If you run a retail business, you might be noticing a change in how your customers shop. Chances are, they’re not satisfied to come to your store and browse until they find something they want. They probably want to research the product online, read reviews, and check out photos. If you’re a product seller, you can keep up with these changing customer behaviours using an omnichannel approach.
What Is Omnichannel Retailing?
As a retailer, you can sell and market your products through a variety of channels. Your customers might be able to shop in your store, check out your products on social media, buy them online, or call in an order over the phone. Omnichannel retailing brings all of these different channels together into one seamless experience. This means your customers could see an item on Instagram, add it to an online shopping cart on their phone, complete the order later on a desktop computer, and pick it up in a store.
How Does Omnichannel Retailing Work?
The key to omnichannel marketing is connecting all of your different channels. That way, you can create a seamless experience for your customers. Usually, that means you need to gather all of your inventory information and customer data in one place, so it can be delivered to each channel on demand.
Imagine you have a customer who sees a pair of shoes on your website. With an omnichannel system, they could click on the product page and enter their location to see how many shoes are in stock at the nearest store. When they get to the store, one of your employees could pull up the customer’s account and recommend other items based on past purchases.
What Are the Benefits of an Ominichannel Approach?
For your customers, convenience is the biggest benefit of an omnichannel system. No matter how or when they want to shop, you have them covered. They never have to remember what they bought in the past. It’s all right there in their account. Since they can see inventory levels or order online, it also helps them save time.
For your business, omnichannel retailing can help increase profits and loyalty. It keeps customers in your company’s ecosystem longer, so you’re less likely to lose them to competitors. As the small business community grows, this gives you an edge. It also allows you to gently nudge shoppers who are on the fence about a purchase. Imagine your customer logs into their account, looks at an item on your website, and then closes the browser. A few hours later, your system could automatically send out an email showcasing similar products. Since the person is already interested in the item, they’re more likely to click through and purchase.
How Can You Use the Omnichannel Approach in a Small Business?
Creating a full omnichannel system is expensive. You need web programmers, technology, software, and excellent data security. For many small businesses, this is out of reach. But there are ways you can use omnichannel principles to improve your customer experience, all without breaking the bank.
- Post Instagram stories about your products and include a “swipe up” link that goes directly to the product page.
- If you don’t offer online ordering, update your website with product descriptions and photos so customers can research in advance.
- Instead of separating your customer service into a phone-only system, you could allow shoppers to get answers using social media.
The keys to a successful small business omnichannel strategy are consistency and connectivity. When your customers can jump between your channels and get the same experience, you get all of the benefits without the high price tag.
Read more about e-Commerce and Omnichannel.