In the past, implementing an omnichannel retail strategy was seen as a costly and complex “nice to have” that ultimately only made things more difficult for merchants.
However, the best omnichannel solutions work for the benefit of the retailers by simplifying the process with two key elements: integration and iteration.
It sounds easy (and it can be!), but unfortunately, the question that we hear most often is, “Where do I start?”
And the good news is, with the right roadmap, it doesn’t all have to be done at once.
Retailers can launch their omnichannel retail strategy almost instantly, and then continue to grow, with a few simple steps.
If you launch and iterate upon your omnichannel solution, you’re able to:
- Build your future strategy with learned customer behaviors
- Reduce costly long-term mistakes by working in shorter sprints (Agile method, anyone?)
- Roll out your offering at a pace that allows time for customer and employee education and adaptation
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the right solution is malleable and built to grow with your needs.
Below, we’ll walk you through just one example of how you can find omnichannel retail success by integrating and iterating.
As you navigate these steps, keep in mind:
- This is just one variation of how you could launch and scale an omnichannel solution.
- If you have multiple stores, the entirety of this approach could be applied to one store, then scaled to multiple locations, or it could be applied incrementally at all locations.
Remember – the right solution is built to work FOR YOU.
Omnichannel Integration Step 1: Decide How to Display Products Online
If You Don’t Have an eCommerce Presence
If you don’t have an eCommerce presence (and even if you don’t have a website), there are options like our Rapid Contactless Commerce solution.
With this option, retailers can upload inventory with or without a product catalog and launch an omnichannel-based webstore that collects orders and payment, and communicates with employees and customers every step of the way.
If you have a website but don’t have an eCommerce presence, you can link to and promote your new webstore on your website so customers know where and how to shop online.
When you get Step 1 off the ground, you’re able to get back online and meet the needs of your consumers quickly, all while preparing for an even better, more integrated experience.
If You Have an eCommerce Presence
If you already have eCommerce capabilities, your omnichannel solution should be able to get you up and running with a simple plug-in or integration development.
Some solutions will tell you this will take months, however, if the solution is built in a way that it will truly help you, it shouldn’t.
*Bonus Tip*: After evaluating their needs, some of our clients with an eCommerce presence start with our Rapid Contactless Commerce solution because the ramp up time is so short, then they scale from there.
Omnichannel Integration Step 2: Unify your Inventory and Customer Communication
Now that you’ve decided which route to take, it’s time to put those integrations to work and begin your omnichannel transition by strengthening your backend OMS (order management system) through ensuring a connection between your inventory & customer communication.
You will be able to set this up with just a few integrations for either option outlined above. Once these are connected, you’ll be able to start selling online with BOPIS, ROPIS, and curbside pickup.
Benefits of SMS & Push Notification Updates
A responsive, real-time communication process that relays information to customers with SMS and Push Notifications is key to a positive customer experience. These messages can include:
- Thank you notifications
- Order progress & order ready updates
- Order cancelation notifications
- Pickup reminders
- Marketing announcements
By the end of 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
It’s paramount to ensure the solution you’re considering offers this communication element.
Once you’ve got this setup – start promoting your new offering to your customers so they can get to shopping!
Omnichannel Integration Step 3: The Mobile Shopping App
As your customers are getting accustomed to your new contactless omnichannel offering, build your mobile shopping app.
(Note: You can also launch your app with Step 2 if you so choose.)
Shopping apps are an integral component of omnichannel retail. In 2020, U.S. mobile retail revenues are expected to amount to 339.03 billion U.S. dollars, up from 207.15 billion U.S. dollars in 2018.
A shopping app also opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to elevating the customer experience:
- Push Notifications allow retailers to expand their marketing reach with a personalized approach. As sales and promotions go live, you can alert customers with Push Notifications based on their interests and past purchases.
- Geofencing is also a great way to personalize your Push Notification strategy by targeting the buyer based on their location. Set up a virtual perimeter that triggers timely, relevant messaging directly to their phone.
As we said, you can launch your mobile app simultaneously with your online offering. The decision depends on your timeline and your customer.
If you feel that your customer base will need time to adapt and learn your new offerings, you can slowly scale from Step 2 to Step 3. If not, feel free to launch all at once.
Omnichannel Integration Step 4: Enhance Your Clienteling
By now you’ve been up and running, selling your products online and on your mobile app.
Your customers shop with confidence – knowing you display accurate inventory levels across your locations and that you’ll send them real-time order updates (and more) after their orders are placed.
Your customers love the new offering, your employees picked up the processes quickly, and you’re moving inventory – this is great news!
Now, it’s time to add the final element of your omnichannel retail experience – a clienteling solution.
The right omnichannel solution is critical to your business because it’s able to provide both centralized operational analytics and behavioral purchasing data to optimize the performance of each store.
This real-time, usable data not only helps communicate the needs of your business from the supply chain, down, it also allows for a level of personalization that brings back the human element of retail with a low-contact, high-touch solution.
Arming your store associates with customer data allows them to provide a level of service that improves the customer experience while creating opportunities for upselling.
With your clienteling solution, you’re able to view your customer’s profile to access information about:
- Customer Preferences – A full dashboard of items they have purchased or saved
- Wishlists – A customer’s wishlist by item
- Top Wishlist Categories – The themes within the customer’s Wishlist
- Recently Viewed Categories – Your store associate can see what the customer has viewed online, giving them the opportunity to follow up on the item in-store.
- Recent Purchase Add-Ons – If a shopper has purchased a pair of pants, your store associate can see that and suggest items related to the purchase, like a belt.
- View Items In Cart – A store associate can see the items left in a customer’s cart online, allowing them to follow up on the purchase in the store.
Keep in mind, you can launch all three of these steps at once, it ultimately depends on your desired timeline.
Implement Your Omnichannel Retail Strategy Today
Omnichannel often feels like a mountain, but if you take it one step at a time, you’ll reach the top in no time.
We offer versatile omnichannel retail software for business owners, regardless of existing technologies or inventory structures.
Regardless of if you’re looking for a phased omnichannel launch or would like to unveil an all-encompassing omnichannel ecosystem at once, you’re able to improve your efforts, effectively manage your customer orders, safely manage your retail business, and prepare for the future all with one system.
To learn more about how you can set up omnichannel retail solutions for your business in just a few hours, learn more and get in touch with us today.