Technological changes introduced over the past decade have revolutionized the way how people shop for products that they want. Just a little more than a decade ago, a salesperson and a toll free number were enough to keep customers happy and take care of all their shopping needs. However, today, there are several channels through which a prospective customer shops for products. For the same reason, merchants have now embraced several channels, in other words, they pursued an omnichannel strategy. They provide a great experience to all its customers, including mobile, laptop, print, tablets and in-store purchases.
This practice of enabling a great shopping experience through different channels is called omni-channel marketing. It is an important concept to understand, especially for the merchants handling Shopify e-commerce.
What is Omni-Channel?
In layman terms, omni-channel means selling products and services through multiple channels that, at the same time, provides an integrated shopping experience to the customers as well. That is, omni-channel provides a seamless experience to the customers, no matter whether they are buying a product through their desktop, mobile, laptop or through a bricks and mortar store.
While all omni-channel experiences use multiple channels, it is important to note that not all multiple channel experiences may be omni-channel. Merchants can carry out social media campaigns, have a user-friendly website and do mobile promotion, but if all these do not work in coordination with each other, then they are not omni-channel.
Need of Omni-Channel Strategy in E-commerce Business
In Shopify e-commerce, it is important to ensure that a customer receives the same form of treatment and, in turn, has similar experience across all platforms that the company is selling its products through. This can be done by instigating the interest of the customers, offering great deals, promotions and addressing other concerns.
It is important to have a holistic view of the customer. A person who is handling a customer in the store should know what products and offers are available online. Similarly, the customer service representative at a call centre should be able to discuss the kind or products available online and their pricing.
Understand whether your Customers are online or off
A study conducted in the past proved that customers who buy both online and offline have 30 percent more customer lifetime value that those who prefers to make a purchase from only one channel. Therefore, it is important for a Shopify merchant to know the platform that people are purchasing from. By offering an option to buy in person to those making an online purchase, merchants can capitalize on these study findings.
In addition, there are now an increased number of mobile users who make purchases through the app. Moreover, the competition is now tough since more number of comparison tools are now available to conduct the evaluation and a purchase decision. Therefore, it is important to have knowledge about such customers and offer the option to make in-store purchase.
Try to understand and reflect on the Benefits of Omni-Channel
Research shows that customers derive benefits from an omni-channel environment primarily because of transparency, competitive pricing, wider product range and a little bit of personalization. Shopify site owners can capitalize on this by making sure that their site includes a comparison of pricing and product from a competing site, real-time inventory data and additional products that the customers may like based on their purchase behavior and preferences. You can even provide a live chat option, flexible delivery options and an option for fast delivery. This will significantly help improve satisfaction of the customer, irrespective of the channel they choose to make the final purchase.
Create a Great Customer Experience
Try understanding the preferences of the customers to generate a great customer experience. Be it in-store shopping or online purchase, you can use the data to analyze what customer preferences are. Understanding customer behavior and common things in journey within a particular customer segment may help design a marketing strategy for individual channels, and also offer specific products to customers for a great experience.
Be ready to suggest a Channel that suits your Customer
Typically, customers tend to fiddle between different channels to make purchases and conduct the final transaction. Therefore, it is important that you suggest the best suitable channel for your customers. As a good step, Shopify site owners should keep all their channels open for the customers so that they can interact with them. This can be through email, text messaging, social media, voice call or video chat. This helps provide a great customer experience. You can also make use of channels like the Shopify POS so that your customers walk down to your store and purchase things personally.
Create responsive website design
Responsive website design ensures that the customer is able to see products and different functions of the website on any screen. It helps enhance the shopping experience, maximize online sales and also build brand equity. Considering the number of users who make purchases through mobiles and desktop, it is important to have a responsive website design that caters to both the types of audiences without hampering their shopping experience.
Provide real-time checklist
The frustration of witnessing out-of-stock scenarios sometimes becomes unbearable for customers. Therefore, to create a stellar shopping experience, it is important to create a real-time visibility of a particular product across all shopping channels. People tend to turn to other retailers if they do not find the product of their choice quickly and easily. They often tend to track the product quickly and order it for as minimum delivery time as possible. Real-time access to the customers offers not only instant information but also helps keep them happy and hence, improve sales.
Send Customers Personalized Content/Messaging
Using the same type of content to interact with the shoppers is a little monotonous and boring. In addition, customers should be greeted and impressed with different messages at different levels of a purchase cycle. For the same reason, it is great to have a personalized message for all customers at some stage of the purchase cycle. For example, you can send a different message to someone who is just browsing through the products and something different to a customer who has selected the products, but is yet to make the final purchase. You must develop content that addresses specific behavior of the target audience.
Provide Omni-channel customer support
Having a world class customer service facility for the customers can create a great impact, both on customer satisfaction, company sales and brand image. Failure to provide customer assistance and the inability of the customer to get in touch with a supportive, prompt, knowledgeable and courteous staff drives them away and also nullifies any future scope of purchase. Companies that embrace omni-channel customer care strategy experience great profitability and lifetime customer value. This ensures that a customer is able to enjoy frictionless shopping and great support throughout the purchase lifecycle.
Omni channel marketing is not just a trend of today, but a lot more. This is typically how small and medium business owners should target customers. It can be done by providing a consistent, personalized shopping experience to all the customers who make purchase through different channels, including in-store purchases, mobile apps, desktop, laptop and tablets. With the above mentioned strategies, you can also adopt omni channel marketing and create a great experience for the customers across all channels.
There are many ways to attract online shoppers to your store and convince them to buy from you, rather than your competitors.
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