What is Omnichannel Strategy?
Click and Mortar, a type of business model that incorporates both online and offline operations, is a challenge faced by every retailer.
Omnichannel strategy involves managing your stores, e-commerce activity, and logistics in order to provide seamless customer experience.
It will help you answer the following questions:
- How do you boost online sales without significantly reducing offline business?
- How do you make sure Amazon doesn’t put you out of business? Or use your stores as a showroom?
- How can you continue to make money from your stores?
As you can see in the chart below, moving from a physical retailer to an omnichannel retailer, can leverage your position despite fierce competition from Amazon and specialised pure players.
The building blocks of Omnichannel strategy
1. Physical stores
Physical stores offer the advantage of proximity. With well-trained sales staff, stores can also offer superior service and give customers the chance to try products before buying, something which is not possible online. However physical stores are not always easy to access and are constrained by set opening hours and limited product range.
Not everybody wants to or has the time to go to a physical store. However, this shouldn’t be the reason for losing them as customers. e-Commerce activity, with its digital marketing channels, can drive traffic to your stores and increase the number of click and collect orders. It can also provide additional logistical support to your store, particularly where stock is concerned. For example, if a customer wants a product that is not available, it can be ordered online in the store and shipped straight to their home address.
CRM is an excellent tool used to manage interactions with customers in order to offer them a seamless experience. It follows the different stages of their journeys, their steps and habits, and consequently provides them with relevant communication.
4. Customer journeys and service blueprints
It is also important to map customer journeys and service blueprints, so that they can be used alongside CRM. This will help with designing the functionality of different systems and building a content plan for digital marketing purposes.
The e-commerce platform needs to be connected to a Product Information Management system, Warehouse Management System, CRM and ERP. The ERP will also indicate which products should be stocked and when to build a buffer for the webstore.
Once an e-commerce order has been processed by the different systems, it has to be sent to the customer and preferably as soon as possible. At the same time, stock needs to be replenished. A well-organised warehouse, managed by a WMS, will help achieve this goal.
Some Frequently Asked Questions about Omnichannel strategy
A physical retailer will need to improve the digital maturity of its business in order to make a seamless transition to omnichannel retail.
No but your stores will have less of a transactional function and will be more experiential, somewhere where the customer can sample products and get advice from the sales staff. The interaction with the customer will become the USP of your stores. The quality of staff will also set you apart from the competition. As you can’t display and stock all SKUs in one shop, you can give your customers the option to order a product in the store and have it delivered to their home.
There are different techniques, one of which is to offer a commission to the store nearest to the delivery address.
The combination of customer journey maps, service blueprints and well-integrated software systems are the solution to providing seamless customer experience.
My approach omnichannel strategy
Assessment of omnichannel building blocks
Analysis of current trends