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Ezgi Ada
Ezgi Ada 10 July 2018

5 Steps of Omni Channel Retailing

As customer expectations are higher and the marketplace is highly competitive, companies need to make the transition to omni channel retailing model.

Technological developments have drastically changed customer shopping habits. Customer expectations are higher. Competition is fierce. Brick-and-mortars that fail to wake up to this reality now won’t see the finish line. Before it’s too late, they need to evolve and find meaningful ways to connect with their customers and meet expectations. And this transition must start with omni channel retailing. Here, we outline 5 steps that lead into a successful omni channel retailing strategy:

Customer data 

Data is the most valuable asset for any company now. Listen to your customers. Understand their point of view. What have customers been catered to? What do they want? What’s the nature of their purchasing journey? How do they interact with different touch points throughout their journey? Do they start with online stores and finish their purchasing at physical stores. Do they prefer to use your mobile app? Know your customer inside and out.

Customer insights 

Use data analytics to gain a better understanding of your customers’ preferences and expectations in every step of the journey. Such analysis will also show you what you’re doing right and what you’re getting wrong. Then, use these insights to segment your customers so that you can determine varying expectations of each segment and take actions accordingly.

End-to-end customer journey 

Switch from uncoordinated operating models to a fully integrated one built around customer-centricity. Only a true omni channel framework, integrating online and offline channels, can promise a consistent and seamless experience throughout the journey. One critical factor here is that it’s a dynamic process. You have to continuously evolve your brand to provide end-to-end engaging experiences.

Winning strategies 

First of all, brands need to have an online presence. It’s not only about having a e-commerce site and a mobile app. It also has everything to do with the owned social media. An ongoing dialogue with customers is highly significant in order to provide a holistic omni channel experience. Your customers should have an opportunity to buy in stores, on the web, on the mobile app or on Instagram. They have to be able to pick up, return and exchange the products they buy online. Integrate that online and offline data to have 360 degree view on your customers. Then when in the store, you can remind them of products they left in the cart with a timely push notification.

Second, convenience and usefulness matters. Brands must not fall into the trap of a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. Customers want to get personalized and customized experience. 61 percent of customers are more likely to buy from companies delivering custom content. Then, you have to give people a reason to go to your store or open your app. You have the data, telling you what their customers have been catered to. Take it to another level by recommending products to them based on items they purchased or viewed previously. You can take advantage of personalized push notifications, showing them similar or complementary offers that may trigger their interest.

Last but not least, adopt a mindset that put the mobile first. For millenials, the largest living generation, it’s all about mobile. They grew up with it. They communicate, search, socialize, watch, pay, shop through their mobile. It only makes sense to them if you have a mobile-led omnichannel experience. Therefore, you have to talk to digitally native Millennials with their own language.

Optimize Your Omni Channel Retail Strategy 

Use the analytics to optimize your marketing efforts. You can create different scenarios with mobile marketing automation to target customers more successfully. From customer behaviors within app, web, store, social media to customer stage (first time visitors, loyal customers, customers interested in specific products etc) you can map their entire journey out. Some customers look through many products on the web and then buy only one from the store. Some are in and out shoppers, not spending much time wandering around the store or within the app. By rigorously and repeatedly keeping track of conversion rates, you can figure out which customer segment is more valuable to the company. What kinds of message are probably going to have the best effect on certain segments: Is it interactive push notifications or web push notifications? Maybe e-mail marketing has the greatest impact on one specific group of customers while app-in messages for another. When all is said and done, you can understand who you should be targeting with what kind of marketing strategy. And you both will be able to make loyal customers more profitable and turn disloyal customers into frequent ones.

Conclusion 

More than ever, companies need to ponder how to design holistic and unique customer experiences. The most ideal approach to do this is to adopt omni channel retail strategy deeply rooted in customer-centricity. Such integrated omni channel approach will enable you to quickly respond to customer needs and meet changing expectations over time.

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