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 Chuck Schaeffer How to Achieve Omni-Channel Retail Success

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Omni-Channel Benefits

Omni-channel is a powerful strategy for retailers to improve their customer experience, sales, loyalty and business performance.

In a research report titled Satisfying the Omni-channel Consumers Whenever and Wherever They Shop, IDC Retail Insights found that while multi-channel shoppers spend, on average, 15% to 30% more with a retailer than consumers who use only one channel, omni-channel shoppers will spend 15% to 30% more than multi-channel consumers and exhibit stronger brand loyalty, often influencing others to patronize the brand. IDC research also found that consumers provided with a seamless experience across multiple channels shop more frequently and make more purchases across a relatively broad number of product categories.

Another potential benefit of a well-defined omni-channel strategy is getting shoppers back into stores. Despite the predictions for the demise of brick-and-mortar stores, research continues to show that consumers still want the social interaction, surprise discovery of new merchandise and instant gratification delivered with the in-store shopping experience. Research also shows that 60%-70% of offline sales are now impacted by online research and digital offers. Clearly, online channels can be designed to get consumers into the stores. With a smart omni-channel retailing strategy, one channel can drive another to promote channel-agnostic revenue goals.

Omnichannel is Omnipresent

Consumers are more empowered, connected and informed. The spectacular rise of cloud computing, social media and mobility have changed the channels, devices and methods consumers choose to use. And if retailers expect to engage these consumers they’re going to have to meet them in the online channels and venues where they communicate and shop.

Omnichannel retailing is no longer something to do in the future. Retailers who sit the sidelines will see their businesses deteriorate in equal proportion to the continued rise of omnichannel shoppers. Shoppers have more choices, competitors are only a click away and consumers publicly share their shopping experiences in social networks that magnify a retailers good or bad brand experience in a way that reaches thousands and stays in the public record indefinitely. End

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Comments (18) — Comments for this page are closed —

Guest Tracy Phillips
  I’m amazed to the number of retailers that acknowledge omnichannel shopping is real and here to stay, but that it doesn’t apply to their retail business, because somehow they are different. Clearly ostriches with their heads in the sand.
  Guest MaryKnows
    Retailers either keep up with consumer preferences and demands or they lose consumer business. Its that simple. I also see the retailers who think they can avoid investing in omni-channel technologies and I think pretty much anybody can predict their fate.
  Denise Denise Holland
    The business case for omni-channel retailing is undeniable. The Forrester research report you reference shares that omnichannel shoppers will spend up to 3.5 times more than single-channel shoppers and consumers provided with seamless experience across channels shop more frequently. Omnichannel retailing also improves customer retention. I think the debate is over. The question now is which retailers will capitalize first (and last).

Guest Angie Nolan
  Asking consumers to repeat information or "start again" when transitioning between channels is the death nail for retailers.

Guest brenda b
  No doubt about it, consumers are demanding that retailers adapt to their evolving needs, or the consumers look elsewhere. As a retailer it’s tough. As a consumer it’s empowering.

Guest Anonymous
  i think im confused on multichannel and cross channel, too many channels
  Chuck Chuck Schaeffer
    Generally, multi-channel delivers a consistent experience on each channel, where cross-channel permits customers to begin their engagement on one channel and then use different channels to continue or conclude their interaction.

Guest Jay Little
  You know something is new and without consensus when people cant even agree how to spell it. Is it omni-channel, omnichannel or omni channel?

Guest CXC
  Omnichannel isn’t just digital and may actually bring stores back into the consumer buying experience.
  Chuck Chuck Schaeffer
    For sure. Despite the attention given to digital commerce, stores are clearly a top channel in an omni-channel world. And there are some really interesting retail strategies beyond just designating the store as one of several consumer channels. In fact the convergence of the economic downturn (which resulted in a glut of underutilized retail store space and brought new retail construction to a stall), the sluggish economic recovery (which keeps overhead costs, interest rates and new construction risk high) and consumer demand for omni-channel customer experiences has created the perfect storm for which innovate retailers are responding. I think the Staples omni-channel store strategy is a great example. These are smaller (about 12,000 sq ft or half the size of normal stores) and more engaging stores which stock their top selling items and place kiosks around the store for customers to access all other products. Their kiosks are intuitive and make it easy to find what you want and have it delivered where you want. Other complimentary strategies and technologies include clienteling with tablets that share consumer and detailed product information, perform mobile POS and payment, and show real-time inventory availability or item in-transit location. I think these omni-channel stores clearly show their brick and mortar vision for the future.
  Guest JB Burns
    I think youre right, but brick and mortar retailers need to deliver an in store shopping experience that is as engaging as the consumers digital shopping experience. Most don't.

Guest Len Warren
  I think like a lot of other retailers we built our web sites, e-commerce sites, portals and mobile apps based on departmental goals and internal siloes. We really didn't recognize or plan for what was coming next. Now we're trying to keep up with even greater consumer demands and more channels, and having to bring together a complex mess of unintegrated apps, tools and data siloes.
  Guest Jay Little
    When planning for omnichannel, plan for an overhaul, not an upgrade or you'll find yourself perpetually and forever behind the 8 ball.

Guest sanjay k
  I dont dispute that omnichannel is a consumer mandate and retailers will eventually adopt or their businesses will suffer as consumers opt for their competitors. But that said, I dont see many retailers doing it well. They seem to be stuck in the - thinking about it - stage.
  Guest Nash Holston
    That’s so true but also a big opportunity for early to market forerunners.
  Guest texasjackass
    The longer they wait the further behind they fall. You don’t see any retail leaders waiting.
  Guest retail411
    Whos a good example of a retailer doing omnichannel well?
  Chuck Chuck Schaeffer
    I think Burberry is an omnichannel leader that offers lessons for others. The company publicizes its strategy of bringing the online experience in-store, and the in-store experience online, and using the best capabilities from each to win more customers.




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With a smart omni-channel retailing strategy, one channel can drive another to promote channel-agnostic revenue goals.


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