and have a ridiculous amount of computing power in the palms of our hands, we’re able to pick and choose the moments we want to shop. This drives the necessity of integrated channels.
Otherwise, you risk losing customers.