What is Omnichannel Retailing? Also spelled omni-channel, it is a multichannel approach to sales. It seeks to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience, whether they’re shopping online or from a pc or mobile device, or in a brick-and-mortar store. True omni-channel shopping extends from brick-and-mortar locations to mobile-browsing, ecommerce marketplaces, onsite storefronts, social media, and pretty much everything in between.
Exactly what is it? It’s easy to get confused so let’s lay it out in simple terms and see if it’s really that important to your campaign.
It’s the ability to provide a seamless high-quality consumer experience that includes a digital and physical experience. Also having the ability to deliver a product or service across offline or online platforms allowing the use of different devices that customers have to interact with your retail business.
According to Tommy Walker, a writer and editor from Oberlo:
“The most fleshed out definition of omni-channel seen involves allowing in-store visitors to see products and deals on their mobile devices, ship purchases to stores, have in-store purchases shipped to their home, have stores process returns, and allow for exchanges in a physical retail location”.
Now that we know what it means… is it that important to us? In a survey taken recently, we see that only 22% of North American retailers are making omni-channel efforts a priority for their business. What’s interesting is that surveys taken 2-4 years ago showed over double that percentage. Obviously with this type of fluctuation it seems omni has become less important or not at the top of the priority list for most retailers. Or it could be that the more tangible avenues, such as one- click mobile purchasing, marketing, merchandising and fulfillment may still take precedence.
It’s certainly hard to say without the crystal ball, but what we do know is that hardly anyone today shops exclusively through a single medium. We see our youngest generation (Gen Z) plus consumers of all generations buying online, in store and on multi marketplaces. We see the giants like Amazon, Target and Walmart focusing on the omni-channel model and philosophy. As this discipline broadens, so will customer expectations. I believe very soon single channel retail marketing will become obsolete. Once that happens, we won’t look back.
Prepare for it, otherwise you may find yourself left behind.
About the Freight Freak:
John Bevacqua is the VP of Logistics at AMS Fulfillment. His area of excellence is in creating distribution and fulfillment operations that function as a capable interface between suppliers, retailers, and wholesale distributors. His experience includes developing and leading FedEx/ Kinko’s Distribution Services into the FedEx post acquisition, USA Wireless Technologies, and a top Logistics Management company. He has also worked with third party fulfillment companies, preparing him for his current position with AMS Fulfillment.