The Omnichannel strategy: why you should do it.
We are living in a time of complete integration. People and devices connected to bring new experiences and comfort to our everyday lives. And that’s the core of the Omnichannel strategy: it is about sales channel and communication integration to provide easier options to the consumer.
This is very important nowadays because it is more complex than ever. In the past, you just needed to get one great connection, like a telephonic service, to be more present and make more sales. This isn’t enough anymore. All the strategy needs to be focused on the online and offline channels, being on mobile commerce, social media, chatbots, SEO, the physical store and more. The consumer is everywhere through the power of his/her smart device. They could be shopping anywhere, asking for help on Facebook, trying to find the best option for them. And you need to be there for them, always guaranteeing a great customer experience and being better than your competitors. But how?
What really is Omnichannel?
Omnichannel is a convergence strategy that integrates all the communication channels of a business to improve the consumer experience. Thus, customers can buy online, in physical stores, over the phone, or even go through all these channels with the guarantee of consistency and quality in service, creating more brand value, recognition and improving sales force.
In the area of marketing and sales, the concept allows the client's shopping journey to flow without interruption and effort, with all contact channels prepared and integrated to meet their needs. These channels include virtual stores (e-commerce and mobile commerce), social media, mobile devices, applications, physical stores, telephone call centers, self-service, chatbots, etc.
Basically, the strategy is successful when the customer feels no difference between contacting the company on the internet or at the point of sale and is comfortable to move through the channels to decide their purchase. Today, the omnichannel strategy is mandatory for any company that is concerned with the customer experience and having a strong brand presence.
Omnichannel vs. Multichannel vs. Crosschannel
- Omnichannel: as stated earlier, the omnichannel is the integration of all communication channels of your company, with the purpose of improving your customer’s experience. All of your channels “know” what is going on each one. They all converge.
- Multichannel: it is also a multiple channel concept that creates more ways to provide customers sales, like building an e-commerce, an app, etc. The biggest difference between the omnichannel strategy is the integration among all channels. They will compete instead of co-operating. In the omnichannel strategy, all data is shared among the channels.
- Crosschannel: it allows two different channels to overlap. For example, giving the consumer the option to buy an item online and retrieve it on a physical store. This strategy is a part of the omnichannel, but alone it doesn’t guarantee full integration among all channels.
The omnichannel strategy stands out because of its convergence and better appeal to the consumer nowadays. When correctly applied, it makes the consumer’s life much easier, enhancing his experience and making the act of the purchase a lot more friendly and tempting.
How to make the omnichannel strategy work?
The basic idea is to integrate all data of your business. This will require the use of technology, like a platform where information can be shared in real time with all the company’s areas: logistic process, marketing, chain of production, sales, etc. It demands some (or a lot in some cases) of work, but it pays off. This also means a lot of team training and preparation, because they will have to be focused to offer the same optimized experience to the customers on all channels available.
Synchronization is also a key factor. Imagine this: if your client is using a laptop and adds an item to his/her cart, but they don’t buy it yet. When they access your store via mobile (app or the actual website), the item should still be on the cart. This is an example of integration and making the experience easier for the consumer.
To become omnichannel it will require your business to really know your clients. And being omnichannel already will further enhance your knowledge of your clients. It is a cycle of improvement of your services made possible because of the constant client feedback and results monitoring that a well implemented omnichannel strategy provides. Think like your customer does and get better results. Connect your business to them.