What Is Omni-Channel & how can its presence help your business?

Posted November 07, 2016


The term or buzz word Omni-channel has been around for some time and is an important aspect of retail marketing. It can be defined as a multichannel sales approach that provides the customer with an integrated shopping experience. The customer can be shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or by telephone, or in a bricks and mortar store and the experience would be seamless. It is the "new" normal shopping experience for consumers with technologies and social media involved in creating the ultimate shopping experience.


Whilst the term multi- channel experience has also been used within the foray of marketing channels it is important to note that the difference between Omni-channel and a Multi-channel experience is essentially the depth of the integration. Omni-channel retailing provides the customer with a seamless and consistent experience across many platforms. Interaction between these channels needs to be a harmonious and smooth experience, and it all must be easily accessible and easy to navigate.

 

An Omni-channel approach, requires that each platform and device a customer uses to interact with the company be related so that this knowledge can then be used to deliver an integrated experience. Companies using this technique align their messaging, goals, objectives, and design across each channel and device.
It is also important that each company develops its own unique Omni-channel infrastructure. You will need to work closely with several departments in your company to develop this strong strategy - in order for it to work successfully.

 


Here are 5 tips for managing your Omni-presence as suggested by Tim Davies, an eBay strategist at Zellis and former eBay Manager of Seller Education.

 


1. Start small. Don't try to grow your omni-presence too quickly. Davies observes that "social engagement is an art form that takes a lot of time, thought and patience to execute well".


2. Be clear about your brand. Davies advises, "If you know your brand's personality and how it will be perceived, that will help immensely when determining how to best convey the brand and your value propositions through each channel, platform and technology, online and offline."

 

3. Lay the foundations. Having properly structured product data will be a huge advantage. "[It] will empower you to make better decisions, provide more precise and relevant information to customers, and implement relevant cross-promotion and product recommendations, all of which help to make the customer's journey frictionless," observes Davies.

 

4. Ensure you have the logistical back-up. Many retailers are caught out when, although they generate the sales, they cannot keep up with the demands in warehousing, shipping or technology. Davies suggests retailers look at solutions that enable them to make their wares available on all channels seamlessly. "Many retailers may commence with a stand-alone website and then add some social channels, and maybe an eBay store. Each different platform has its own peculiarities and rules, and addressing them all can be quite complex and exhausting."

 

5. Provide great customer service. Ensure that you look at longer-term customer engagement and experience. The Economist Intelligent Unit Ltd 2015 survey found that prompt and reliable delivery was one of the top three aspects of good customer service. "Every customer who buys from you is another opportunity to leave a favourable and lasting impression about your brand. You want them to return and buy more, and preferably bring their friends. So curating a positive and frictionless customer experience from the start will pay dividends later on when it really counts," says Davies.

 

Once these goals and objectives of your Omni-channel initiative are addressed, your business will be more balanced and create a more proficient experience for it's customer base. An Omni-Channel presence will build a coherent, aligned experience across multiple platforms and help establish a positive customer/integrated shopping experience.


Adapted from https://www.securepay.com.au/insights/articles/putting-the-om-in-omnichannel-five-ways-to-balance-your-omni-presence
http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/omni-channel-user-experience-examples#sm.001te2mydbwvdyb10t62f4j5hfmnd