There was a time when everyone in the commerce world was talking about how online retail is going to put an end to physical shopping. But this was nothing more than a rumor that never became a reality. Actually, it turned out to be quite the contrary – successful brand businesses realized that online and brick-and-mortar stores actually spur one another. So, what does this mean for your brand in the commerce universe?
There has been a paradigm shift in the view of different channels. For brand businesses it is no longer a key to success to look at different sales channels independently of one another. An omni-channel approach is becoming more appropriate.
Why should an omni-channel strategy be your no. 1 priority?
Because your customers expect it from you. They don’t see channels. They only see your brand. More importantly: 87% of customers think that commerce organizations are not doing enough to create a comprehensive brand experience.
But your customers are not the only reason why an omni-channel strategy should be important to you. Seeing your brand at the center of operations, instead of focusing on your company as an organization with different sales channels, can increase the efficiency of your entire organization. Various sales channels have a lot in common (e.g. product offerings, fulfillment and customers) and you should take advantage of these synergies.
Also, omni-channel is not a new trend in the commerce industry. Undoubtedly, you already know other brands that have established this kind of strategy and therefore achieved a strong position ahead of the competition. Yes, it will take a lot of work to build an omni-channel business, but it is today’s main challenge in the competitive commerce industry.
Do not just talk about an omni-channel business – make it a reality
So, we answered the question why you need an omni-channel strategy. Let’s move on to discussing key factors that help you make it a reality.
Since an omni-channel strategy is beneficial to your organization and your customers, the key to success lies in both internal and external factors.
Internal success factors: Do not limit it to one department – You have to embed this concept throughout the whole organization. You need a team that is fully dedicated to the omni-channel strategy you have developed. A reporting system will help you keep track of all the cross-channel activities in this scenario. Additionally, and maybe most importantly, everybody in the commerce organization has to develop a strong identification with working in an omni-channel organization.
External success factors: Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and design every touchpoint your customer has with your brand – including marketing, the product selection, fulfillment and customer service – from your customer’s point of view. With this customer-centered approach, your customers will be able to experience your brand as a unified entity.
Get started with your omni-channel business
But to actually get started with your omni-channel business it is crucial to build the right foundation. There are three main pillars to build a system landscape that makes your omni-channel operations successful:
- An omni-channel database will help you keep track of everything that is happening with your customers, products and your performance.
- A systematic reporting tool enables you to share relevant information with your team members, or other departments, and it increases transparency throughout the organization.
- Establish a data-driven work culture to enable your team to work in a data-driven way in their day-to-day business. With the help of an analytics solution, which delivers, for example, proactive insights, everyone is able to make the right decisions every day and therefore contribute to the growth of your brand and your overall commerce organization.
It may seem like a long and arduous journey to develop a successful omni-channel business. And for some parts, it is true. But with all this information in mind and by reflecting and talking about this important topic, you have made your first step to get ahead of the competition.
Find out how minubo can support you on this journey.
Lennard Stoever is co-founder and CEO of minubo, provider of leading commerce intelligence technology. With their omni-channel analytics cloud and professional services, minubo focusses on solving the omni-channel data challenge for brand and retail customers and is a commercetools partner since 2016.