Introduction to Omnichannel Retail

Why omnichannel retail is so important and why you need to get involved.

Through omnichannel, you can give your customers the same shopping experience they would have on your retail website on whichever outside channels you use (social media, third-party, etc.).
Omnichannel retail gives your customers the same shopping experience regardless if they purchase through social media, marketplaces, etc.

eCommerce has been continuously growing and expanding these past few years but the COVID pandemic, by far, had the largest impact on its development, changing the face of all of retail forever. Established Internet-based merchants doubled down on their eCommerce efforts while traditional ‘brick-and-mortar’ retailers were forced into ‘do or die’ mode as they scrambled to get themselves online or else face permanent closure. Consumers’ habits also adapted accordingly; online shopping went from convenience to necessity and the purchases themselves became more frequent.

It used to be that online shoppers would purchase directly through only websites but now, shoppers are finding their products from all different types of marketing channels on the Internet such as social media, Google, and third-party marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart. This is called omnichannel retail. Omnichannel retail is one of the most efficient and effective ways to increase customer satisfaction for businesses, as it allows businesses to meet their customers where they are in the offline world. Through omnichannel, you can give your customers the same shopping experience they would have on your retail website on whichever outside channels you use (social media, third-party, etc.).

What is Omnichannel Retail?

Omnichannel strategy map, showing various channels through which a company can sell all at the same time.
(SOURCE: Salesforce, Ensighten)

There are two terms associated with omnichannel retail and they often get confused with one another: multichannel and omnichannel. Multichannel uses specific strategies per various channels whereas through omnichannel, customers get a consistent singular marketing strategy across several channels simultaneously that enhances their retail experience–but only if there’s consistency. Your mobile experience, social media campaigns, and retail website could all be extraordinary but if they don’t all seamlessly mesh together, your customers won’t get a true omnichannel retail experience.

5 Benefits of Going Omnichannel

Advertising and retail have seen great benefits from the advancements in Internet technology: better consumer insights, targeting capabilities, measurement, and attribution. Consumer journeys are undergoing rapid changes and adaptations, making these advancements vital. A consumer may need up to 60 touchpoints before they make a purchase. Consequently, advertisers can struggle to keep up with the most important touchpoints. Retailers can easily adapt their advertising campaigns by going omnichannel without losing any insights, data, or purchase points and consumers can enjoy a seamless purchase journey through every stage.

#1: Better Personalization

Customer experience is the ultimate goal of omnichannel retail. Shoppers want to feel like the brand knows them and will give them a personalized experience. Online businesses need to consider what people want to see but customers should still get a positive vibe from the brand, no matter how they interact with the retailer. Consumers care about personalization. According to Evergage, 96% of marketers have improved customer relationships with personalization. The study also says that 88% of respondents expect a personalized experience from customers. Users generally don’t like having to repeat the same processes over and over again when returning to a website, such as filling a cart or even signing into an account. The anonymity makes the shopping experience feel cold and mechanical which many, especially those new to online shopping, find off-putting. Adding that ‘personal touch’ returns some humanity to the inherently impersonal digital world of eCommerce–and it can have substantial effects on how well your business is perceived and received by the consumer public.

#2: Better Customer Data Collection

Omnichannel retail offers not only an enhanced experience for customers, but also information that they can use to cater to their audience’s needs. Now more than ever, companies need to understand their customers and how they act, especially since there are so many ways to enter into their ecosystem, either physically or virtually VIA mobile devices. In a study by Harvard Business Review, only 7% of participants exclusively shopped online, and only 20% exclusively in stores. During their respective shopping journeys, 73% of those surveyed used a mix of channels. Since these customers come from such a diverse range of backgrounds, it is imperative that you know when they first contact you, and when they eventually convert to your brand.

#3: Broaden Your Customer Reach

You can make your business more visible on multiple channels in order to drive sales and social media is one of the most successful channels to help drive sales. Customers may have their first encounter with your store through social media. As stated in this piece by 99Firms, 85% of ‘Gen-Z’ shoppers use social media to research a product before they make a purchase, and they spend the majority of their time on the internet. Therefore, omnichannel selling makes the most of social commerce in this way; you can start your customer’s experience with social media and end their experience with a purchase on your website or in-store. But social media isn’t the only outlet for omnichannel success. Selling through Amazon, Google, eBay, and Walmart will also introduce your name and business to millions of brand new potential shoppers; potential shoppers that you’ll have the opportunity to convert into loyal repeat customers.

#4: More Efficient Marketing and Direct Targeting of Customers

The majority of consumers use their mobile phones for the purpose of researching products before they make a purchase – even when they are already inside the shop. In order to accomplish this goal, the development of an omnichannel marketing strategy that targets and converts potential customers at the right time is crucial. For example, let’s say there’s a ‘brick-and-mortar’ store where people research its products before they buy (such as in the case of Best Buy, where people often browse there physically and then make their purchases on Amazon). Rather than providing store-only incentives, their omnichannel strategy might involve providing readily-accessible online resources within the store itself. It might not directly result in sales and conversions, but it can influence the actual conversion process. There is a great opportunity for retailers who have a better understanding of how their various channels are used, for both purchase and research, to place more resources into the conversion points or any other points where a customer is likely to change his or her mind and purchase an item from them.

#5: Improve Inventory Turnover

A company’s inventory turnover is the number of times it sells all of its inventory in a given period, from the time it’s purchased until the time it’s sold. Omnichannel retailers use inventory turnover as a metric to measure product sales speed. They use inventory turnover to measure product sales speed and frequency. You can optimize stock levels and develop smarter replenishment methods when you follow an omnichannel strategy. Omnichannel strategies can be great because they let you see your inventory better and let you fulfill orders from anywhere without wasting time or money.

Feedonomics for BigCommerce

BigCommerce announced its purchase of Feedonomics in July of 2021. As part of its partnership with BigCommerce, Feedonomics previously developed Feedonomics for BigCommerce, which integrated Feedonomics’ features and benefits into the BigCommerce platform, which was a successful result. Feedonomics does not require you to sign long-term contracts, pay percentage fees, or pay setup fees. All you need is a 3 month commitment and a flat fee for BigCommerce that is predictable. As the new parent company for Feedonomics, BigCommerce plans to continue integrating with their partners in order to continue providing their users with a “best-of-breed” experience in addition to adding a built-in feed management system to the platform.

Features and Benefits of Feedonomics

Feedonomics gives you automation, optimization, error detection and troubleshooting, performance monitoring, and exceptional customer service 24-7-365, all within the same central location. With Feedonomics, you are able to create multiple product catalogs based on a single data feed that adheres to best practices for each channel. Maintain accurate product data throughout the day so that your listings and prices remain competitive. In addition to connecting you to more than 60 advertising and marketplace channels around the world, Feedonomics enables you to connect to these channels. It is also integrated with BigCommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce, which makes Feedonomics a good solution for existing systems. Feedonomics’ automated systems and proprietary artificial intelligence technology help to prevent data corruption, while inventory buffers help you to control your inventory and avoid overselling, making sure you maintain a high seller ranking.

To learn more about how Feedonomics for BigCommerce works, check out our article: Product Feed Management with Feedonomics

Additional Reading for Omnichannel Merchants

10 Tips for Selling on Amazon
10 Tips for Selling on eBay
10 Tips for Selling on Walmart

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