Omnichannel means making a seamless experience for customers across all channels, and adapting the shopping journey for each person. Taking an Omnichannel approach to retail provides added value for customers and helps to boost company revenue as well as increasing customer satisfaction.
But what are some challenges that business owners might face as they start their Omnichannel journey? And how can you prepare for these challenges before you start so you don’t fall into the same traps as everybody else?
Let’s look at the 3 main Omnichannel challenges, and the best ways to overcome them to build an Omnichannel strategy:
You want to expand your retail business, but you’re not sure which new channels you can use, or which are the most important ones to focus on for the best results.
For example, a marketing survey by Adobe indicates that Instagram (73%) is the most-used platform for Generation Z adults (aged up to 23-years-old in 2020), while Facebook remains the top choice for the older people like millennials (74%), Gen X adults (68%), and Baby boomers (61%). With so many options, how do you know what’s right for you to start engaging with your prospective customers?
Analyse the sales data and leads to see what Omnichannel opportunities you have. Ask yourself:
What are the most popular distribution channels for your consumers?
Where do prospects fall out of the sales funnel?
These two simple questions should be a good starting point to help show you where your opportunities lie. Businesses that analyse their data to find the answers to these questions will have more knowledge about what customers are really looking for from them and what channels to add or improve to get the best sales results.
Part of your market research can also involve asking regular customers and the users who have signed up to your mailing lists what retail channels they would prefer to see. In the end, the customers who use a product and services are the key to a business strategy, so they should define what you focus on.
It’s also important that new and prospective customers know about the channels that are available to them. Once you’ve defined what channels you’re going to use, tell them about the new Omnichannel retailing options with marketing campaigns.
Even if you implement Omnichannel, how do you know if it’s working? What if you’re just spending lots of money and effort on channels that aren’t effective at bringing in more revenue?
For example, according to Digital Shoppers, 82% of shoppers want to be able to check the availability of a product before they visit the store, whereas 24% feel it’s important to use social media for access across channels. An Omnichannel approach can bring a purchase rate that is 287% higher than a single-channel campaign, but only if you target the right channels and processes. You need to be sure that the services you’re offering are hitting the points they’re supposed to.
That’s why you need Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Once you’ve figured out your strategy and decided how to implement it, you should set KPIs that will help you measure the success of your Omnichannel strategy. For maximum effectiveness, keep your Omnichannel KPIs realistic.
Omnichannel KPIs are used to measure metrics like the Conversion rate, Retention rate and Customer lifetime value. When defining KPIs, the goal is to analyse how your strategy has succeeded at each stage, which is a smart approach to measuring your brand’s growth over time. Some KPIs you could use to measure Omnichannel performance may include:
Conversion rate, which tells you the rate at which users on your website are buying (or converting)
Average order size or Average order value, which refers to how much a customer typically spends on an average order
New customer orders vs returning customer orders, which compares new and returning customers. This is important because, although gaining new customers is always a positive, keeping existing customers is what drives loyalty and brings in higher order values
Customer lifetime value (CLV), which lets you know how much a customer is worth to your business over the course of their relationship with the company, and is essential to enhancing relationships between brands and customers, since that’s what results in loyalty
Revenue per visitor (RPV), which tells you how much each customer spends on a single visit, on average
Once you know what you want to assess, analysing the website data is a good place to start measuring the effectiveness of these goals. Use a tool like Google Analytics to help set company goals and assess the performance of the business against these objectives.
When measuring the success of offline channels, too, it’s important to have the same depth and quality of numerical data. For example, if a customer goes into an offline store, be sure to ask for their loyalty card at the checkout counter, or some other identifying information about them like email address or phone number. Then you can link their purchasing behaviour, such as whether they paid in cash or by card, to their unique user ID and create a global picture of their online and offline shopping activities.
If the customer doesn’t make a purchase in-store, you may still be able to track them if they have given their permission to access location information, and then send them a follow-up email to ask what they thought of their in-store experience. If they aren’t a registered user, treat them as a new customer and this will boost your data for your New customer order KPI. With these actions, it’s possible to measure the success of your Omnichannel efforts.
Another difficulty many retailers face when setting up their Omnichannel marketing and commerce strategy is that they lack the right technology. That might mean not having the physical necessities like the proper computer systems, or maybe you’ve identified good old brick-and-mortar stores as a possibly profitable source of revenue, but your company doesn’t have a physical location.
Retail giant COURTS Singapore had the opposite problem – they were too focused on traditional in-store retail but their customers demanded more online shopping options from them. By building a flexible online store with built-in Buy Online and Pick up Offline capabilities, they were able to diversify their commerce approach according to their customers’ needs.
That’s where the software comes in. Diversifying retail channels requires some digital help, such as an ERP, an eCommerce platform, a CRM or a CDP.
Invest in the systems that will be most useful for your specific business needs. In the same way that your customers’ needs and preferences will define what channels you use, the channels will in turn influence what tools you’ll require to make it a success.
For instance, one way to easily manage all the day-to-day processes of the company, such as accounting, procurement, project management, risk management and compliance, and supply chain operations, is by using Enterprise resource planning (ERP). For the accounting process you could make use of an online payment gateway, which integrates with an eCommerce platform to provide secure and reliable transaction processes.
To build a website as one of your channels, for example, you will have to choose an eCommerce platform that suits your business needs. This provides you with the tools you need to build, manage, and grow your business using your choice of channels. Magento is one example of an open-source eCommerce platform designed for small to large businesses and offers merchandising, order management, customer segmentation, content development and more.
To really boost your Omnichannel retailing, you can use a Customer Data Platform (CDP). A CDP takes in and analyses all the customer information and buying habits, then automatically divides them into their own individual, one-person audience segment. This lets retailers target each user personally with marketing campaigns, discounts and more based on their own particular type of consumer behaviour.
We’ve already charted the roadmap to Omnichannel success and the benefits of Omnichannel vs Multichannel, and now we’ve seen the challenges and opportunities of Omnichannel retailing to help you kickstart your Omnichannel in the best way possible:
Firstly, to make your transition to an Omnichannel approach successful it’s fundamental to define your goals and objectives, considering where you see your business in the future and then aligning your Omnichannel approach with those goals. Keep in mind who you are trying to attract and then shape your strategy around that. Use your user data and market research to guide you.
If some retail strategies aren’t working, get back on track by setting KPIs that are in line with your Omnichannel objectives. Be sure you’re measuring the performance metrics that really matter to you.
Finally, make sure you have all the systems and tools in place to offer all the channels you want to. This can include, but is not limited to, ERPs, a commerce platform, CRMs and CDPs.
Once you have the basics down, you can start thinking about how to optimise your Omnichannel retail to get maximum benefits from it…
Which stage of your Omnichannel journey are you in? Are you ready to move forward to the next step? To find out more about how to create your own Omnichannel success story, please subscribe and stay tuned, because we’ll be discussing ways to optimise your Omnichannel retail strategy and use it to scale your business.