“Fairy tales made me believe that magic exists. If you think about something, look for it and it happens to cross your path over and over again”. The Omnichannel strategy somehow works in making this ideology true. If you desire something, you are going to find the product everywhere, over and over again.
If we go through definitions they say “Omnichannel strategy is the process to provide customers with a fully- integrated approach to commerce”. In simple words, it is the strategy where customers have the convenience to shop on any channel with the same customer experience.
An omnichannel retail brand gives you authority to choose your shopping pattern your way, you can shop online and pick up from store or see in-store and pick online, the process even extends to selecting a product in the cart in a website and when you open it in your mobile application or via any other social media site. You will find that product in the cart.
Isn’t it magical!
Something that is going to amaze you more is, now you can even shop online and return to the store or vice versa.
So it simply says all your shopping channels are now integrated making you the priority of the time.
The process not only supports you being a customer but if you are a retailer too, trust me, omnichannel retailing is the best choice. The process does not demand retailers to be present everywhere but their products are traveling across the globe along with their identity.
Moreover, the omnichannel retail strategy gives customers overall experience and time to research among all the products. It gives you the power to get the best among thousands of products. Now you can also scan, compare, save i.e. mark the product as a wish list and then buy it from any channel. It provides the chance to buy a product without any psychological pressure of time and limited stalk.
Journey of omnichannel retailing
The omnichannel retail system was born with the digital evolution and now is a part of our lives. It is the fastest-growing concept which is at its highest peak of acceptance today.
The omnichannel marketing was introduced in the year 2010 and was believed to be extended by multichannel marketing. The basic concept of omnichannel was to introduce a platform that makes accessibility of customers in every channel with the same shopping experience.
However, the concept did not gain any attention until 2013 and then a post by Huffington highlighted the concept by throwing light on the way, “how customers were going to the store and searching the product, comparing it at an online portal and buying according to price difference” and this prompted retailers to shift towards the omnichannel retail process.
Since then the market of omnichannel is considered to be the buzzword in the field of retailing.
Have you heard the name of Starbucks, they have now increased their retail sales to 30 percent using omnichannel retail strategy.
Their success story started with launching the Starbucks application on January 2011, the application allows customers to pre-order their coffee, see estimated time and pick it up, with payment of every order via Starbucks card customers get special points which can be seen in the application, website, and all the other channels.
These points get auto-update with every order, in real-time and can be easily redeemed. The story doesn’t end here, Starbuck’s application also gives its customers an opportunity to locate nearby stores, send gift cards, view menu and also to identify the song being played in-store.
What else a customer could even think about, so being an omnichannel retailer is giving your customers an experience they have never even imagined.
Another story is about the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon. It provides an online shopping platform for customers. The customers can now initiate buying at mobile applications and complete procedures at the website page, the customers can also mark a product as the favourite at the website and can see it later on the mobile application.
The opportunity to customers even extends far beyond this, now you can make a wish list, or collect products you want to buy and share it directly with your friends and family.
Alexa! I am hungry. I need pizza and boom options are there. Amazon is now up with a new feature to order online just by speaking it.
So if you are a retailer and want to work with Amazon, eVanik can provide you a platform to reach.
And as I said before, be more than customers can even think about.
There are many other examples of brands that reached heights by following the same strategy in all these years some are Virgin Atlantic, Bank of America, Oasis, REI, Chipotle, Timberland, Orvis.
These companies as a set example for the upcoming generation on creating omnichannel retail plans. All these companies had their own stories starting from a different stage but ended reaching the peak of success.
Reasons to go for omnichannel retailing
The idea of omnichannel retailing is a boon to this era. There are many reasons to shift your retail process to omnichannel retailing.
- Highly accepted
Statistically speaking, according to PwC’s annual retail survey done in the year 2016,
65% of consumers are aligning more towards omnichannel retailing because it is convenient.
31% of consumers were lured by the price difference.
- The need for every age group
As the digital and technical acceptance is raised these days and the highest population of India comprises youth.
Irrespective of age, people in India are inclining towards digital and convenient methods of shopping.
- Allow start and end of shopping at different channels
Omnichannel gives you the opportunity to start your purchase at one channel and end it at other, you can now book a product online or check its availability and buy from the store.
- Integrated platform for purchase and analysis
Omnichannel retail marketing provides both the retailers and customers a platform of integrated purchase and analyzes the purchase data.
- The need of the time
Since the global market is rapidly changing, accepting omnichannel retail processes is a need of time.
The latest market research suggests that the global market is expected to grow from USD 2.99 billion in 2017 to USD 11.01 billion in 2023. The research indicates the growth factor as an increasing adoption of e-commerce for online shopping and convenient marketing procedure.
- Earns trust of the customer
The process helps retailers to earn the trust of customers, making customers loyal towards the brand.
Reasons to think twice
When you are looking forward to an amazing idea that promises you comfort and convenience, how could you think of even a single reason for not going for it?
But Omnichannel does have a few reasons to think twice before going for it.
- Require high maintenance
A famous quotation says “Rome was not built in a day”, the same goes with omnichannel retailing, to make your retail empire vast in the digital platform. You need to work on it, every day.
Every detail in social market matters and that needs to be maintained daily.
- It’s challenging
You will only be considered as the omnichannel retail marketer when your product has an integrated approach via every channel, which makes the process a little complicated.
Your customers should have an online and offline approach to your product, no matter where they are trying to reach you. They should receive the same service.
And if you fail even in one aspect, then you will no longer be considered an omnichannel retailer.
Let’s talk about the facts!
After understanding what omnichannel stands for, see some of the facts associated with the term:
- According to a global study which was done in the year 2014 by SDL, the United Kingdom found that out of 3000 customers, 90 percent said that they expect the customer experience to be consistent across channels and devices used to interact with brands.
- According to Business2community.com, 50 percent of the customers prefer to search the product online and prefer to pick it up from the store.
The research that was done by Business2community.com also indicates that there is 56 percent of customers that use the mobile device to research at home, 38 percent check the availability of the product on their way to store and 34 percent have already used their mobile phones to research about the product before coming to store.
There are some more factual statements authenticating the benefits of omnichannel retail operations. Something that all these statements have in common is that every individual these days is highly dependent on digital means for their day to day life and therefore this is the best time for you to come up with the idea of omnichannel retail processes.
So if you are even thinking about it, I would say “GO FOR IT”.
Conclusively it can be said that omnichannel retail operations play a vital role in the development of both newly started ventures and already existing ones.
Market acceptance is relatively high as its phenomenal features and strategies are never going to disappoint you. Omnichannel gives both the customer and retailers a platform for direct connection, which is positively time-investing and economically friendly for both.
So moving towards an omnichannel strategy is more like taking a step towards making your brand consumer-friendly, and an approach to follow your customer’s interests.
There is a famous quote by Mickey Drexler, former CEO and current Chairman, J. Crew Group “People like consistency. Whether it’s a store or a restaurant, they want to come in and see what you are famous for” and omnichannel retail operations provide a platform for all companies to promote their products in a dynamic way.
In fact, it attracts the customer and provides a virtual tour of the product. Additionally providing customers with the flexibility and opportunity to select and buy their right fit, choosing from thousands of similar products.
Therefore the more your customers know about your company’s name, the more they will start trusting it, “So start providing a platform to explore if you are a retailer, and start exploring if you are a customer”.