Why retailers need a strategy to plan for omnichannel retail
Building an effective retail brand today needs new ways of looking at how to communicate with customers across multiple digital and traditional channels. With the growth in importance of mobile and social media touchpoints, omnichannel has displaced multichannel as the preferred term in 2013 for managing these interactions.
What is omnichannel marketing?
Omni comes from the latin for all or every. Channel refers to the method in which customers interact with an organisation. Literally it is “every-channel”.
Omnichannel is the mix of all physical and digital channels to create an innovative and unified customer experience. Transacting through these channels is a hygiene factor. If all store staff do is scan products and collect payment then they are adding no value at all. As we’re seeing at the major supermarkets they can be replaced with touchscreen terminals connected to chip and pin devices. The experience is what creates brand equity with customers.
Here's how I see the differences between omnichannel and multichannel.
The focus is on improving the experience across channels leading to improved brand preference and transactions online via web and desktop or in-store. Omnichannel plans define how to use the strengths of the characteristics of web and store channels as customers research products leading to transactions in their preferred channel.
Creating an omnichannel plan
Whilst most major retailers do now have a physical and digital presence, they struggle to be unified and innovative in the way they serve the customer on these channels. They also fail to create brand integrated experiences. Through developing a strategy for omnichannel marketing, the opportunities and challenges can be defined and strategies developed to improve the experience and the commercial benefits.
I have developed this diagram to scope out the different types of touchpoints that need to be managed to form an omnichannel strategy
I hope you find this briefing useful, if you'd like to read more you can download my Omnichannel retail guide for digital marketers from my site.