Omnichannel – It’s one of those buzzwords that’s thrown around LinkedIn all the time, but it can be tricky to understand exactly why omnichannel retail is worth the time and effort to implement in your business. And is it really all that different from multichannel retail anyway?
As if so often the case, the answer is both yes and no. Omnichannel by definition is multichannel, but multichannel isn’t always omnichannel. This is because multichannel simply means the practice of selling and marketing across many platforms, rather than just one. Omnichannel is about how your brand operates across any channel it reaches people on
So what’s the difference?
Multichannel is a product-centric way of operating. In this retail philosophy, the point of having multiple channels is to market your goods or services more widely. With omnichannel retail, the focus is customer-centric. The goal is to have all of your channels working in unison to give a seamless experience for customers regardless of which channel they are interacting with your brand through. The macro goals of omnichannel are to build a cohesive brand identity and make buying as simple as possible for customers.
Think of it like this: with multichannel you have lots of different instruments separately playing their own tunes, whereas omnichannel is them playing a piece as one orchestra. Omnichannel retail is a multifaceted topic, but we’ve pulled together some key strategies for you to start implementing that we think will demonstrate how impactful an omnichannel-focused shopper experience can be.
At Embryo, we craft digital strategies that maximise your online presence – whether through expert SEO, content or paid marketing channels. To connect with a full-service digital agency that understands how to make all of your channels play in harmony, reach out to [email protected] or call us for a chat on 0161 327 2635.
Have Consistent Branding on Every Channel
‘To customers, you are one company. They don’t draw dividing lines between channels like organizations do.’
So said Kim Salazar, senior UX specialist at Nielson Norman Group, while writing about the importance of consistency in the omnichannel experience. The omnichannel experience hinges on making every single touchpoint that a customer has with your brand feel consistent. From promotional emails to product copy on your website, it should all just feel like ‘you’.
The reality is that this can be difficult. It’s possible that as your business grows, a social media exec may be writing social captions, a copywriter writing your blogs and a CRM exec writing emails. These all need to sound like the same person wrote them.
There are tools that can help different departments preserve one consistent identity across channels. Having a design ‘brand bible’ of your brand’s Pantones, fonts and size application for your logos can help maintain your visual identity. Investing in defining your tone of voice and circulating it across departments controls how you sound in all communications and content.
As you work to build a singular brand identity this effort will pay off by making your brand feel trustable and safe to purchase from.
Maintaining a consistent omnichannel experience builds a single, trustable brand identity. This helps customers feel confident to purchase.
When many shoppers reach you they will be interested in your product or service but as yet be unconvinced to purchase. They will then take time to weigh their options. This period of exploration and evaluation is what Google dubs the ‘Messy Middle’
Omnichannel offers a unique opportunity to meet a potential customer’s needs during this decision-making process. By virtue of having multiple channels that all operate under one cohesive brand identity, you will have the opportunity to use these channels to demonstrate exactly why they should purchase your product and make it easy to do so.
Innately, different channels have different strengths. Social media offers the opportunity to showcase user-generated content which might help a customer to understand your product better and to feel more convinced of quality or suitability in a way that the product imagery on your website wouldn’t necessarily satisfy. Equally, social media doesn’t allow for much text but informative blogs on your website could help to answer any questions that a shopper might have in a more thorough way.
When all of your channels work together, shoppers should be able to access anything they need to make it through their Messy Middle and feel confident to buy with you.
Guide potential buyers through their buying decision-making process by using your different channels to their natural advantage and reap the reward of conversions.
Give Customers a Seamless Path to Purchase
When customers are ready to purchase, your omnichannel experience should do everything it can to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Implement features that allow this, such as:
- The ability to check out as a guest without the hassle of creating a profile.
- Speedy payment such as Apple Pay which allows customers to pay without entering card details.
- The ability to buy on the channel they are marketing on, such as social media shops e.g. Through TikTok Shop or Instagram Shopping.
These features can all make the process as quick and snag-free as possible.
Being able to buy directly from social media rather than being directed back to a website is prime example of this principle in action. Reducing the overall amount of clicks a customer has to make to get from ‘buy’ to ‘confirm payment’ reduces frustration. This in turn reduces bounce rate. It’s a logical progression for social media to have introduced purchase in-app, as it catches customers exactly where they are marketed to without redirecting them at all.
If you’re still unsure if this will have an impact on your business, the proof is in the pudding. Wunderman Thompson’s 2023 Future Shopper report suggests that 67% of global shoppers have already bought through socials, with 53% intending to shop more through socials from now on.
Omnichannel retail strategies are focused on making the buying process as efficient as it can be in order to increase customer conversion rate.
If these strategies have been useful, you might be interested in learning more about how multichannel principles can help your brand presence or take a look at these stats that show just how valuable multichannel marketing can be. If you’d like to find out how Embryo can improve your own omnichannel offering, don’t hesitate to reach out.