Omni-Channel Selling A Growing Opportunity For Retailers

May 12, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

The arrival of the internet as we know had a transformational effect and turned most things in the business world on its head. In addition, the digitalization and new technologies brought with it on a set of complications to work out. Fast forward to the present time, retailers are faced with a challenge of using an omni-channel or multichannel approach to increase business to better target their customers.

Increasingly as consumers have adopted the smartphone revolution, so has the need for retailers in particular to adopt a comprehensive approach and maximize on generating more sales. According to a Visual.ly infographic brick-and-mortar retailers will have to optimize their selling tactics. This includes using coherently the physical space they utilize and harness the enormous opportunity of the digital frontier.

The visual graphic serves as a potential and future guide as to how the customer journey may be. Evidently each retailer will have to adapt its strategy based on a number of existing factors. For example, how visible is the company´s brand in traditional and new channels like social media. Furthermore, how much of their business efforts and infrastructure has been gradually moved to integrate digital.

The consumer today takes time out of their busy day to really find the bargain before walking into a store. According to an Accenture study 78 percent of U.S Shoppers had webroomed (browsed for online for product and then going to store to make a purchase). This tendency by shoppers is one side of the story and the other 72 percent from the same survey had showroomed (gone into a physical retailer to see a product and then buy it cheaper after finding the lowest price online).

Retailers have their work cut out for them. On top of having to update their e-commerce websites they are also faced with the obstacle of replicating the in-store experience on the web. This is extremely difficult to take the consumer buying experience and transfer it entirely online. The key is to make an intuitive interface with a smooth set of controls that really makes researching, navigating and buying on the web a painless experience.

Maximizing the omnichannel promotion experience

Retailers who can eventually start moving their operations gradually online will see payoffs. Having a website is a start, but having the integration of a rapid checkout process will dazzle customers. They will keep coming back and by word-of-mouth marketing you will more than likely received positive reviews.

What needs to be included is a complete and global digital strategy to really bank on leads from potential customers. These include and are not limited to having an application-based app (iOS, Android, etc.), a social media friendly newsletter, and a presence on popular social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, SnapChat, etc).

What not must be forgotten is that major social networks have integrated some form of a buying button or developed a buying mechanism on their platform. Retailers have to be aware of how each individual platform works and how consumers buy certain products from social networking sites.

On an important note retailers that have existing information on loyal customers should continue to strengthen relationships for the long-term. Elsewhere there is plenty of social data to analyze and put to good use on how to drive customer engagement via these new communication channels.

Using digital technology to drive up sales

The technology available today provides unlimited possibilities and simplifies getting to really get to know the customer. When the retailer generates sales they must collect information in order to build loyalty and showcase to the customer a personalized experience. The digital platform will have to be carefully crafted from one retailer to the next to really execute a winning plan. 

The visual information graphic previously mentioned that retailers can really drive up transactions through the use of coupons. It is expected that 42 percent of companies will send coupons based on customers´ location in the store. This is in large part possible because of the sophisticated technology that is now available on smartphones.

What consumers would like to see from retailers is clear omni-channel promotion selling and to somehow work that into their brick-and-mortar locations. The key for this to successfully work is to start running some test campaigns on some platforms and expand over time if results are profitable.

Retailers using high-tech elements in stores

 Retailers can make quite the buzz if they implement and install digital surroundings. This can also be accompanied by modernizing point of sale (POS) systems and make available interactive tablets as part of the display.

From the Seattletimes.com online report retailers are putting to the test the digital effect into their physical stores. Things like interactive shelves, magic carpets, and virtual dressing are just some of the latest innovations being tested.

An example of a retailer that just announced in store pick-up is the American department store retail chain Kohl´s. The news was made on AJC.com and it went on to emphasize that Sears a decade earlier had pioneered this business practice long before the internet became mainstream. What customers enjoy is frequently buying from a specific business and getting a good quality product at a great price.

The Milwaukee-based company is known to sell quality products and generates leads with Kohl’s coupons. This attempt signals the need for the retailer to tap into a revenue channel that is there to make a buck.

Conclusions and takeaways

Technology has reshaped how consumers purchase products and services. This reshaping effect extends to the retailers as well and those who can transition to the digital space will succeed in the long haul.

Retailers do have their work cut out for them and this does not mean to invest your entire business online. It just means to integrate a digital platform that works with your business model and to gradually harmonize your omni-channel sales marketing campaign.

According to an ITWeb analysis confirms the overwhelming multiple channel selling demand does exist for retailers. One of the rising problems is costs grow for this omni-channel model. Caution must be exercised and there has to be a tight control of not losing sight of the goal. The mission is making sure customers do buy the products they need and that retailers fulfill their part to deliver an excellent shopping experience.