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Omnichannel Retail: Inception, Strategies & The Future

At the start of the century, “omnichannel retail” was only seen in the telecommunications industry.

Consumers dialing numbers on their phones to know about the different recharge options available, and then visiting the neighbourhood stores to buy prepaid mobile top-up cards.

Today obviously, that experience has changed drastically to shape a new digital-only led multichannel experience.

On the other hand, having an omnichannel strategy has become a crucial part of their bread and butter for the retail industry. Production decisions which are mostly led by forecasted demand in the market, needs good backing of sales. And to grow in highly competitive markets and reach consumers who are shopping for the same product on different platforms, the value offering has to be united to create a seamless cross-channel shopping experience for consumers.

But first, let’s get things straight. What is omnichannel, and how is it different from multichannel?

Multichannel commerce emerged when companies realised the need to create multiple sales channels to reach consumers at different touchpoints. Because the modern homemaker is not just visiting the nearby shopping centre once a week, but is also exploring new products on WhatsApp groups and seeing ads on social media.

This need to stay connected with the consumer no matter where they are has created several new forms of marketing initiatives like influencer marketing, digital marketing, telemarketing and others.

But then came the realization that the consumer is meeting the same brand across multiple channels. Therefore, brands need to become omnipresent and create an omnichannel play.
To put it simply, multichannel commerce refers to creating multiple sales channels for selling products, thereby increasing revenue streams and creating a much higher brand presence.

Omnichannel Retail Framework

Omnichannel retail is a strategy that unifies the multiple sales channels a business has, to create a single seamless buying journey for customers, and an integrated retail supply chain.

It’s important to understand the clear demarcation between omnichannel vs multichannel business strategies, because retail businesses that are yet to adapt to omnichannel, are playing a new game with old weapons.

Unifying the backend of online and offline sales channels can accelerate the growth of retail businesses in various ways, of which the top ten benefits of omnichannel retail are:

Omnichannel Retail Benefits
  1. A unified brand voice boosts brand trust
  2. Higher inventory turnover
  3. Personalized buying experiences
  4. Higher product presence drives higher sales efficiency
  5. More brand information available to consumers
  6. Increases the total addressable market (TAM) and lowers the cost of retaining customers
  7. Higher brand interactions increase purchasing frequency and revenue growth
  8. Unifying buyer journeys provide in-depth insights into consumer behaviour
  9. A connected selling system helps in better management of customer data, channel partners and flow of products
  10. Integrating multiple sales channels on a single platform makes it easier to get a holistic view of product performance in real-time

The retail omnichannel ecosystem fundamentally creates a connecting shopping path for customers, ensuring that they do not drop off before completing the purchase and bringing them further down the buying funnel with each marketing touch.

Omnichannel Retail Journey

But to build this buyer journey consistently and effectively, omnichannel distribution needs to be highly fine-tuned to ensure the right products meet the right consumers at the right place and time.

For example, if a young teenager gets exposed to a new noddles brand online, but does not find it in stores near them, how will they convince their family to try it out instead of the noodles they have been buying for years from the neighbourhood store.

Product availability plays a pivotal role in building an omnichannel supply chain. But the foundation of a solid omnichannel retail strategy ultimately rests on the right retail technology.

Because using the right omnichannel solutions can enlarge the scope of implementing the omnichannel approach in the business ecosystem more effectively.

Create flexibility for channel sellers to buy and sell multiple brands from a single platform.

 

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Unify distributors and warehouses on one platform and monitor channel performance more comprehensively with end-to-end order fulfilment for all product SKUs.

 

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Integrate existing offline channels to fulfil online orders faster and build an offline distribution network for digital-first brands.

 

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Bird’s eye view on product sales across all channels (Offline, Online 3P or Online direct) with comprehensive sales insights for effective GTM planning.

Omni-IN Retail

360° Sales Monitoring

When your business is selling tens and hundreds of different types of products understanding how each product SKU is performing in different sales channels is an important and on-going task. Erecting an omnichannel platform which tells which channels are working in which markets and which ones aren’t, makes it easier to take proactive steps towards boosting profits.

Online-to-Offline Enablement

Although huge, the online shopping base is only a fraction of the value offline retail creates. Hence, especially for digital-first brands, having an offline distribution channel is a must-have to reach more consumers in the market and reach more market segments.

Connected Supply Chain

One of the major concerns of eCommerce is reducing lead-time, i.e. the time it takes to reach the consumer with the product. With multiple e-commerce players selling similar products, connecting the online and offline supply chain makes it possible to ensure faster fulfillment, by utilizing offline distribution partners to fulfill online orders.

Multi-brand B2B Marketplace

B2B commerce that brings in the primary and secondary sales revenue for retail companies, builds sustainability for retail businesses. It also poses an opportunity to make use of the current distribution network and expand the network. Building a B2B marketplace that connects channel partners to the brand and other brands, will ensure product availability is consistent and optimum and invoke channel partners to self-order more.

But while the opportunities are vast, so are the roadblocks. To engrain such omnichannel commerce capabilities into the business, you need to know the changes in the business’s internal and external environments, and use strong retail technology to build robust mechanisms that can meet your business goals.

Top ten trends in Omnichannel Retail in 2022 are:

  • Over half the population of the world shops on multiple channels, and more than 60% of these multi-channel shoppers search for store information before visiting in person.
  • Digital-first brands and online-exclusive products are stepping inside brick and mortar stores.
  • Speed is the new currency to win the customer, who wants the product ASAP to close the purchase or initiate the return if needed.
  • More than 50% of shoppers prefer to research before purchasing, to ensure they are making the best available choice.
  • Omnichannel shoppers generate more revenue, have an exponentially higher store visit and purchasing rate, and engage with the brand more – both online and offline.
  • Consumers who get an omnichannel experience incur less cost to the company for communication and retention.
  • More than 70% of retail businesses lack the resources to build a solid omnichannel play.
  • In the future, most consumers will expect companies to provide in-store inventory information on online stores.
  • Mobile searches for “near me” have grown over 3X in the past two years.
  • According to Google, search + local strategy = results.

Hyperlocal marketing strategies and social selling will increase omnichannel efficiency.

While you are building your perfect omnichannel customer experience strategy and leveraging these trends and strategies to build boundless, omnipresent supply chains, remember that finding the right retail data at the right time will dictate how effective your omnichannel communication is.

Using an omnichannel software like Bizom, which has been built specifically for retail, will help you quickly figure out the nuances of building a robust omnichannel retail business and help you structure the technology to fit the requirements of your business. Talk to our team today to know how Bizom can make you a strong base for omnichannel retail.

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