Omnichannel Commerce: Everything You Need to Know

Omnichannel Commerce: Everything You Need to Know

World changes over the past couple of years to the retail industry won’t be going away anytime soon. Now, with parts of the world opening up, consumers are on the search for opportunities to shop in person. The experience that they’re used to online needs to be consistent in-store. Brands that have been exclusively online over the years are now seeing a new opportunity to experiment with physical retail.

The perfect omnichannel retail experience includes brick-and-mortar stores, apps-based options and online platforms too.

What is omnichannel commerce?

Omni-channel retail – or omnichannel commerce – is a sales approach that covers multiple channels to offer a seamless customer experience. Whether your customers are on a mobile, laptop or in a brick-and-mortar store.

According to a Business Review by Harvard, 73 percent of all customers use multiple channels during their purchase journey.

Both B2B and B2C customers are fond of an omnichannel approach, with almost half of B2C customers in The State of Commerce Experience 2021 saying they always research and often go to a physical store to check out the product they’re looking for.

Omnichannel operations focus on the whole customer experience and not just the customer’s individual experiences on different channels.

The Difference Between Omnichannel and Multichannel

Here’s what the different terms mean when we’re speaking about Omnichannel:

  • Singlechannel commerce: You’re selling products through one sales channel, for example solely your website or e-commerce store.
  • Multichannel commerce: Selling your products through different channels, this includes both online and offline.
  • Omnichannel Commerce: also uses multiple channels, although the two differ and omnichannel commerce connects all channels, meaning your customers have a seamless experience.

How to use Omnichannel commerce in 2022

With everyone being locked down for the past two years, there’s a steep rise in the number of consumers looking for unique experiences when buying from brands.

That’s where omnichannel and the unique experiences you can offer to your audience.

Omnichannel Commerce Popup Shops

An omnichannel experience for your customers doesn’t mean you have to go out and find the perfect location for a brick-and-mortar store that you’ll own for years. Getting creative and offering unique, in-person experiences as something like a popup shop is all you need to do. This is good for your brand in a number of ways, it shows that you can offer a seamless experience with your customers, you can get busy on social and potentially get new customers experiencing your brand for the first time.

If you offer new and existing customers a truly seamless experience to remember, it’s highly likely that they’ll become lifetime customers.

Going forward you can use the data gathered from your popup shop to find out the most popular location, time of day or if you need to change the theme of the popups to make them more exciting.

Omnichannel Popup Shop Ideas for Shopify Brands

  • Pop-in stores: a great way of cutting costs is to temporarily rent a space within an existing brick-and-mortar store for a period of time. Keep in mind to partner with similar retailers to attract the right audience.
  • Pop-up events: are really good for established brands to build brand awareness and boost sales. Because pop-up events are not as sales focussed and more about the branding and experience your customers will have a memorable experience and are much more likely to make a purchase.
  • Leased commercial premises: found success with pop-up shops? The next step might just be to start your own retail store. Test the waters with short term agreements.

Omnichannel Unique In-Store Experiences

Before starting an Omnichannel experience you should evaluate your store data to plan and create experiences around what your customers would find a benefit and ultimately buy from.

Creating a truly memorable and engaging experience is much easier to do in a physical setting, you’re essentially offering your customers to buy into your brand, rather than just the products you sell.

Community focussed spaces, workshops, collaboration or supporting charities are all great ways to increase exposure and really engage with your customers and supporters.

Creating a seamless Omnichannel experience

Integrating a POS with your e-commerce platform will help you offer customers a seamless, customised experience with product recommendations. This is really good, especially for in-store purchases as the salesperson will be able to make those recommendations in person.

The main goal when creating a seamless Omnichannel experience is to sync customer profiles to your point of sale (POS) that integrates with your website.

Omnichannel In-store appointments

Throughout the pandemic, consumers have become familiar with creating appointments for events.

According to Shopify, for the period of January 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021, the number of installs for appointment booking apps increased by 23% globally, compared to the same time period in 2020.

A great way of creating this type of personalised experience is by setting up test stations and allowing customers to make appointments to test new products before they make a purchasing decision.

Invest in mobile POS systems for in-store staff, this way they can pull up customer profiles and make personalised recommendations based on historical customer data.

Omnichannel Roundup

As the buyer journey changes, the onus is on brands to change with them or risk being left behind. For years, a conversation has been focussed around the high street being on its way out. A change in consumer behaviour could well and truly bring life back to our high streets by changing up in-store experiences and offering personalised customer services.

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James McManus

James McManus

Shopify Growth Consultant

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