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Why your retail organisation needs a seamless omnichannel approach

While e-commerce had no trouble staying afloat during the pandemic, the same couldn’t be said for physical stores. After relying on the ease of e-commerce for so long, how will retailers get customers back into stores?

A seamless omnichannel approach, that’s how.

In a 2019 report, Coresight Research found that 67% of European consumers use several channels before committing to a transaction. Think about it. Over half of your customers want to see you on multiple channels before they decide to buy from you.

In another report from CB Insights, they found that while 90% of leading retailers have invested in an omnichannel approach, only about 8% of them feel they’ve nailed it.

We’re more connected than ever before. If your retail organisation hasn’t dipped its toe into the omnichannel pool, you might be missing out.

What is an omnichannel approach in retail?

When you hear the phrase ‘omnichannel’, you may be tricked into thinking this simply means putting e-commerce infrastructure in place. And yes, e-commerce certainly plays a part, but it’s only one channel.

In retail, an omnichannel approach means your customers can simultaneously interact with your business both in the flesh (physical stores, events, showrooms, exhibitions) and your online offering (social media, e-commerce, additional apps, customer service).

It’s about understanding your customers’ journey and precisely what they want and need from your brand. An omnichannel approach aims to make it as easy as possible for your customers to make purchases and then stay loyal to your brand for years to come.


What’s the difference between an omnichannel approach and unified commerce?

The big difference here is that omnichannel allows your customers to bounce from platform to platform. All the while, you as the retailer will store their data so that they don’t have to start their customer journey over and over again.

Unified commerce is more reliant on cloud technology. It’ll bring business functions and data together under one roof so customers don’t have to browse different channels.

What does an omnichannel retail approach look like?

Here’s a practical example of why you need to be in the right place at the right time for your customers.


(1) Customer first sees your brand on a sponsored advert on a social media channel.

(2 & 3) Customer decides to browse your products online and subscribes to the mailing list.

(4) Customer Googles their nearest store and decides to swing by the next time they’re in town.

(5) Customer visits the store and browses but doesn’t make a purchase.

(6) Customer returns to your website to read customer reviews.

(7) Customer reaches out to your customer service team on a messaging service.

(8) Customer may then refer to video content to see the product in action.

(9 & 10) Customer decides to make their purchase. They do this online using your e-commerce platform, using Paypal.

(11) Customer opts to be updated on their delivery by SMS and email.

Even in this basic example, you’ll see there’s a minimum of ten different touchpoints you can reach your customer before they become a purchaser.

All of these touchpoints provide your business with valuable insights. If used wisely, these will ultimately improve your customers’ experience with you.

For example, are you constantly losing people at the point of payment online?

It might be because they’re unable to pay using the likes of PayPal, where their card details are stored for ease.

Implementing an omnichannel retail strategy

Rome wasn’t built in a day. You may hit some obstacles along the way. After all, technology evolves so rapidly that what may be effective in your strategy, in the beginning, may become redundant in five years.

Similar to any other aspect of your business, regular audits should become a staple part of your strategy.

Here are some things to focus on in the first instance:


Map your customer journey

The last thing you want to do is waste money on platforms that your customers don’t need. Take yourself through the average customer journey, and don’t be afraid to play devil’s advocate.

It’s no good only thinking about the smoothest possible outcome. Think about every potential hitch that could happen. And then think about the channels or platforms that will be the most useful to your customer at that time.

There are plenty of different ways to map your customer journey. Take a look at some of the most popular methods.


Make the in-store experience an unforgettable one

Experiential retail is something you can’t ever get online. Make the most out of your bricks and mortar and, importantly, the people inside. Your team has the ability to build real, long-lasting connections with your customers.


An interactive shopping experience

Part of creating a meaningful experience for online and in-person shoppers is increasingly utilising the latest and greatest of interactive technology.

AI, AR and VR – whether this is to virtually try on clothes, see how a product works in different scenarios, or see potential furniture in your home – is an excellent example of an omnichannel method.


Use your insights

Without good quality data; your omnichannel approach could fall on deaf ears. Your insights are the fuel for all your personalised communications with your customers.

They’re going to be the things that bring together all your channels and ultimately generate business.

How do I get my team ready for omnichannel?

There are many plates to spin when you’re implementing omnichannel. From manufacturing and logistics to customer service and e-commerce, everyone needs to be on the ball to ensure a smooth journey for everyone.

Training and upskilling your teams to be the best brand advocates they can be is essential to any successful retail business.

Attensi’s gamified retail training solutions are the perfect addition to your omnichannel strategy. These mobile-first modules cover everything from processes and IT to sales and customer service.

Despite tremendous e-commerce growth, nothing beats going into a physical store for some shoppers. To be a big hitter in retail in 2022, you need to harness the power of the people and technology available to you to create a well-rounded experience for your customers.

Attensi is here to help your team prepare for omnichannel. Speak to one of our expert team about our gamified retail training solutions now.

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