By Jack Oxton
Omni-channel. It’s a term thrown around with reckless abandon in today’s fast paced, digitally driven world, but what does it really mean?
Omni-channel is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “denoting or relating to a type of retail which integrates the different methods of shopping available to consumers (e.g online, in a physical shop, or by phone)”
This is very different from “multi-channel” retail, and the difference lies in a company’s approach to digital channels. Essentially, every revenue stream through a digital platform (selling on ebay, amazon, a website, etc.) is a digital channel. Multi-channel retailers treat each channel as an individual revenue stream, each being fine-tuned and optimized separately from each other. Each channel has separate revenue goals, strategies, and reporting hierarchy.
A true omni-channel approach removes departmental silos, allowing companies to put the customer at the center of their strategy, as opposed to treating each revenue stream as a separate entity or project. The result is a united, consistent message across all platforms.
The omni-channel approach acknowledges that consumers are often times utilizing several channels at once—for example, many customers will look at items in-store while at the same time checking product reviews on your ecommerce store. Your customers view every interaction, whether it’s in-store, on your ecommerce site, or when purchasing your items through a third party as a representation of your brand. An omnichannel strategy helps to shape all of these interactions into one cohesive customer centric strategy.
The true goal is to create a consistent message and branding across all platforms, focusing on a more tactical, consumer-oriented approach to digital channels that integrates with any existing systems in brick and mortar locations. Loyalty programs, customer recognition efforts, or marketing should be integrated across all platforms, so that a customer is rewarded the same regardless of ordering online, through an app, over the phone, or in-store.
In today’s world, a customer views your entire organization as a single relationship. It’s more important than ever to ensure that your customers are receiving targeted, personalized messaging regardless of how they interact with your brand.
Retail Control Systems is uniquely positioned to help retailers of all sizes move towards a true omni-channel strategy. Whether it’s integrating an existing e-commerce site, creating engaging automated marketing campaigns, or if you’re launching your first brick and mortar store, we would love to speak with you!