7 min read

What is Omnichannel Commerce? and how does it work?

In this article we will cover what is Omnichannel commerce, how it works and how you can utilise it for your business.

This is a very powerful and impactful technique many of the top E-Commerce companies are using to drive more sales and to drive a smooth and well designed experience for their customers.

What is Omnichannel commerce?

Omni-channel commerce is the technique of using a multichannel approach to focus on providing a seamless customer experience to help the client who is shopping online from a desktop computer to a mobile device, or inside an actual store (also known as a brick-and-mortar store).

Some examples of how Omnichannel commerce works.

Omnichannel is a widely used technique, but it can be complicated to run effectively, here are some examples of how it can be used.

Instagram to your store

One solution to implement Omnichannel commerce may be to list your products for sale on Instagram and when a potential customer arrives to your website after clicking the link from Instagram, they are shown the product along with related products.

This approach utilises Instagram to pull traction towards your store and your website serves as the assistant to help with the purchase of the product or a similar product.

Comparing Omnichannel to other types

So there are other forms of techniques used to help drive traction and sales to your business, below we will list what those are and how they differ.

So before jumping into the list, in case you dont know what a channel is, a channel is a path you are using to reach people. In marketing, this term is commonly used. An example of a channel could be your Facebook page, or your website.

1. Single channel commerce

This means you only rely on one channel to drive traction and sell your products. Perhaps just having a Shopify store would be enough.

Some examples would be only selling in your physical Brick and mortar store, selling on E-bay or just on your own website.

2. Multi-channel commerce

This means your business is selling products from multiple channels, so you could have a physical store, along with an online store where you sell.

Having more channels to sell your products requires more effort and strategy planning, but greatly increases your exposure to more people, which in turn helps to drive more sales and revenue 🚀.

3. Omni-channel commerce

Finally, we have Omni-channel commerce, this is simply an extension of Multi-channel commerce, except it connects the customer's journey across multiple channels.

For example, i visit a store and see a pair of shoes i like, the store could have a QR code next to the product to learn more and see if they are available and in stock. The online store opens and I can see the shoes there, then i can quickly choose the size and request a fitting from the website. In a few minutes a sales assistant could bring me the pair to try on, and then i could even purchase the product form the online store using Apple pay.

This is an example of multiple channels working together to enhance the experience. So this approach has many advantages that we'll cover in the next section.

Some of the advantages to investing in Omnichannel

In this section, we'll discuss some of the advantages.

Customer contact capture

With an example mentioned above where the potential customer could scan a QR code, at this stage if the product was not available or their size was not there, they could have subscribed very easily to wishlist to be notified of when the product would be made available.

Also since the customer saw and actually interacted with the product in the store, they would be more likely to commit and already purchase the product once made available, or even then and there in store commit.

They could have also been prompt to subscribe to the online store to receive a special one day promotion where they could connect quickly with their Facebook or Instagram account, and then purchased something else in store using the account they already had.

Connecting these channels opens so many possibilities that make it super easy for the store and the customer to connect and share information. It would also mean not needing to type in an email address at checkout in store if the customer already had an account.

Deeper customer impact

Impacting customers is an amazing way to build customer loyalty and respect. When do you something for your customer that surprises them or when you provide a service beyond what they have experienced before, you customer falls in love with your brand and in some cases becomes a promoter of your product.

With Omnichannel commerce, you can deeper your customer impact in a number of ways, one nice way is the seamless pairing of their account when they are in your brick and mortar store with their connected online account. This opens many doors to enhance their experience such as express checkout, applying discount codes easily from the app at checkout, interacting with products throughout your store or even sending them an email after their store purchase to see how everything went.

Since the channels are working together, you can tap into many different channels to curate and provide a seamless experience your customers will enjoy.

Customer convenience

Convenience in my opinion is one of the most important factors when developing a company for your customers. You want to make the customer experience as smooth and as enjoyable as possible. This in turn will give you an unseen advantage against competitors and encourage more of your customers to leave you an amazing review based on the overall convenience you provide to them.

With Omnichannel commerce, convenience is easily achieved since it will central all of your communication of an individual customer into one seamless experience.

An example of this could be when the customer visits one of your brick and mortar stores, they see a pair of jeans they like, but cannot find their size on the rack, there they can scan a QR code, open your app and quickly see if their size is available either in the current store or a nearby store. you could even provide the ability for them to request an online order to bring their size to them.

Boosted revenue and sales

Similar to some points mentioned above, you can engage your customers in a number of interesting ways depending on their behaviour.

Based on their purchase history in-store and online, you could start developing a smart recommendation persona for them, so when they visit your website, the products shown to them would be more relevant with a greater opportunity to encourage more sales along with more engagement.

Over time you could start awarding discount codes and vouchers to your customers when releasing a special collection of products to encourage already loyal and near loyal customers to discover more of your products and to drive more sales.

Getting started with Omnichannel

To get started enhancing your business to work in the way of the Omnichannel, there are some great options available.

But since you are on Embedery.com, we provide an Omnichannel experience suite, it just requires some configuration to get started. We are working to enrich the overall experience and make it into an amazing solution, and we'd be very grateful to you if you told us what you would expect.

So with establishing an Omnichannel experience, you need a centralised CRM system, this will store a reference to who your customer is in a centralised place, so you can get an overview of who they are, what customer segment they should belong too which would then help you define a plan on how those customers would be included in your Omnichannel experience.

Once you have a CRM system with the ability to start segmenting customers based on their behaviour as well as their characteristics, you can start thinking about way to engage them with your product.

Also based on their behaviour, they can join new segments that would bring them deeper enhanced experiences. You can do a lot of experimentation here along with deep tracking to really understand if the flows and experiences you are defining are hurting or benefiting your company.

I mentioned hurting above, since we are engaging with the customer we need to ensure the experience is smooth, makes sense and of high quality, otherwise, they would have a lower opinion of the product.

So continuing on, now you need a simple way to establish a user flow (aka. a user journey) to engage your customers, this could include showing a popup on a certain webpage, sending an email, mobile app notification or changing some content on a page.

The last thing I would recommend would be some way to have a global perspective over all of your customer segments, user flows and metrics you are trying to impact. This helps give you a clear understanding of the effectiveness of your effort and to clearly know where to improve.

The potential here is huge and really just requires your imagination to implement an amazing and effective Omnichannel experience for your customers along with helping you achieve your business goals and building loyalty.

I hope you enjoyed this article, we will be releasing more like this one over time and enhancing our older articles to stay relevant.