Omnichannel sales are the new norm, which is still a bit confusing for SMB and big corporations alike.
Those who master it do better in customer acquisition, retention, converting sales, and boosting loyalty. So much gain from adopting what’s to be the next standard anyway, – sooner rather than later.
Just to throw in one number that rings the bell for those who are still confused: purchase frequency is 250% higher for omnichannel retailing vs single-channel. Some impressive results from such a minor set of technical tweaking here and there in your already functioning marketing.
Read on to:
- clearly comprehend the difference between omnichannel and multi-channel sales,
- get a better grasp of its definition and, most importantly,
- obtain a step-by-step algorithm of the implementation of the sales and marketing omnichannel strategy.
What is omnichannel marketing and sales?
There is omnichannel commerce, marketing, sales, retailing, and customer support. Those are technically different terms, but they are all closely interwoven in fact. Moreover, they can be interchangeably used in many cases.
Omnichannel sales is a next-gen approach to sales, marketing, and customer service that employs technology to bridge the gap between online and offline commerce, making across-the channel shopping experience frictionless for the user as fully controlled by the supplier.
Omnichannel vs multichannel
Overall, we see omnichannel as the next step of the evolution of the multi-channel approach, but let’s see how they are different, so you can distinguish between the two notions.
The multi-channel approach is to use different marketing & sales channels in order to communicate the message. So, it literally means this: businesses use as many channels as possible, including, but not limited to:
- Ecommerce store
- Physical brick-and-mortar store
- 3rd party marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay
- Social media selling
- Telephone sales
In this setup, channels are separate and don’t necessarily interact with each other. They are set up, but there is no technical possibility or as much as any intention to create a smooth flow of information between them. They are often managed by separate business units who are not connected at all or connected distantly.
The multichannel approach is measured by customer engagement [the more followers, likes, and shares the better]. On the same line, the more channels a business has set up, the better so that there are many methods for the customer to engage with a brand.
In the frames of this philosophy, the customer has alternative ways to contact the support: email, chat, phone – but they may have to start the conversation from the very beginning if they decided to switch from one channel to another in the middle of a dialogue with the brand.
Omnichannel is when all those multiple channels we talked about previously are integrated on all levels – technical, financial, administrative, marketing – to create a seamless experience for the user.
Under this setup, customers can easily switch between the channels having no friction between different touchpoints.
Summing it up, omnichannel is the next-gen multichannel, that is initially designed as a unified system of interconnected tools that are capable of passing the information seamlessly.
Why ensure frictionless smooth CX across all channels?
Reach synergy effect: 2+2 is greater than 4
This method uses the power of synergy of channels to further promote business.
Having four disparate channels functioning on their own and having the same channels seamlessly communicating with each other is a significant advancement of service in the eyes of the customer.
Have a 360-degree overview of a customer
Brands who know their customer stand out from competitors, like the tribesmen with the sharp spears stand out from the fellas who didn’t bother laboring on the pointed end of their armor.
Omnichannel strategy and marketing layout allow you to get the most complete picture of your customer – as a collective User persona, as well as a list of traceable individuals.
Such comprehension of the User allows a business to apply the Pareto principle and work on the VIP level as a separate tactical plan, as an example.
Increase customer loyalty through better support
We have all been there, how irritating it is to see:
- agent X from X department joined the chat
- agent Y from Y department left the chat
Even the friction of being passed within the same chat – where you have all the history saved and a new agent will quickly go through it in an additional minute or two – is so irritating and feels like your entire life is being wasted.
With channels designed to exchange information – via CRM, ERP, or other tools, things flow freely from social media to email, messages, chats, etc.
In the not-so-distant future, all brand touchpoints and conversations will be available in one click to an agent for the most impeccable customer experience.
Target better, convert more
Sounds like a dream, but it isn’t.
Retargeting campaigns were the first to demonstrate how much efficiency can be gained from the client info available to the brand – even on the unconverted users.
Abandoned cart practiced further reinforced this mantra.
Now that the omnichannel commerce era has dawned on the world, the new levels of user data can be leveraged by brands to target better and convert more.
Get ahead of competitors by driving share
As with any novel idea, the early adopters gain the most from it, then follow the early majority, and so on.
The later on you join, the more chances you give your competitors to get ahead of you and drive their share irreversibly bigger than yours.
Omni-Channel strategy: 7 steps to smooth conversion
Know your users, their journey, and segmentation
More than with any other business objective, the setup of an omnichannel commerce strategy starts with you knowing your target audience, user persona & journey map, and marketing segmentation.
- Have 3-5 user profiles going on, that are revisited and updated at least twice a year by joint sales and marketing effort.
- Map their journey to understand the strongest channels, the ones with the most potential, and the ones that don’t work whatever you try.
