Clientbook Blog
March 9, 2023

Omnichannel retail: What it is and how to implement it

As a retailer, offering a consistent experience for your customers—no matter where they shop—is essential to earning repeat clients who are loyal to your brand over all others. 

This practice of providing a seamless shopping experience for your buyers throughout all the in-person and online means available is known as omnichannel retailing, and is crucial for retailers today looking to grow their business.

In this article, we'll cover what an omnichannel retail strategy looks like, how it can benefit your business, and how a client management tool like Clientbook can help you make it happen at your retail store.

What is omnichannel retailing? 

"Omni" means "all", so omnichannel simply means "all channels." Omnichannel retailing is a business strategy that aims to provide a consistent retail experience across all channels customers access your business from—including in-store, online, or through mobile devices.

The goal of an omnichannel strategy is to provide as many choices for customers to engage with your brand as possible, opening up your client base to shoppers who may not have interacted with your brand otherwise. 

For example, if your physical store is located in Utah, chances are your most frequent store-based shopping experiences are had by those who are local to your area. However, by offering an online shopping experience for customers, you've suddenly opened up a world of new potential customers outside of your geographic area that can now shop with you.

Because an omnichannel retail strategy keeps customer and product data synced across all channels, it's also sometimes referred to as a "unified commerce practice" or "seamless" commerce in terms of the experience it provides to buyers.

What's the difference between multichannel and omnichannel retailing? 

So if omnichannel refers to "all channels" how does that differ from "multichannel" retailing? The term multichannel retailing actually came first, and it refers to multiple or "many" channels, but ones that aren't integrated.

With omnichannel retailing, shoppers can seamlessly go back and forth between different channels and get the same customer experiences no matter where they shop, with no data lost in translation. 

So let's say you have Facebook groups where you frequently make posts showcasing your products. With omnichannel retailing, users could click on that post and it will offer a choice for customers to shop from Facebook, visit your website, or open your app. 

When users go to your website from that Facebook post, they're taking right to the product page with the item they saw on your post. Taking it a step further, if they've created an account on your website to check out and buy the product, later they could go into your mobile app and use that same login to review their order. That's omnichannel retailing.

How does omnichannel retailing benefit retailers?  

Omnichannel retailing certainly sounds fancy, but does it really have an impact on customer loyalty and consumer behavior? 

Offering more choices for customers to shop with you and offering an integrated experience to customers across all channels can be a key differentiator that sets you apart from the competition and can have tremendous impact on your sales.

Let's dive into a few of the ways omnichannel retailing can benefit your business.  

You'll increase sales

First off, the more places your customers have to shop, the more sales you'll be able to earn. Pretty simple, right? Even if you have a lot of loyal customers that visit your brick-and-mortar store, chances are, they'll like having the option to shop in other ways too. 

In CI&T's Connected Retail Report, U.S. consumers reported shopping in-store and online at nearly identical rates, with in-person shopping averaging out at 52% and online shopping with an average of 48%. So today's shoppers are splitting their shopping experiences nearly 50/50 across physical and digital channels.

By hopping on digital commerce trends, you're virtually doubling your opportunities to earn business from consumers who want to shop with you online, through social media, or on an app. 

You'll meet customer expectations  

Next, today's shoppers expect businesses to be available on more than one channel—and they want the same amazing customer experience no matter how they shop.

In the same Connected Retail Report, 86% of respondents reported identical expectations for both online and offline shopping experiences. So if you want to meet customer expectations, you need to keep up the same level of quality in your brand experience whether that's in-store or online.

You'll get to know your shoppers before they even visit your store  

Finally, implementing an omnichannel retail strategy allows you to get to know more about your target audience before they even enter your physical store.

As your grow your business and gain contacts through digital channels, you'll gain valuable insight into what your target audience looks like, what products they shop for most, and what motivates them to buy.

Feel free to get experimental with your e-commerce business and try things to see what works for your audience, including Google ads, Instagram stories, or TikTok posts. 

How to keep your contacts across channels organized 

One of the biggest challenges of omnichannel retailing is keeping track of all the customers and contacts you've gained across each channel. After all, the more options you give shoppers to discover your business, the more your contact lists will grow. So how do you keep them all straight? 

Clienteling software like Clientbook is an excellent tool to store all of your client data in one place, no matter if they came from your physical store or online means. With Clientbook, you can create client profiles, use tags and filters to group key clients, and even send messages to individuals or groups to follow up with them after they've made a purchase, shopped on your website, or visited your store. 

It's the perfect solution to ensuring omnichannel retailing happens at your retail store. 

Conclusion

Omnichannel retailing is the future to meeting the needs of today's customers, no matter where they choose to shop. By offering a seamless experience for shoppers in-person and online, you'll elevate your brand and expand your client base far beyond your physical location. 

If you're ready to see how a client management software solution like Clientbook can help you keep your contacts straight across channels, we're here to help! Schedule a demo today.

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