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Friday, 18 April 2014

What is Omni-Channel All About

The latest buzzword in the eCommerce industry is omni-channel. To understand this concept, consider the following example.

You are thinking to buy a microwave and you visit your favorite retailer's website. On the website, you find several deals your favorite retailer is offering. Thinking to take advantage of those deals, you visit the brick-and-mortar store. As you are browsing through the products, you are looking up the details of the products online through your mobile phone. You zero in a product, buy it quickly at the physical store and turn into an omni-channel consumer.

What is Omni-Channel All AboutIn simple terms, omni-channel merges online and offline commerce into one seamless experience. With this new mantra of marketing, the lines between offline and online marketing strategies is getting blurred. The omni-channel consumers wants every information at their fingertips. According to the MIT report, 80% of the store shoppers check the prices online beforehand and one-third of the customers access information on their mobile devices while browsing in the brick-and-mortar store.

When consumers are approaching their experience from several angles, it's time for the retailers, online and offline, to up their game plan. This can be done through:

1. Refining brand's digital presence: 
Take a fresh look at how you are selling your products online. Make sure that the landing pages of your website and mobile web are optimized. Create social presence by engaging with your audience on social networking platforms.

2. Refine search strategies: 
Organic search is always better than paid search, but using the latter in sync with the former one can yield outstanding results. By improving the number of searches of your brand, you can gain more visits to your website and store.

3. Implement advanced fulfillment methods: 
Giant retail stores such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy are implementing advanced fulfillment methods such as ship-from-store and in-store pickup. By implementing ship-from-store, retailers can use store inventory to fulfill online order by shipping the products from the store closest in proximity to where the order was placed from. In-store pickup will let the customers buy online and pick up their purchases at the nearest retail location. The method is great to drive traffic into stores, leading to additional purchases more than 40% of the times.

Although omni-channel is great for offering outstanding shopping experience to customers, it's quite difficult to implement it due to dis-joined technologies and processes. However, many eCommerce service providers are coming up with cloud-based order management software that are easy to operate as well as cost effective. You definitely ought to try those software if you are looking to offer superior shopping experience to your customers.

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