If you’re serious about growing your ecommerce business, it’s important to give customers an omni-channel experience. Besides helping to generate more revenue for your business, omni-channel retailing can build strong visibility and awareness for your brand.
In this guide we’ll explain how you can implement and benefit from omni-channel retailing across every aspect of your ecommerce setup.
What is Omni-Channel Retailing?
Today’s consumer has come to expect a fluid, cohesive shopping experience across a brand’s multiple channels. Omni-channel shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel.
Omni-channel retailing unifies all of your business’s online and offline channels into a holistic buying experience. Integrated correctly, omni-channel retailing gives your customers a convenient, personalized shopping experience, it moves them intelligently through your sales funnel, and encourages them to buy.
To understand how omni-channel retailing can help your business, consider the following example. Imagine that a potential customer sees one of your products on Instagram. Using their smart phone, they click through to your online store, and add the product to their cart. Only, they don’t finalize their purchase.
A few days later, the customer receives an email reminding them that they have a pending purchase. They visit your site on their desktop computer, and they click through to their shopping cart to complete their purchase. Thanks to omni-channel retailing, the customer moved through your business’s multiple channels (social media, mobile website, e-newsletter, desktop website) with ease.
If you haven’t linked each of your business’s online and offline platforms with an omni-channel approach, you risk not capturing sales like these, where customers access your business from multiple touch points.
How to Leverage Omni-Channel Retailing to Your Advantage
Here are some suggestions on where you can implement and improve the omni-channel experience you offer your customers.
Optimize for Mobile
Despite the fact that 42% of in-store shoppers search for information online while perusing in a physical store, many businesses still fail to optimize their online store for mobile users. Even if your business has a physical location, such as a kiosk or storefront, it’s critical that you offer a mobile experience to customers who view your website on their smart devices.
More and more, the shopping experience is leaning towards a decrease in human interaction, and purchasing decisions are being influenced by online research performed on a mobile device.
You need to make sure that your website’s aesthetic and functionality are optimized for mobile, from clear navigation to an easy checkout process. Mobile optimization is especially crucial because the proliferation of technology means it’s easier than ever for customers to browse and purchase anywhere on their mobile devices. HubSpot has put together a great guide on how to optimize your website for mobile.
Unify Your Physical and Digital Experiences
Did you know that three out of four shoppers who find local information in search results are more likely to visit stores? It pays to remember that a digital presence doesn’t just drive online sales—it also gets consumers into your business’s physical locations. An important part of the omni-channel approach lies in making sure your customers experience a unified brand across your business’s in-store and online experiences.
Keep Your Branding Consistent
Brand recognition can lead to increased sales, customer loyalty, and of course, an omni-channel experience. Everything from web copy to social media requires a consistent and cohesive voice and tone.
An example of a company excelling at brand consistency is Coca-Cola. The soft drink giant is one of the most globally known brands; their tone is unfailingly consistent and their ads are instantly recognizable. If you’re new to branding, here’s a quick primer on how to build a cohesive brand experience.
Provide Personalized, Expedited, and Convenient Experiences
More and more, consumers are searching for personalized experiences when it comes to their shopping. One of the amazing things about the digital age means that you have access to a plethora of data that you can utilize to better sell to your customers.
Use browsing history and previous purchase data to create a personalized shopping experience on your business’s website and email marketing.
You can also automate the capture of additional sales by sending triggered reminders each time a customer abandons their shopping cart.
Sometimes life interrupts online shopping and customers don’t quite make it to checkout but don’t fret those potential lost sales because you can recover them with email reminders of abandoned shopping carts.
Consumers expect efficiency and speed; this is true of their shopping experience as well as customer service. You can use a service like Olark to offer live chat support for your ecommerce store. No matter how a customer reaches out, by email, through phone, via social media, or live chat, ensure that a response is prompt and helpful.
Convenience in the paying and post-purchase process is paramount. You can provide a smoother shopping cadence for consumers by allowing online orders to be picked or returned up in stores and ensure prices and inventory are consistent both in-store and online. To further reduce friction in the shopping experience, let customers place, change, or cancel orders whichever way they find most convenient (phone, email, in-person).
As you go about unifying the brand and buying experience across each of these areas, remember that omni-channel retailing simply means ensuring buying is extremely easy for consumers. If you spot other ways to improve the customer experience and unify your brand, online and offline, why not integrate them too? Ecommerce merchants that fail to ensure that their shopping experience is omni-channel are holding their businesses back.