How can an Omnichannel Strategy Grow Your eCommerce Business?
The success of first-generation eCommerce ventures has inspired millions of aspiring entrepreneurs to enter the eCommerce market. However, with the rapid growth of eCommerce, it is clear that competition is at an all-time high, and so is the competitiveness in the eCommerce space.
eCommerce businesses have to consider all their channels to reach out to their customers in today's digital market. It's essential to invest in your existing channels to ensure they are working flawlessly, and it's also crucial to invest in new channels to ensure you're not missing out on potential customers.
Most eCommerce companies recognize the value of an omnichannel strategy to offer a unified shopping experience across channels. As they are keen on improving the customer experience, they transform their stores into fully integrated, unified businesses that provide the same customer service and product information regardless of their channel of choice.
Customer shopping & behaviour in the fierce eCommerce business environment
The pandemic has impacted every industry and put eCommerce at the forefront of retail, for better or worse. But eCommerce appears to be doing pretty well as the number of customers shifting to digital channels is growing furiously every day.
When physical stores were shut down due to worldwide global lockdown, shopping for customers working & living at home became a huge nightmare. They were glued to their smartphones 20 hours a day, looking for alternatives to fulfill their shopping needs for health, daily living & lifestyle. eCommerce became a savior for them as it helped them enjoy a safe shopping experience without being physically present at the brand store or marketplace.
In 2020, retail eCommerce sales worldwide amounted to $4.28 trillion, and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to 8.1 trillion dollars by 2026.
Customers have created a 'want it now' environment and become more demanding as ever with the advancements in eCommerce. They expect a frictionless shopping experience on online and offline channels, the ability to shop anytime, anywhere, and exemplary customer support on all channels.
What is an omnichannel retailing strategy?
An omnichannel retailing strategy is a customer-centric experience across multiple touchpoints that equips retail businesses to seamlessly integrate their eCommerce and physical stores to fulfill their customer demands effortlessly. By integrating all points of sales, it can effectively meet dynamic customer expectations, reach customers through various channels, and propel eCommerce sales to a new high.
It assists businesses in being highly conscious at each stage of the customer journey - discovery, research, purchase, support, customer service, and returns, & gives complete control to customers over their interactions with a company and offers a plethora of engagement options for doing business with a brand.
How can an omnichannel strategy help your eCommerce business grow?
1) Sell products under a single brand
Numerous brands make their products available on the eCommerce platform through different sellers, which arouses doubts & suspicion in customers' minds if the purchased product is genuine. It has also happened that customers have favoured some sellers based on good customer reviews and left the other ones due to poor shopping experiences. Such experiences can directly or indirectly impact brand sales.
Brands can effectively utilize an omnichannel retailing strategy to sell directly to customers on different marketplaces like Tata Cliq, Ajio, Amazon & Flipkart. This critical step allows brands to take charge of their inventory and remove the middlemen tarnishing their brand image.
The brands can also equip their franchisees to sell online by connecting their in-store inventory on all channels for the ready availability of brand products. This crucial step helps the brands keep their complete product catalog available for online and offline selling.
Spykar is a leading denim brand of India known in the industry for introducing products for the Young & Restless generation.
The brand made use of Fynd's omnichannel suite to take complete inventory control from the franchisee and used Fynd Store- Fynd’s in-store assistive sales solution to give a unique online shopping experience to its in-store customers. If the selected product is not available in the requested size in-store, it can be easily searched on the Fynd store app by scanning the barcode, browsed by the customer on the Fynd Store app, and shipped directly to their delivery address. Hence, beautifully integrating the eCommerce experience to an in-store customer and blending the best of both worlds.
2) Quickly expand your eCommerce brand presence on integrated channels
A crucial market research has shown that customers wander through multiple channels when they make purchase decisions - from online to offline, from retail stores to eCommerce websites.
Another Research says purchase frequency is 250% higher on omnichannel vs. single-channel, and the Average Order Value is 13% more per order on omnichannel vs. single channel.
Such crucial research justifies a brand’s effort to expand its presence on integrated channels and generate more sales than multi-channel. An omnichannel strategy integrates multiple sales channels such as mobile applications, online stores, physical stores, and marketplaces to deliver a seamless shopping experience to the consumer.
Wherever a customer goes, they will see the brand on every mentioned channel. The brand presence means that these channels are sales-ready and willing to help customers in their shopping journey anytime from anywhere.
Benefits of an omnichannel brand presence:
- Increase customer engagement & conversion rates
- Lower customer acquisition costs & grow customer base
- Ensure a positive brand experience & build lasting customer relationships
3) Personalized customer experience
80% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a company that offers personalized experiences.
Customers expect a personalized experience at every channel and touchpoint. It becomes even more essential to provide it to your customers, as 74% of online consumers become frustrated with websites when content that has nothing to do with their interests appears, and frustrated customers respond by not buying them. That's why personalization is a must-have for today's eCommerce businesses.
Here are some examples of omnichannel personalization by e-commerce brands.
