A virtuoso playing requires impeccable knowledge of the instrument. The same goes for business. For example, does anybody know what the omnichannel approach is? Retailers actively use it. But practically no one of them can explain how the method works and which digital business solutions it needs. Perhaps this is just ordering goods online or downloading an app to make purchases convenient. Yes, and no. It is time to make this issue clear and see the bigger picture.
How Does Omnichannel Work In Retail?
How do people usually imagine the buying-selling process?
There is one offline or online store when clients can purchase anything they want. The end. It's a classical single-channel approach.
But wait a minute, we are in the 21-st century. Now customers also consider an opportunity to buy in any place via gadgets. So, a client can easily use an app or a traditional store to satisfy needs. It's a multichannel approach, where retailers use a few communication channels to increase the level of goods turnover.
But what is an omnichannel in retail?
At once, two previous methods stopped to give expected results for retail. They didn't provide enough level of convenience and flexibility for clients. High competition and digital development make it possible to expand the audience in an alternative way. Now retail giants use something similar to the multichannel method but get much more in return.
The omnichannel approach enables customers to buy through seamlessly integrated channels, receiving a high user experience and information about client behavior in real-time. Thus, omnichannel's primary distinguishing feature from other methods is the exchange element between the client and the retailer. The first one gets the most convenient opportunity to purchase, the second one - a wide range of data, which helps to sell again.
This method includes the client's ability to:
buy equally easily in an offline and online store;
communicate with sellers and buy via applications, websites, social networks;
purchase using different devices;
receive home delivery;
use "click and collect" and "self-checkout" options.
Thus, the omnichannel has other features that allow retailers to get more of its implementation. Among them:
All channels of interaction with clients are seamlessly connected. It means that the customer can start placing an order via a laptop, finish via phone, and pick up an order in the closest offline store on time.
Unified interface for all communication systems. It provides a convenient usage.
Mutual exchange. As seen, the seller gains additional benefits from direct and indirect communication with the buyer. Which ones? More on this later.
The application of the method is impossible without the retailer's digital transformation. The emergence of omnichannel is a consequence of tech development. Therefore, only because of modern solutions, this system can perform its functions.
Thus, the omnichannel approach provides the highest level of customer service. It makes traditional retail much more flexible and accessible, opening new opportunities for fast and profitable sales.
Reasons Why an Omnichannel Approach Worth To Be Used
It is time to learn why omnichannel could save retail sales.
Because this is the most successful way to optimize processes by implementing modern technologies? Not only. It gives other significant pros, which help to achieve a primary business purpose. For instance:
More information about each client. Thanks to several well-integrated interaction channels, a retailer receives more up-to-date systematized information about the user's personality and experience.
Boost of marketing campaigns and targeting matters. The correct handling of client data helps make the offer personalized, marketing campaigns - more effective, discount systems - beneficial for both customer and seller.
Efficient investment. Needed customer response to marketing campaigns justifies the involved monetary resources. Thus, the business does not lose an investment but generates it in profit.
Perfect customer experience. This approach makes the customer more enjoyable to shop. The system will work flexibly and quickly. Interaction through different channels will be equally simple. And also, the retailer will always know what its client needs and how to meet the demand.
Improving the performance of internal systems. Introducing digital solutions will make it possible to reduce the time and human resources to service processes. Besides, flexible software enhances the interaction between system components and helps to achieve goals faster.
Omnichannel gives retail all the opportunities that were not available with outdated approaches. Thus, using this method, the seller launches qualitative changes in customer service and almost all systems related to buyers.
Preparing to Omnichannel: Top 3 Software Solutions for Retail
As seen, the usage of omnichannel capabilities is difficult to imagine without implementing digital solutions. The company must solve this issue thoroughly. Primarily, it is worth determining which digital instruments will help to achieve the desired result.
From Monolith to Microservices. The first urgent thing is the usage of microservice architecture for software development. The work of independent components is more convenient. It allows processing countless requests on all interaction channels simultaneously and efficiently improving every service following the updated demand.
Internal Cooperation Software. Retail is not only magnificent showcases but also the hard work of internal systems. To ensure omnichannel, they all need to communicate. A bright example of internal interaction importance is the work of the "click and collect." Due to coronavirus, this option became extremely popular. Its level of sales will increase up to USD 74.2 bln in 2022.
So, the buyer forms the order via the digital channel. The service has to confirm the payment. Then the order information moves to another system, which assigns the nearest store stuff to assemble purchase. It should be ready at the time specified by the buyer. All involved systems must be closely related, making the process fast and correct.
Thus, the more efficient systems work with each other, the better processes will be built. It will improve the user experience.
5G technology. Particular attention deserves updating the information in a real-time mode. And also, the ability to share it from one communication channel to another without loss. Digital solutions that support 5G are needed here. The new generation speed is six times faster than that of 4G. It means that vast amounts of data can be transferred instantly and without distortion.
Thus, omnichannel is a rather complicated instrument, which demands retail digital transformations. Preparing for this approach usage takes time and investment. But, due to it, companies can retain about 89% of customers. This means that the method works and gives retail much more opportunities for development. Therefore, the result fully justifies the effort spent on implementation.