Omnichannel commerce, a multiple-channel, integrated approach that gives shoppers an optimized, integrated and seamless experience no matter whether they are shopping in-store, online, or with various devices, is here to stay.
The sizable growth of digital shopping, driven by technological advancements and the onset of the global pandemic, has escalated the need for businesses to consider an omnichannel approach, if they haven’t been using one already.
2Checkout’s fifth CommerceNow online event featured presentations from industry experts on eCommerce, digital marketing, fraud prevention, conversion rate optimization, customer retention, global payments, as well as the need for omnichannel market strategies.
In this article I’ll share the main takeaways from my CommerceNow’21 presentation, “From No-Man’s Land to Wonderland: The Journey to Omnichannel Success.” (You may also register to watch each of the recorded webcasts here.)
Omnichannel, is key to success, but there are hundreds of definitions of what it is – the key, however, is customer experience. The basic features of omnichannel are simple:
- Customers move between channels while shopping
- They expect an optimal experience with each interaction
- Channels and touchpoints need to be managed as a unit
The reality is that your customers will switch channels no matter what you do. An omnichannel approach focuses on creating the best experience with every new interaction those customers have with your product and brand.
The statistics are compelling, as I revealed in my presentation: customers interacting through an omnichannel experience spent 4% more in-store, and 10% more online, with those conversions leading to a 30% higher lifetime value (LTV) overall. In-store purchases for retail are still exceeding online purchases – by $15 trillion worldwide– but the in-store shopping experience is getting more sophisticated with the use of omnichannel strategies.
These new strategies blur the lines among channels, and in-store tactics work to their advantage in the following ways:
- In-store product catalogue
- Physical store as display location
- Sales occurring on every platform
While companies may still opt for a single-channel model (physical store or website shop), or a multichannel model (a purchase-centric approach where only one channel can be used at a time by the customer), the omnichannel model is increasingly the most successful approach. The bottom line is that the secret to any model, including omnichannel, is to follow a path on three essential “stepping stones,” which are part of a continuum.
These stepping-stone components, consist of multichannel, channel personalization, and finally, the omnichannel ecosystem. Ultimately, we shared what it takes to get to omnichannel success, using Amazon and Disneyland as examples of two top companies who use these components in concert to create the ultimate customer experience:
- Consistency in every customer interaction
- Availability, by offering choices
- Channel neutrality, with no competition among channels
- Context optimization, where the value of your omnichannel approach is maximized by using different channels for different things
- Seamlessness between channels, which requires effective back-end integration.
For companies wondering how to begin – or optimize – their omnichannel approach, here are some “do’s” and “don’ts” of implementing it:
- DO align on a North Star metric based on strategic and customer goals
- DO look beyond the horizon; focus on the mission of the company and how you can differentiate
- DO remember that customer expectations and brand positioning matter
- DO set up cross-functional teams right from the beginning of your omnichannel journey
- DON’T build a “funhouse” that will only disorient your customers. Think about what channels really matter
- DON’T take the meaning of omnichannel too literally; it’s not ALL the channels, it’s the key two to three players
- DON’T forget to focus on what parts of omnichannel to prioritize first
- DON’T neglect approaching your investments with critical thinking involved—make sure they are in line with your overall strategy
You can find my entire session here if you want to learn even more about reaching omnichannel success. And if you want to get more insights from some of the greatest minds in eCommerce, digital marketing, CRO, and customer experience shared at CommerceNow 2021, sign up here to access all the sessions.