Omnichannel Retailing – Raising the bar for customer satisfaction
What does my customer want? How can I make him a satisfied customer with my product and service? This is the question that should be present in every retailer’s mind. Because, the answer to these questions will simplify your process of creating business strategies, and help bring your customer back to you each time.
Omnichannel retail is the key.
The increasingly sophisticated customer demands a platform where she/he can feel that shopping is nothing less than a cakewalk. Customers today, are bent upon making the entire system working for themselves. Researchers state that consumers are leading and shaping the whole trend of shopping, with retailers lagging behind. Altering this trend can help you reap humongous benefits at the market.
The approach should be customer-centric
Customers have learnt how and where to purchase a product of their choice. There were 35 million online Indian shoppers in 2014 and this is expected to cross 100 million by the end of the year 2016. 64% of Indians preferred to shop through their smartphones in 2015 as compared to 2014. Still, a considerable number of consumers prefer to shop through the brick-and-mortar stores across the country.
Now, these are the various channels of marketing, known as, multi channel marketing, which are not connected to each other and function as separate entities. An online platform for a brand has nothing to do with its corresponding physical store. Similarly, vice-versa.
If one walks into a store and finds that an item of her choice is out-of-stock, there are no means today to ensure the customer that she will receive it at her house from any other medium the same day itself. Now, this can disappoint the customer and bring down the trust she held with your brand. Here comes the significance of omnichannel marketing.
What is omnichannel?
To know what is omnichannel marketing, let’s take an example. A UK fashion retailer, Oasis, has brought to life the concept. If you walk into one of their stores, you will find sales experts with iPads who will give you on-the-spot, up to date information about the product. And, if any item goes out-of-stock, the staff can instantly place an online order for the same and ship it your home in no time. This is omnichannel marketing.
So, omnichannel retailing refers to the integration of all the various channels of marketing, in order to have an umbrella view of the entire sales and have a single view of things across multiple channels. This will help to set a higher standard for your brand and win your customer’s faith in you.
Is it as easy as it sounds? Not at all.
A vast amount of effort, research, aggregation and segregation, high standards of maintenance and control are prerequisites to achieving this goal. Let’s take a look at the components required to realize this dream:
Centralization of data: The biggest challenge a retailer faces is to have the right inventory model that can help them serve the customers instantly across any channel, be it online or in-store, anywhere across the globe at any point in time. For this, building an inventory model that can reach out to the smallest of the outlets is necessary.
Studies say that omnichannel shoppers outspend single or multi-channel shoppers. So, this information should be kept in mind while investing in building the best inventory model.
Efficient synchronization of the multiple systems involved in the fulfillment program
There should be sync and coordination between systems, starting from the order management, inventory and fulfillment services, product location management and workforce management. Proper information and implementation of the storage, shipment, etc. have to be taken care of. A seamless flow of all this information will make it easier for an order to be placed and delivered.
Get personal with customers and build better brand affinity: Retailers must use a platform to integrate data across omnichannels and obtain real-time data about customer behavior.
Referring to the words of Virginia N.G, Senior Marketing Director, KFC Singapore, “Consumers are engaging with us like never before. We care to consume a lot of digital media alongside the usual media. And with this, there is lot of data is out there. Data is not useful unless it is harnessed, and segmented and dissected until it becomes information that we can use to get insights and to make critical business information. This helped us to understand our consumers better, and to know what offers to push to them at the right time”. From her words you can make out, the primary step towards omnichannel marketing is harnessing data points in the right way to make strategic business decisions.
Understanding the customer behavior and personalization of your brand for her/him, will drive more traffic towards your system. Analyzing the customer behavior over a period of time, and eventually providing her with the products of her choice through the digital media will enhance her trust in your brand.
Merge online and offline
Create a system where the customer will be in one fluid interaction with your brand, and not with any one or more of your stores. Digital will be everything in near future and so, implementing techniques to coordinate online and offline sales is a must.
Have a robust logistics and distribution management
Maintain a highly efficient logistics and distribution management utilizing the market analytics and information to win the customer.
With optimization of your supply chain and drilling down to specific cohorts, the omnichannel marketing dream can be fulfilled. Omnichannel marketing is here to stay and will prove to be a win-win for both retailers and customers.
Primaseller has developed a software that integrates both online and offline stores. This software helps small and medium retail store owners manage inventory and orders for offline, online as well as at marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Flipkart and Snapdeal, all from a single panel. This helps them get the true omnichannel experience which will give them a considerable hike in profit.