- Segment your customers according to demographic, financial, loyalty, and other pertinent parameters.
Look around: market, global trends, competitors
Checking around is housework that is neglected by some companies too big to check around or startups too small to check around.
Nonetheless, it is the best way to save yourself lots of resources: financial, timely, and human expertise-wise.
Make sure you do this grounding work before advancing into the implementation of omnichannel logistics:
- Do the SWOT of your channel mix
- Study competitors’ top channels with tools like SEMrush, Alexa, etc
- Check out the global best practices of creating an omnichannel sales strategy
- Peep into neighboring regions: cities, states, countries to learn from the best
- Consider learning from the adjoining industries – this may give you a new perspective, as different industries create their own DNA, that may be ultimately translated into your niche.
Omnichannel-first approach: Go multi-channel as per your strategy
As with the mobile-first approach, omnichannel first is the ideal way to create your sales and marketing department.
This will allow you to set up a system that is technically geared to connect user experience across channels seamlessly.
With this note, you will have to create multiple channels eventually, as long as they are aligned with strategy and interconnected technically.
Marry them all: physical, online
At this point, all technical systems can be connected via API and exchange information in live mode in 2-way synch.
Connecting online and offline sales take a bit more dimensional vision though.
As the notion matures, there will appear platforms and SaaS solutions that marry all e-commerce systems to provide a frictionless user experience and make monitoring easy for businesses.
Omnipresent Customer support
Customer support is one of those key departments that illustrate to the customer that a brand has a 360-degree overview of their communication.
Ideally, the customer support agent dashboard will be able to pull a clear concise information card that sums up all recent/historical instances of communication in social media, emails, SMS, chatbots, have purchase history, loyalty data, and so on.
Get your tech right
Tech stack can make it or break it for eCommerce. With downtown time costing tens of thousands, a day even to smaller players, all of the systems should be able to transfer the information immediately both-ways.
Not only should you carefully choose the SaaS systems initially, but we highly recommend reviewing your stack once a year for new products.
Go granular on top 20
Now, that you are all set up in terms of bridging the gap between the physical and online, social and personal sales, historical data, and in-market preferences, it’s time to make this system work for you.
What is the best way but to focus on your top 20 percent as per the Pareto principle? Deep diving into their preferences will help create tighter connections, increase retention of this vital segment, better understand their acquisition channels to get more of such users.
Implementation of omnichannel sales example: Best Buy
Gartner, a global leader in research and consulting, illustrates the notion of omnichannel retailing with this short case study of Best Buy on their channel Gartner for Marketers.
The video showcases how the company makes seamless CX a focus while interacting with the brand across the channels, on every level:
- Showcasing availability online in offline stores: “want it today? Pick up at Chelsey or choose same-day delivery..”
- By building in a scanner in their app, that allows comparing products side by side – bringing elements of digital shopping convenience into retail.
- Sending push up notifications to buyers, who entered the store with items added to their cart [72%] about the availability of those products in-store.
The future of omnichannel commerce
Kilian Wagner spoke extensively on the status quo and the future of synergy of multichannel in the commerce: online and offline in his presentation “Omnichannel: Retail (R)evolution”.
“A new generation of companies has evolved… the omnichannel… And they took a very holistic customer view. They realized that customers are neither online nor offline, but there are thousands of different pathways where you start and where you stop. The whole idea is to design the experience frictionless.”
He stresses that it is vital to overcome the organizational silo, whereby the eCommerce department and retail are not talking to each other and not getting incentivized based on cross-channel sales.
He also speaks about the importance of technology to interconnect all systems and make the data flow back and forth seamlessly.
As one of the best CRM solutions out there, Nimble, too, keeps improving all the time and enabling more and more one-click integrations: via API and 3rd party apps alike. While Nimble prospector is a favorite tool for premium fashion brands and B2B commerce, who want to create a 360-degree portrait of the user with minimal effort.
When it comes to the future of omnichannel retailing, Mr. Kilian Wagner sees it in the convergence of the 2 worlds: online and offline. We cannot but agree. Check out the video for more insights direct from this savvy etailer:
Your Nimble way to seamless customer experience
Implementing these omnichannel retail trends is not that hard after all with the right tools.
CRM is an important part of any tech stack, specifically that belonging to the retail niche. Try Nimble CRM for free for 2 weeks to see how you can join 140K+ professionals saving 90 minutes a day through newly-found efficiencies.
Indeed, Nimble consistently gets into the top of Capterra’s top 20 list of the best CRMs in the world. The best thing is: it’s only $19 per user per month if paid annually to get access to this cutting-edge technology helping business with:
- Client database and relationship management
- Calendar management
- Task and deal management
- Email marketing
- Profile enrichment
These and more features are wrapped up in a user-friendly interface, that can be integrated with a few clicks with your existing tech stack.