Omnichannel retail aims to provide an integrated sales experience that marries the advantages of a physical retail store with the data-rich experience of online shopping. The jury is still out on whether there is always consistency between these adjacent platforms and often the online platform provides a cleaner, more customer-centric experience. With this in mind, retailers have to work very hard to provide a seamless branded experience where each of the channels are symbiotic and provide a smooth, interchangeable and integrated customer experience. So what steps need to be taken in order to ensure this continues to happen?
Omnichannel retailing is often seen as being the responsibility of more than one part of a business. This means that companies need to adopt an organisational perspective and both utilise and integrate HR, marketing and other supply chain departments. Companies also need to hire talent that really understand omnichannel processes; who can oversee the process with a holistic eye and who have the ability to coordinate teams across various company divisions. These different departments then need to work together like a well-oiled machine, providing a consistent customer experience across the board.
Consider each channel as the main channel
Each channel, whether online or offline, needs equal investment. This extends from time to money. At any given point, changes need to be implemented on both store fronts simultaneously otherwise you risk the customer encountering inconsistencies. The risk of this is that whenever customers encounter inconsistencies, the brand risks creating suspicion and mistrust. For example, often customers don’t understand the difference between online and offline special sales, and so when this is implemented the communication around it should be crystal clear and not leave any room for misinterpretation.
Keep things complementary
Often customers visit physical store locations to sample products before making an online purchase. This signals the importance of how one channel can and should rely on the other to close a sale. Often brand perceptions are also developed in-store and then translated online. So ensure that your online and in-store experience delivers consistently, especially when it comes to customer service. Also bear in mind that people are very used to having immediate access to information online, so in-store staff have their work cut out for them in terms of responding immediately and developing that same relationship but in a personable way.
The bottom line
Omnichannel operations require consistency, coordination and attention to detail. In an ideal world, the one channel washes the other channel’s back, so to speak. When done right, online and in-store have the ability to boost each other's sales, promote brand awareness and build strong reliable relationships with customers. To invest in your company’s omnichannel strategy in the next 48 hours contact Merchant Capital today.