As ecommerce becomes ever more prevalent, retailers are looking at increasingly sophisticated ways to build and scale Omni channel, bringing together, at home, online, mobile and in-store into one integrated, efficient experience.
What exactly is Omni channel? It is being defined by Google as:
Omni channel (also spelled omni-channel) is a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar store.
Robert Williams, Managing Director of Magento Silver Partner, Williams Commerce, discusses how the variety of businesses they work with are embracing omni-channel in many different shapes and forms. “Over the last five years, the ecommerce landscape has shifted enormously and continues to become ever more sophisticated. Our ecommerce technology has evolved to offer increasingly complex solutions for both our retail and B2B trade customers. We are creating and implementing complex integration between Magento and systems like AS400, Navision, Sage and many more. The powerful Magento platform hooks up with modules like the M2E Pro enabling retailers to automate control over inventory and listings on channels like EBay and Amazon. We’re also seeing our Cash and Carry customers for instance investing in click and collect and store register online to offer their trade customers a blended experience between depot and online. Getting the omni-channel experience right requires investment and commitment, but the pay-back and customer loyalty generated from surpassing your customers’ expectations can be huge.”
The biggest challenge for many businesses to overcome when it comes to implementing omni-channel is systems and service.
Align your business systems around digital.
Many retailers and wholesalers have in place a number of legacy systems, many of which can be quite old and there can be a real struggle to integrate these more traditional systems with newer ecommerce technology. The Williams Commerce integration team are often finding businesses are running day to day operations across a number of systems bolted on over the years and whilst it is fit for current purposes, if the business is interested in getting serious creating an incremental digital channel, an overhaul of the systems may be a necessary step in order to become a truly digital focused company. Systems like Microsoft Dynamics Nav and Net Suite offer a complete and scalable ERP solution for growing businesses turning over between £1m up to £150m turnover.
Find out more about the Nav to Magento App.
Another sizeable challenge for retailers wanting to offer an omni channel experience is service. Consumers don’t care at all about I.T systems, how they are set up, they just want their problem solved and their products arrive on time.
Consumers now expect a certain standard of connectivity and integration from retailers across social, mobile and local and across the various stages of their purchase journey.
If the systems fail at various touch-points, it can result in a negative customer experience, resulting in potential loss of loyalty.
Other important considerations as part of your Omni channel strategy:
- Bring customer service together. Call centres, website and in-store need to be able to make, adjust, cancel or return orders.
- Ensuring your stock levels sync up – everywhere – what’s available in store, in the warehouse, online?Embrace social media as the next customer service frontier. Listen in and get insights directly from what customers are saying about your products and experience.
- Get on board with product reviews. In this day and age, a potential customer may be browsing in store, whilst surfing the internet for reviews and prices. Your shoppers trust what other buyers have to say more than advertising.
- Get your in store sales staff tech savvy. Provision of IPad for browsing larger online catalogues and placing quick orders and on a larger scale there are trends for in store sensors to alert staff and provide a purchase history to help offer a fantastic level of service.
- Get personal on a digital scale – personalised email, recommendations, promotions and social messages tailored to the customer purchase intent and geographical location can enhance a customer’s affinity with your brand.
- In a nutshell, Omni-channel is really all about helping to accelerate and better connect your customers with the products they want to buy.
There are some great examples of brands who are invested in Omni channel, take Virgin Atlantic, Oasis, Starbucks and many more.
If you’re interested in taking the first tentative steps to creating an Omni channel strategy call Williams Commerce today to discuss. Call us on 0116 326 1116 or email [email protected]