It's all about Omni-Channel Retail
Our expert's opinion
"In order to reach the broadest audience, it is key to invest in different channels (touchpoints). The time of only relying on the physical store and service or available products there, is over. Omni-channel is the way to go now. As the word itself says; using multiple channels in order to reach your desired audience.
In order to be successful in accomplishing omni-channel commerce, it is not enough to make use of the master data of your consumers. It is to invest in a unique customer experience making use of all the available channels. No consumer today will exclusively be present on one medium. Consumers to date make use of pretty much all of them. To stay competitive and to keep reaching your desired audience, it is important to follow that trend and be present on all channels.
Going omni-channel is not only about having a physical store and an online one. It is about creating a fluent and coherent experience connecting the two and even adding others, such as pop-up stores, pop-up stalls at events, being present on social media or having a shopping app."
- Nele Driesen, Associate Consultant
The Complete Omni-Channel Retail Report: What Brands Need to Know About Modern Consumer Shopping Habits in 2018
No single formula, algorithm or crystal ball can tell you for sure when and why each individual customer will make a purchase.
A senior citizen looking to buy a smartwatch might be texted a recommendation by a grandchild, then walk into a physical store to purchase. That same grandchild, on the other hand, might spend weeks parsing smartwatch reviews, adding, then abandoning items in their cart on both mobile and desktop, before finally purchasing because of an enticing email offer.
It’s a complex process, and it’s why omni-channel selling is so important.
Both BigCommerce and Square exist to make shopping easier and more enjoyable for both sellers and customers, whatever the platform. There are no crystal balls, but there are strategies, and we’ve teamed up to bring you the most up-to-date statistics on when and how Americans shop online.
What is omni-channel retail?
Omni-channel retail is a modern approach to commerce that focuses on designing a cohesive user experience for customers at every touchpoint. This differs from traditional marketing, where individual channels were optimized without necessarily taking the whole experience into mind.
That’s one textbook definition. Here’s how other marketing leaders define omni channel:
- Square defines it as: “Meeting people on the channels where they are shopping and buying, whether it’s in a physical store or an online store or on social media, and connecting the dots between those channels. The purpose is to keep customers moving around within the brand ecosystem, with each channel working in harmony to nurture more sales and engagement.”
- Hubspot defines it as: “the ability to deliver a seamless and consistent experience across channels, while factoring in the different devices that consumers are using to interact with your business.”
- Google defines it as: “ensuring [retailer] marketing strategies are geared toward enabling customers to convert on any channel.”
- At BigCommerce, we internally define it as: “Stores selling both online and offline — likely also selling through multiple online channels (i.e. on Amazon, eBay, Facebook, B2B). We’ve also been referencing the importance of listing your product wherever consumers are already spending their time. This is increasingly known as contextual commerce, a more strategic take on the overarching omni-channel term.”
Typically, omni-channel retailers aren’t startups. They also aren’t web-only shops, which means they have the capital to put some feet on the ground. That much is clear. What isn’t, is the idea of seamlessness and retailer sophistication. From that perspective, few retailers today are successfully executing on all of their omni-channel initiatives.
This is because with the momentum toward integrating commerce across channels, there’s one big piece of the puzzle missing: what the consumer wants.
Many retailers are just guessing.
Sure, they have proprietary data on how consumers are using their own channels, but ‘omni’ has Latin roots in the omniscient realm, meaning perceiving all things — not just what is happening on your own channel.
Omni-channel marketing, then, becomes more about providing an experience — the omni-channel customer experience — transcending any one medium and simply providing shoppers what they want, when they want.
To date, no one has decoded exactly how, when and why the modern American makes a purchase. What we do know though is that nobody today shops exclusively through a single medium. Consumers buy online, in store and on marketplaces, from legacy retailers and independent brands alike.
One consequence of this — albeit a happy one — is that cash flows in from different sources and different devices. That understanding has been crucial to the development of Square for click-and-mortar businesses, including its POS integration with BigCommerce.
With this in mind, we’ve launched a new study analyzing modern, omni-channel consumer behavior. This data uncovers the details on how, when, where and why Americans buy, educating the entire commerce industry on today’s consumer shopping preferences.
You’ll see the results of our study in the following chapters and gain insight into:
- How Americans shop across an omni-channel environment: what they buy, how much they spend and what’s stopping them from checking out more often
- What products retailers should feature on various channels to maximize sales
- How to increase conversion rates on all your selling channels
- How omni-channel fulfillment is a necessary extension of merging channels
- The ins and outs of your audience and their motivation for purchasing
- Which channels businesses sell through — based on a survey of over 1,100 businesses — and what effect it has on profits
This is what retailers need to know to implement a data-driven, omni-channel strategy today.
(Click here to read the full report.)