How to make the most of the Omnichannel business model

Omnichannel is a strategy currently being employed in marketing. From being a rather unfamiliar concept five years ago, it has evolved into a crucial feature for successful marketing. In broad terms, it refers to all the ways that customers and organizations can interact with each other. As a cross-channel model, it is adopted by various businesses to improve customer service and boost business performance.

Omnichannel became a buzz in 2013

Omnichannel gained popularity in 2013 when smartphones started becoming trendy for shopping. Consumers started using their mobile devices to compare prices and purchasing options. In a flash, Omnichannel became a buzzword for both consumers and marketers. To stay competitive, retailers had no choice but to go with the flow; their marketing strategy had to be adapted accordingly to provide multiple channels for interaction with consumers.

Omnichannel is a must for brands

Today, Omnichannel has morphed into a central force to shape E-commerce. Purchases made from smartphones exceed US$ 12 billion while sales exceeding US$ 1.1 trillion were influenced by the web, according to a report by MIT. Customers are more and more demanding and businesses need to respond very quickly, helpfully and humanly, regardless of the channel.

Why is Omnichannel necessary?

The failure to adopt this business model creates disjointed communication and unsurprisingly, frustrated clients and frustrated employees too. Brands and retailers have to offer various channels such as the Internet, social media, direct mail and emails, phone calls, in-store experiences, ratings, review sites, and many more channels to enhance the customer experience and maintain a positive brand identity. Multiple touchpoints between a prospective consumer and a product or service provider should be available not only at the time of sale but throughout the customer lifecycle.

Which channels make up the Omnichannel model?

To be considered as Omnichannel, a business model need not focus on all channels. Instead, an organization or merchant may choose certain of these channels only to be integrated into its marketing strategy, to provide a seamless experience. The implementation, of course, varies from business to business. For example, Omnichannel Marketing ensures that all your messages are consistent and cut across all the adopted channels, while an Omnichannel distribution ensures that the operational processes of your business allow customers to view, order and receive goods and services by choosing any of the channels available in a seamless transaction.

Customers are omniscient

In the digital age, excellent customer experience is vital for the survival of businesses in a free market. Clients need continuous experience across brands, formats, and devices. The Omnichannel business model responds to these needs by allowing them to own their data and experience.

According to a report by CEB, a global best practice insights and technology company that provides products and services to businesses worldwide, 58% of callers visit the web before calling, while 34% of callers talk to a rep while checking the web at the same time.

Synchronizing multiple channels is essential

As customers engage with companies in cross-channel journeys, and need a personalized and context-appropriate customer experience, it is essential for brands and retailers to synchronize these channels simultaneously within a single interaction. A correct synchronization will trigger customer engagement and help to build customer relationships.

A failure to offer seamless synchronization can have drastic results. One case scenario is that of a woman who goes online to look for a pair of shoes. She saves things she likes on her account for this store. She then goes out to hit the shops and gets in another shoe store. Unfortunately, she cannot see the pair of shoes she liked and saved on her online account in this shop. She decides to check in other nearby stores, starting her search afresh. This is an example of how fragmented an online and offline experience may be.

Brands need to understand that today the concept of “my customers” and “their customers” is fragile. The idea is now simply about giving attention to all customers. The days of discount for loyalty points and closed data are gone. The customer relationship has evolved from messaging and media, and brands now have to focus on product research, selection, and payment, and offer a seamless experience, be it online or in-store.

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