Omni-channel (or omnichannel) refers to a sales approach that uses multiple channels to reach customers and provide them with an excellent shopping experience. It covers all the ways brands and customers interact with each other.
Whether they are shopping at a physical store, by phone or mobile device or laptop, an omni-channel approach is designed to make shopping as smooth as possible. It means that the end-to-end process – from distribution and promotion to communication and sales – is well-integrated.
There’s no question about it: customers with a positive experience with a brand are more likely to stick to the brand and even recommend its products and services to other people. With an omni-channel approach, a customer can easily contact a customer service representative to ask about a product.
Using omni-channel services, a customer might check the brand’s website, add a product to their cart using his/her mobile phone, but then drop by a physical store to pick it up. The omni-channel approach ensures that the customer will achieve a seamless shopping experience regardless of the channel used to connect with the brand.
Omni-channel vs. Multi-channel
Both omni- and multi- are prefixes that suggest “many” or “multiple.” Omni-channel goes beyond utilizing many channels. It is designed to integrate all avenues to ensure that customers will be able to make transactions with their preferred brand in any manner that they want.
When a brand adopts an omni-channel approach, details entered by customers through one channel will be integrated with all other channels, unlike in a multi-channel approach wherein customers must re-enter their details whenever they use a particular channel.
How to Build an Omni-channel Strategy
An increasing number of businesses are now adopting the omni-channel approach to provide an excellent customer journey. To get started, here are some of the things to consider:
1. Know your market
It is not just about knowing the demographics of your target audience, but also about identifying the platforms or mediums they usually use to conduct business with brands. It is also essential to know which devices they prefer, so you will know where to focus on in terms of marketing and get the most out of that channel.
There are different ways to know your market, one of which is through Google Analytics. You will learn a lot about your potential customers – from the channels they usually use, to the pages they visit within the website before buying a product or availing themselves of a service.
2. Make it easy for customers to buy products
Nowadays, customers prefer using different channels, and an effective omni-channel strategy means making sure that customers will be able to shop seamlessly, whatever channel they use. If you keep an online presence through a website, Facebook, and Instagram, make sure that your target market can access your offerings easily.
3. Integrate offline and online presence
When using multiple channels, it is crucial that the transition among channels is as smooth as possible. The key is to provide an excellent customer experience, so if customers can order a product online and drop by your physical store to pick it up, this may be a convenient and time-saving process for them. That translates to happy and satisfied customers and, hopefully, to them continuing to do business with you.
Building an omni-channel strategy goes beyond just creating and maintaining multiple channels that enable customers to interact with your brand. It is also essential to integrate all channels to provide seamless transactions and, eventually, a pleasant shopping experience for your customers.
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