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February 12, 2024
Omnicommerce—or “omnichannel commerce”—involves creating a seamless experience across all customer touchpoints for a commercial business or retailer. These touchpoints—or channels—can include actual interaction within a brick-and-mortar location as well as digital interactions (on a website, through social media, and so on).
“Omnichannel” is a business strategy that involves using every channel available to engage with customers, and making the experience across those channels.
Since omnichannel can be quite broad and applies to various industries from entertainment to publications and beyond, omnicommerce specifies the strategy for commercial businesses.
If you’re researching omnichannel commerce strategies, you’ll likely also come across the term “multichannel.” The difference can be subtle, but it boils down to the fundamental approach:
At its core, omnicommerce is about making all your channels work together to power sales and boost customer experience. Here are a few examples of what that might look like in different environments:
Creating a seamless experience across multiple channels is complicated and takes maintenance, but there are an increasing number of benefits to taking this approach:
For a strategy to truly be omnichannel, it must create a unified experience for customers across channels. But what do interconnected channels actually look like for a retailer?
Per Bloomreach, nearly half of consumers research products online before visiting a store. This means that your customers’ journeys are already happening across multiple channels. To serve the best experience, make this transition as smooth as possible by optimizing your website for omnicommerce.
A successful execution of web-to-store experience might be online features that accurately explain inventory available in-store so customers can first research online and then visit the store to see an item in person. Ensure that your website does not provide outdated or conflicting information with a customer’s in-store experience.
Having a robust in-store support system should go without saying, but even stores that operate primarily in brick-and-mortar should maintain an easy-to-use online support system for customers using a website or app to explore your offerings. If possible, provide phone, chat, and email options to cover all communication preferences.
Making in-store and online shopping fit together requires some extra purchase options. Make shopping at your store as convenient as possible for customers by providing multiple ways to get their items. Delivery is a must for online purchases, but offer BOPIS—Buy Online, Pickup In Store—if you can.
Stay relevant to your customers by keeping in touch through email, text, and social media. Share information when you’re having a sale or special promotion and send out alerts when you get new items in stock. Aim to send out communications that are genuinely helpful—flooding a customer’s inbox with unactionable messages will result in an unsubscribe, rather than repeat business.
If you have an app for your store—maybe you operate a franchise location for a large brand—make sure your local information is up to date, just as you would with a website. If your store doesn’t have its own app, there are still opportunities for you to take advantage of this channel by using QR codes in-store that enhance experience by providing special discounts or letting customers in on upcoming events or releases.
Many customers are more than willing to consent to cookies and other tracking features to make their lives more convenient. Data tracking features online can make it easy to get from an ad or a social post to a targeted e-commerce page. If a customer has trouble with an order, data tracking can help customer support figure out the issue without extensive back-and-forth. You’ll also be able to learn more about your customers and what they want out of their shopping experience.
A frictionless customer experience involves the entire buying process, including payments. You’ll need to ensure both your online and in-store processes are smooth and convenient for shoppers. Not covering enough payment methods can lose you a sale if a customer’s preferred option is unavailable. Try to support as many options as you can for maximum convenience: credit and debit cards from multiple providers, chip, contactless, and one-tap payments, mobile options like Apple Pay™, and so on.
Creating a seamless ecosystem for your customers across multiple channels is no easy feat, especially if you’re managing other aspects of your business. But the benefits of omnicommerce can’t be denied. Our advice is to do what you can. Making small but meaningful changes will go a long way to boost your omnichannel strategy.
Here are a few initial steps to try out:
If you’re just getting started, your first step should be to connect with an agent who has experience in retail and restaurant technology. Contact us and we’ll get you in touch with a local representative!
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