Omni-Channel: Changing the Way Businesses and Consumers Buy and Sell
Defining omni-channel and how it’s changing the shopping experience
Omni-Channel: Buzzword or Developing Concept?
Is omni-channel just another eCommerce buzzword, or is it a new idea that is still being developed and tested? Not everyone has come to a complete agreement on what omni-channel means. Some refer to omni-channel as a complete and continuous customer experience across all channels. Others view omni-channel as cross-channel done well or a step up from multichannel. One key aspect that every definition has in common is that in omni-channel, all channels are involved in creating the customer experience. Whether the eCommerce store is being displayed on a computer, tablet, or mobile phone through a responsive eCommerce site, or you’re at the brick-and-mortar physical store, the same data is available at every channel to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience.
Omni-Channel vs. Multi-Channel
Omni-channel has often been viewed as the next step up from multi-channel. Multi-channel strategies use multiple channels, such as email and text messages, to connect with their customers. Omni-channel also uses every channel available to market and sell items to customers. However, with multi-channel strategies, businesses are focused on getting the word out as many ways as possible, while with omni-channel, businesses are more concerned about presenting a consistent message throughout all mediums and channels. The takeaway is that in multi-channel commerce, the channels are used independently of one another, while omni-channel focuses on using the channels together and collaboratively.
Omni-Channel Retail and Marketing
Omni-channel eCommerce can help improve your marketing like never before. Having comprehensive access to your customers’ purchasing information—from their most recent in store shopping trips to what they last viewed on your eCommerce site—allows you to tailor your marketing approach to their specific wants. This information enables you to provide them with the ultimate shopping experience, whether in store or online.
An Omni-Channel Success Story
Macy’s is viewed as a pioneer in omni-channel retail and marketing. They have used some key strategies to make omni-channel retail work for them. Macy’s invested in developing their website and mobile app to help make their shoppers’ experiences seamless. They also spent money on technology that helped give them greater understanding of customer behavior across all channels. Macy’s even brings omni-channel to their online order fulfillment by using inventory in stores instead of warehouses to get orders delivered to their customers more quickly, resulting in higher customer satisfaction.
The Difficulties of Implementing Omni-Channel Commerce
While omni-channel may sound like the way to go for your business, there are some challenges involved. Investing in omni-channel technologies can be expensive, difficult and resource-consuming, depending on how integrated you want your channels to be. A recent survey by Forrester Consulting showed that 94% of retail decision makers said that their businesses face considerable obstacles in becoming omni-channel businesses. At Clarity, we're focused on making your omni-channel integration as painless as possible so that you can begin to quickly reap the benefits of a comprehensive, targeted eCommerce approach.
Clarity Can Help
Clarity has been working for years to provide our clients with solutions to give their customers a total shopping experience. Our Clarity eCommerce platform allows our clients to give their customers a consistent experience across all of their channels. To find out more about how Clarity can help your company improve its presentation along every channel, call or click for a quote today!