Why Retailers Need an Omnichannel Strategy – Part 1: What is Omnichannel?

As technology increasingly weaves itself into the fabric of our everyday lives, it provides retailers new opportunities for consumer engagement.

This begins in the brick-and-mortar store, extends through websites and other online platforms, and continues on through smartphones and other mobile devices.  By integrating the consumer experience across all of these platforms, retailers can not only generate sales, but they can also build stronger brands.

This integrated experience is called omnichannel.

How does omnichannel work?

As Entrepreneur explains it, omnichannel is all about improving the customers' experience – however they choose to navigate their path to purchase.

That path may start at a brick-and-mortar store and end with an online purchase, or vice-versa. Either way, integrating all of the stops along the journey – from social media posts and online reviews to the feel of both the online and physical stores ­– can create a seamless customer experience.

How to implement it

Help give your customers a clear impression of everything happening at your store by keeping prices, sales and inventory consistent across every channel. If you offer mobile coupons, make them both available – and able to be used – online and in the store.

According to eCommerce platform provider Prestashop, true omnichannel excellence also requires streamlining your inventory, which can be a grueling process but is definitely worth it. 

Integrate your ecommerce functions so customers who place products in their online shopping carts using mobile devices can finish their purchase on a desktop.

You may also offer the ability to pay for a product online and pick it up in the store. (Many customers will make additional purchases when they come in to pick up items they ordered online.) 

How to pick the right channels

Prestashop recommends businesses carefully consider each new channel before adding it to the mix. Each should have a distinct purpose and plan. And you should be able to keep it current and aligned with both your brand and other channels.

Explore data tracking tools to get to know your customers. The more you can learn about the way they shop, the more personalized an experience you can provide. This can help you be in the right places with the right messages.

Thanks for reading Part 1 of our omnichannel strategy series. Check back soon for "Part 2: The power of mobile" to learn why a strong mobile presence is key to omnichannel greatness.