A) A customer goes to an online shoe store and expresses interest in a pair of leather shoes. However, the customer exits the website without purchasing the item. The brand then retargets the same customer with a discount offer on Instagram or Facebook. The customer is happy to make the purchase.
B) An online sports equipment retail brand might integrate its mobile app with a fitness tracker to enable its users to monitor their activity. They then use this data to drive product recommendations – on the website and in-store.
Benefits of omnichannel personalization
Higher Average Order Value: eCommerce brands can always put their customers back on the purchase journey and increase AOV with discount offers & intelligent product recommendations.
Higher conversion rates: The brands can significantly increase overall conversion rates by using dynamic content based on customer behaviour, clickstream data, context, product recommendations, and exclusive personalized offers.
Revenue boost: According to Mckinsey’s study, companies will see a 5%-15% revenue increase from omnichannel personalization.
For example, Amazon is one of the finest examples of an eCommerce company following omnichannel personalization. It demonstrates data-driven personalization in the eCommerce space. If you purchased an induction cooker last week, it would send you an email about new kitchen products listed in the marketplace.
Next comes an in-app alert that Prime day starts today. You browse on the Amazon app but switch to a laptop at work. Amazon suggests several products like electric tiffin, vegan protein powder, steel thermos with reusable straws. You click on the thermos to take your smoothie on the go and keep it cold. As you scroll down, you see thermos in different sizes & colour options, put one in your cart and head off to a meeting.
The next day, you search online for a place to eat for lunch, and an online ad appears on the search page showing one of the thermos options you were interested in on Amazon. You check your email and discover a reminder about the item in your shopping cart as well as a manufacturer promo code. Finally, you log into the app to complete the purchase and see recommendations for other products that customers typically buy with this item.
4) Better data collection and analysis
Both in-store and online stores collect customer data, but they go separate ways. In-store utilizes customer data for SMS marketing and surveys, while online stores plan email marketing, SMS marketing, and personalized recommendations.
What if both offline & online data are integrated into a single data?
An omnichannel strategy does precisely like it. It combines the customer data from both channels and creates unified omnichannel data that shows the customer journey across channels.
This approach helps in
Understanding customer behaviour: Monitoring customer interactions across multiple channels & can assist eCommerce brands in understanding the reasons for their behaviour. For example, a customer may have picked up a product in a brand store but left it and shopped from an online brand store instead. It may have happened due to the unavailability of colour, size, and fit, as well as price differences on both channels.
Gain data insights: It also enables businesses to create better content, use it in cross-channel marketing campaigns, and launch personalized offers that encourage customers to shop more.
Know customer-preferred channels: The data can also better understand the preferred channels that customers frequently use. Some channels, such as Instagram and Facebook, may be used more regularly than others, such as websites and marketplaces. Data analysis can assist in identifying and addressing points of friction on these channels.
5) You do not need a warehouse to manage eCommerce inventory
An eCommerce business can be successful without even having to store the inventory in the warehouse.
Omnichannel service providers like Fynd Omnichannel can help eCommerce retailers integrate their inventory management system with franchisees, sellers & brand stores that serve as micro fulfillment centers. Whenever the eCommerce business receives an online order, the centralized Order Management System (OMS) powered by Fynd can identify the nearest seller to the customer's location and deliver order information to the fulfillment centre to pick, pack, and ship the product to the customer.
This unique strategy can help small, medium, and large eCommerce businesses save huge product storage costs on warehouses, including rent, utilities, salaries, & inventory costs.
6) Get a unified view of inventory
Most e-retailers start with separate inventory management systems, so managing all of them as the business grows becomes a considerable challenge. Due to the sheer nature of online business, e-commerce business owners are likely to face many inventory management challenges like
- Overselling and overstocking
- Handling multiple channels & warehouse
- Managing sales manually
- Lacking data insights
A unified inventory is one of the core capabilities for omnichannel retail. It enables retailers to deliver an exceptional shopping experience by giving them complete visibility into their inventory across all channels. So, even if numerous products are scattered across channels like marketplaces, franchisees, sellers & fulfillment centres, you can track inventory on a single inventory management system.
Benefits of a unified view of inventory:
- It makes it easy to plan and order the right inventory for each sales channel.
- Allows for greater accuracy in estimating potential sales and more flexibility in responding to shifts in demand.
- By centralizing inventory data, automating orders and replenishment, retailers can reduce costs and improve profitability.
- A unified view of inventory allows you to see your stock across all channels. This way, the customer will see only one price and not the price difference in different sales channels.
An omnichannel strategy is one of the most fabulous trends in eCommerce, and for a good reason. By adopting omnichannel retailing, eCommerce businesses can connect their online and offline sales channels for a seamless and efficient customer experience.
Fynd is India’s largest omnichannel platform that has helped more than +600 brands accelerate business growth. Some prominent ones are Catwalk, Ruosh, Tiffany, Diesel, Hamleys, Celio, Globus, Clarks, Vision Express, Raymonds.