The pandemic has heightened the need for small- to medium-sized businesses to rapidly scale up their online presence. Now more than ever, consumers expect merchants to respond faster, keep up with changing demands, and evolve in real-time to provide solutions to issues like supply chain interruptions and delivery challenges.
To stay afloat, you need an omnichannel shopping experience.
Here, we’ll discuss what ‘omnichannel’ means in today’s rapidly changing eCommerce landscape and share strategies for strengthening your sales channels or adopting new ones to meet consumers’ shifting needs.
What Is An Omnichannel Experience?
Omnichannel is a term that describes a fully integrated shopping experience. It blends the myriad of shopping methods available to consumers–including in-store, online, phone, social shopping, and more–for a seamless, holistic experience.
An omnichannel customer experience refers to the amalgamation of all the individual customer touchpoints over all the channels we just mentioned. This allows a customer to seamlessly pick up where they left off on one channel and continue the experience on another.
You likely already have multiple channels for customers to shop on (and if you don’t, hopefully you’re working quickly to add them), but are they integrated? It takes a mix of technology and strategy to build the kind of truly omnichannel shopping experience that the modern customer demands.
Here are four ways to strengthen your omnichannel strategy:
1. Adapt to Brick-and-Mortar Closures
If there’s one thing that’s certain right now for brick-and-mortar retailers, it’s uncertainty. The doors have reopened at stores across the United States, but will they stay that way? And if they do, will shoppers be comfortable enough to walk through them?
We can’t depend on either of those answers to be a resounding ‘yes.’ So, we must institute new methods for extending the customer experience beyond checkout and get our products into customers’ hands reliably, and at scale.
In its recent Commerce Talks series for merchants, Shopify reported growth of more than 120% in local delivery orders since mid-March. Before the pandemic, growth in this area was flat. This tells us customers have quickly adopted a new expectation for how they receive purchases: they want them delivered–not by a postal carrier, but by your company directly.
It’s a new step in the omnichannel experience many retailers haven’t been compelled to think about until now. But it’s one that’s necessary if you want to compete in the “new normal” of eCommerce. You can meet the demand by showing local delivery as an option at checkout; learn more about enabling local delivery for Shopify here.
2. Provide More Options For How Customers Can Shop
The omnichannel shopping experience consists of dozens, or even hundreds of user interactions, each of which results in an action item for you to tackle.
If a user clicks on an ad but doesn’t convert, for example, they now need to be hit with a retargeting ad. If a user completes checkout, their order now needs to be processed, shipping details sent, and fulfillment completed. There’s no way to successfully execute the omnichannel experience if the majority of these tasks are being done manually.
Harness technology to automate repetitive-but-necessary tasks like sending transactional emails, processing orders and scheduling sales events. Shopify has a wealth of apps to help with these tasks and more. We share a dozen of our favorites in this post.
Shopify Plus Merchants can also take advantage of Shopify Flow, a tool that uses if-then logic to automate common sales processes. Shopify estimates that its merchants have saved an estimated 22 million labor hours using this tool.
4. Personalize At Every Touchpoint
An omnichannel shopping experience is, by necessity, a personalized one. In addition to syncing all of your sales channels to facilitate a seamless shopping experience, take advantage of the full range of user data you have access to to personalize things like product recommendations, marketing messaging and promotional offers.
Also, ensure that your customer data isn’t siloed. This happens when you have different databases for different data sets. For example, your email marketing platform stores email activity while your eCommerce platform stores purchasing activity. Instead, use a central CRM that aggregates a single view of the customer across all touchpoints. You can’t provide an omnichannel experience at scale without this.
Get Expert Help Building Your Omnichannel Sales Strategy
We’re passionate about helping lifestyle brands like yours thrive online. Whether you need to quickly establish a digital presence for your brick-and-mortar shop or you’re looking to take your online sales to the next level using new marketing strategies, we’re here to help. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.