Multichannel. Omnichannel. Talking about ecommerce strategies sometimes sounds like shopping for cable TV packages. But, what is omnichannel ecommerce?
In this post, we'll explain what omnichannel ecommerce is, how it's different from multichannel, and the why and how of creating a successful omnichannel strategy.
What is Omnichannel Ecommerce?
Omnichannel ecommerce focuses on delivering a seamless shopping experience across every channel and device. Whether the customer is shopping on a computer, a phone, or in a physical store, they receive the same quality experience.
Companies implementing an omnichannel ecommerce want to overcome a siloed approach that treats each channel differently as a stand-alone entity. Omnichannel seeks to make all your sales channels work together.
For example, a shopper is trying on jeans in a store and uses the store's app to see what other washes are available. Scan-and-go features that allow customers to checkout in an app and bypass the in-store register also illustrate how digital and brick-and-mortar channels can work together.
What’s the Difference Between Omnichannel and Multichannel Ecommerce?
People sometimes use the terms multichannel and omnichannel interchangeably, but they are slightly different. Multichannel refers to selling products through multiple channels. Omnichannel aims to create the same customer and buying experience across all your channels.
Multichannel is More Fragmented
Companies using multichannel ecommerce might sell on a website, on a marketplace like Amazon, and in traditional brick-and-mortar stores. But each channel has its own experience, and they aren’t linked together.
For example, websites using a fragmented multichannel approach may only show inventory available at a warehouse and not what's available at local stores.
Omnichannel is More Customer-Experienced Focused
Omnichannel unites all your sales channels, so customers shop at their convenience. With the right omnichannel strategy, each sales channel should support and work together to deliver what the customer wants.
Benefits of Omnichannel Ecommerce
Omnichannel ecommerce meets customers' expectations while also providing benefits to the business. Let's look at some of the key advantages of omnichannel ecommerce.
Improved Customer Experience
Shoppers will walk into a store and buy basic things like socks or peanut butter without doing much research. But for most other products, the shopping experience begins long before the customer sets foot in a store.
Most customers use various channels for researching and buying products. An omnichannel strategy allows a business to reach customers in every step of their buying journey.
More Loyal Customers
The unified experience of omnichannel fosters a great sense of loyalty in customers. If you can weave your brand and excellent service together in every customer touchpoint and sales channel, customers are more likely to stick around.
Actionable Shopper Insights
Unifying your sales channels and customer experience allows you to track your customers' shopping habits and searches. You can use this enhanced sales data to deliver more personalized marketing campaigns and product recommendations.
The insights also can provide clarity on which new products might sell best. These insights are especially valuable for ecommerce for entrepreneurs who are just starting their business.
Higher Per Customer Spending
Omnichannel ecommerce leads to more satisfied and loyal customers, which in turn increases per customer spending. The happier a customer is, the more they'll spend. After implementing an omnichannel sales approach, businesses often see an increase in repeat shoppers and high sales from those returning customers.
Why Omnichannel Ecommerce is Important
Omnichannel ecommerce supports the way today’s customers like to shop. It also provides businesses with enhanced analytics to personalize each customer’s experience. If you’re not taking advantage of omnichannel ecommerce, odds are a competitor is. Failing to deliver a seamless and personalized customer experience could put your business at a strategic disadvantage.
How Do You Create an Omnichannel Strategy?
Implementing an omnichannel strategy is not as simple as flipping a switch. Developing and executing your omnichannel strategy requires careful planning.
Key steps to taking your ecommerce omnichannel include:
- Analyzing Your Customers. Identify your customers’ habits and preferences to know what channels to include and what type of shopping experience customers want from each channel.
- Upgrading Your Infrastructure. Most businesses don’t have the technical or logistical infrastructure to support an omnichannel sales approach. Omnichannel ecommerce works best with headless ecommerce systems.
- Standardizing Your Brand Experience. Implement a consistent customer experience across all customer touchpoints. From branding to product information, everything should match from the website to the shelf in a store.
- Onboarding Customers and Employees. Once you've got the technical and experience elements configured, it's time to roll out the omnichannel experience. While omnichannel focuses on customer experience, you'll also need to onboard employees. As a primary part of the customer experience, they'll need to advise customers across multiple channels.
Helping Companies Offer Omnichannel Ecommerce
Omnichannel ecommerce starts with having an ecommerce presence.
From our intuitive website store builder to various hosting solutions, Nexcess offers the services you need to deliver the best customer experience across all your digital commerce channels.
Check out StoreBuilder to create your online store and start selling today.