Retail Omnichannel Strategy: How to Meet Multi-Channel Demands

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Dive into various approaches to take your brand to the next level with seamless omnichannel strategies. From understanding customer behavior to integrating technology, successful omnichannel approaches prioritize customer-centricity and adaptability, ensuring a smooth shopping journey from discovery to post-purchase satisfaction.

Retail is evolving everyday. Today, it is now a dynamic blend of online and offline experiences, driven by evolving consumer behaviors and technological advancements. Employing omnichannel strategies will help you stay ahead of the curve, so read on for how your brand can meet multi-channel demands.

Key Takeaways:

  • Shopping behavior now revolves around an omnichannel experience, blending online and offline seamlessly.
  • Researching, integrating data, optimizing touchpoints and personalizing experiences are crucial for effective omnichannel strategies.
  • Throughout all phases of creating an omnichannel experience, successful retail brands prioritize a customer-centric approach over a channel-centric one.
  • The evolving landscape includes following emerging omnichannel trends such as AI experiences (AR/VR), enhanced customer experience and optimized omnichannel connectivity.


What is a Retail Omnichannel Strategy?

An omnichannel shopping experience integrates multiple shopping channels to leave a customer with a seamless shopping experience. This can involve synchronizing the online and in-store experience, offering in-store pickup, using mobile apps for shopping and much more. 

It can be easy to mix up multichannel experiences and omnichannel experiences. Here’s the difference:

  • Multichannel: selling through multiple channels, such as a brick-and-mortar store, ecommerce site and marketplaces
  • Omnichannel: selling product and offering a seamless experience through all of its channels


A successful omnichannel strategy offers customers the ability to easily navigate and satisfy their needs through multiple channels, whether in-person, through a marketplace like Amazon or Walmart, with wholesale partners, online or mobile. Through the combination of these channels, a successful omnichannel experience will deliver a consistent brand experience that transcends any channels.

Kate Spade online store page showing options for online buying and in store pickup.

Kate Spade is an example of a brand offering consumers an omnichannel experience. A customer can shop for a product online, see the availability of the product at physical store locations, see information on shipping and returns and access a customer service chatbot.


Developing and Optimizing an Omnichannel Strategy

Once you have an understanding of what a successful omnichannel presence looks like, you can begin to implement your strategies through these steps:

1. Research where your customers are and meet them there:

  • Segment your customers
  • Determine which channels each segment uses
  • Map the customer journey


2. Stand out among your competitors

  • Adapt to consumers’ needs and behavior
  • Offer a wide variety of products, sales and advertising channels and messaging
  • Utilize data and analytics to empower your omnichannel strategy 
  • Provide cross-channel customer support
  • Integrate technology across all channels


3. Make every touchpoint shoppable:

  • Every channel that your brand can be viewed from should lead customers to the option to purchase


4. Bridge the gap between online and offline:

  • Be sure that consumers can transition easily between a physical shopping experience and an online experience
  • Offer in-store pickup, online deliveryand in-store availability options


5. Keep your business values at the forefront:

  • Be sure which parts of an omnichannel experience you should prioritize for your brand
    • If your customers largely prioritize online shopping, be sure that your online experience is at the forefront of all mediums
    • If your customers largely prioritize in-store shopping, make sure your online presence leads customers to in-store options and features 
  • Keep customer value at the forefront of all strategies
    • Though omnichannel strategies include a wide variety of mediums, keep your brand consistent. Be sure to share the same messages and keep your brand values at the face of all mediums.


Patagonia's shopping page shows an omnichannel strategy.

Patagonia is a retail brand implementing omnichannel strategies into their customers’ journeys. Their online site offers options for the customer to purchase and ship the item, pick-up locally or browse used options. Additionally, their brand values are shared through all mediums. Patagonia also reinforces their brand values by emphasizing their slogan “Built for Year, Not Seasons.” This inclusion of different buying mediums in addition to a consistent brand image allow for a seamless omnichannel experience.


Phases of Omnichannel Engagement

A successful omnichannel experience will guide customers easily through 4 phases:

1. Discovery: customers will research products, find detailed information and compare prices across different channels. This can be done through the company website, other retailer websites, online marketplace and social media shopping experiences.

2. Purchase: customers can purchase through website, marketplace or physical store

3. Fulfillment: customers receive the product(s) and make the purchase official

4. Post-purchase: customers debate if they are satisfied with the product and shopping experience. This can be done through reviews, feedback and customer service tools

If your omnichannel strategy is done correctly, customers will easily can move through these steps smoothly.


Top Omnichannel Trends

Curbside pick up is increasingly popular. However, delivery still remains the most popular with consumers valuing faster delivery times. Despite this, it is still important to maintain a strong physical presence. Customers now value contactless payments and in-store mobile connectivity. Overall, a strong strategy in each channel is important to satisfy customers and their needs.Sephora shopping page showing omnichannel options alongside customer options to use technology to shade match.

Sephora is an omnichannel brand that has embraced many new trends in omnichannel strategies. Their online site offers consumers options to find a shade match for the product, receive samples shipped to their home, have the product shipped to them, buy online and pick up in store and use different payment methods.

Video content and social media shopping is also increasingly popular. Retailers can now directly sell products through social media platforms, such as Instagram and TikTok Shop. Work to combine your brand values on these platforms in addition to all other omnichannel strategies.

AI experiences are huge trends that help increase the omnichannel experience. AR/VR tools can offer enhanced personalized experiences in the form of customer try-ons, try before you buy and visualization tools. 

Benefits of Omnichannel Strategy

Here are some benefits that an omnichannel strategy can bring to your ecommerce business:

  • Offers your business easier ways to optimize stock levels and improve inventory management 
  • Brings you a competitive edge
  • Increases sales by offering your brand greater reach, boosted customer satisfaction and loyalty and faster issue resolution 
  • Personalizes the customer journey
  • Creates a unified brand experience 
  • Ultimately, drives sales and increases profit 


Testing Your Omnichannel Strategy

To know if your omnichannel strategies are working successfully, you can ask some of these questions:

  • Can customers browse a product in-store, access it online, add it to their cart and purchase it at a later time?
  • Can customers search your online store for different styles of a product, explore these options on social media and then find the item at a physical store?
  • Can a customer find your product on Amazon and then purchase it from a retailer in person?
  • Can a customer be aware of sales or promotions at an in-store location, on your website and in an app?
  • Are your brand values displayed throughout all channels: in store, online, mobile or in marketplaces? 


Additionally, you can utilize data to see how your strategies are performing. Compare the revenue impact and customer satisfaction when implementing new strategies. With this data, see what works successfully and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Ready to delve deeper into the world of ecommerce and omnichannel strategies? Join us at the CommerceNext Growth Show, where industry experts and leaders share insights and expertise to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of online retail. 

Join various sessions on omnichannel strategies such as “Omnichannel Excellence: From Brick-and-Mortar to Digital Dominance,” “Winning at Omnichannel in a Customer-Led World” and a breakout track in Omnichannel Retail Experiences to learn more. Register now to stay ahead of the curve!