Discover how an omnichannel strategy can drive revenue today — and in the future
Whether you’re shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a physical store, there is just one thing that retailers want to offer to customers: the most seamless shopping experience possible. “Omnichannel” has become a retail buzzword, and retailers are hyper-focused on giving consumers the customer experience they want, when they want it, via any channel they prefer.
Today, the retail world is full of options, all intended to provide savvy shoppers with the best price, service, product and convenience. For example, if a senior citizen wants to buy a new television, he may ask his grandchild for recommendations, then go to the store and purchase the television. During his own search for a new television, that same grandchild might spend a long time searching online, reading reviews, adding and then abandoning items in carts on mobile and desktop, before finally purchasing because he got an email with an exciting discount offer. These two scenarios offer a closer look at why omnichannel selling is so important.
Getting started with omnichannel strategies
While many companies jump to implement this strategy, they skip one of the most important steps: defining the actual customer experience. Creating a memorable experience in the customer lifecycle is critical and will map the needs of your customer segment, aligning to your brand values, and creating customer loyalty within your customer base.
To begin, it is important to determine your target customer; consider who your most profitable customers are. Once you have identified this target segment, you must determine the customer’s critical needs. Finally, once you have determined what needs of your target market you will address, it is time to align the critical customer needs with the value your brand can provide.
Just the Facts: In the mid-2000s, the average consumer typically used only a couple of digital touchpoints when purchasing a product, and less than 10% used more than four. Today, customers use an average of six touchpoints, with 50% regularly using more than four. Even though omnichannel stats prove internet presence brings in a lot more revenue, there’s more to it. Aligning the online experience with other channels, like in-store, can ensure your brand does not lose shoppers.
Bumps along the omnichannel road
As you begin to baseline the customer journey for each segment, it’s important to identify the high points and the low points along the path. This includes defining the journey from the emotional perspective of the customer. It is essential to remember that the journey may look different for each customer segment, and this plays a definitive role in influencing their overall customer experience.
A key part of this analysis is stepping back to look at the journey to see if there are any major roadblocks or obstacles consistently causing an increased customer churn rate or cart abandonment. This should be documented to note what the experience was, and how that affected the customer’s perspective and emotional response to the brand and product or service at the end of their journey. If you are looking to create a memorable positive experience, that needs to be reflected at each touchpoint along the way.
And if the experience isn’t remembered, then it’s unlikely you will gain any brand loyalty from that consumer.
A final important piece of the puzzle is considering the communication options your target customers have and how that matches with their expectations. For interactions within the journeys, identify relevant customer channels. Whether the goal is to improve the measure of customer experience, improve brand reputation, acquire new customers or deliver a memorable omnichannel experience, it all starts with standing out.
Just the Facts: With 78% of customers preferring omnichannel customer engagement strategies to help them connect with their favorite brands, focusing on the customer experience helps turn one-time buyers into loyal, repeat customers. With a larger group of repeat customers, this focus on the customer experience extends the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and because it is six to seven times more expensive to gain a new customer than maintain a current customer, it’s plain to see why improving the customer experience and increasing your CLV matters to top omnichannel retailers.
Technology to facilitate an omnichannel strategy
An effective, cost-efficient omnichannel supply chain requires a singular view of both order and inventory coupled with the ability to fill different order types through a single distribution network. This technology solution must be able to seamlessly process orders regardless of whether they are bulk shipments to stores, small parcels destined for a consumer’s home, or in-store pickup.
A distributed order management system (DOM) can process orders from multiple channels and provide a single view of stock levels across channels and reduce out-of-stocks. If an item is out of stock in the store, employees can check and manage inventory at any location and still process it to ship directly to an end consumer. A DOM ensures that orders are processed faster, more accurately and less expensively.
Obviously, a retailer’s goal is to move their inventory; no one wants merchandise sitting still for long. [Remember, just last year?] But when a retailer uses a variety of suppliers, freight services, and serves multiple channels, inventory tracking becomes complex and quite the challenge. An inventory management system helps to monitor the flow of merchandise from the manufacturer to the warehouse, to the point of sale. This simplifies the retailer’s process of keeping a centralized record of items and provides a single source of truth for each product location and number in stock. This extends to other parts of the delivery experience – returns are seamlessly tracked, and errors are minimized.
Just the Facts: If you want to stay competitive, don’t fall behind – in 2022, 40% of brands invested in tech to enhance the customer’s in-store shopping experience. In fact, 91% of US respondents interviewed in a survey of retail decision-makers said that their omnichannel strategy impacts how they think about the overall future of their business.
Extending omnichannel to shipping
To take the next step, retailers must have an omnichannel shipping strategy in place. To easily ship from all inventory sources (such as warehouses, brick and mortar stores, 3PLs and manufacturers), drop shipping capabilities, routing rules, the appropriate integrations and much more must already be in place. Advanced multi-carrier shipping software facilitates these complex routing rules while shortening transit time and keeping delivery promises, not to mention saving precious shipping spend for both shippers and online shoppers.
For brands looking to maximize a limited shipping budget (aren’t we all?), a multi-carrier shipping solution can rate shop at each fulfillment location, comparing only the carriers and services that match that inventory location’s capabilities. In addition, advanced systems can look at a larger number of data sets to maximize the ability to plan for delivery by a specific target date, ensuring external factors don’t interfere with fulfilling delivery promises. Finally, with omnichannel fulfillment locations across the country, multi-carrier shipping software makes it easy to onboard the carriers that make sense for your customers quickly and easily, with the flexibility to provide access (or limit) those carriers no matter the fulfillment center.
Just the Facts: Consumers want convenience, and that is only possible with the framework and technology in place to facilitate it. According to Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights omnichannel survey of 1000+ online shoppers in February 2023, 48% of survey respondents said they used BOPIS to save time or for convenience, and 47% use curbside pickup. 34% ordered to pick up in store to avoid waiting for home delivery, and 32% wanted the product the same day.
ProShip’s parcel shipping solution for omnichannel success
Looking ahead, many leading omnichannel retailers are going to be implementing and testing various consumer fulfillment models and e-commerce strategies. Data shows that there are 218.8 million online shoppers in the US in 2023, spending an average of $5,381 per person. And this number of digital shoppers will only increase in the coming years. By 2026, experts predict there will be 230.6 million people shopping in the US, with the average spend per person expected to increase to $7,250.
The intention of providing omnichannel capabilities is the same whether the customer shops in store or online – meet and exceed customer expectations. ProShip’s advanced multi-carrier shipping software serves this need by injecting flexibility into the supply chain to be able to adapt to the needs of consumers as they change. Top retailers from around the world trust ProShip to take control of complex parcel challenges and optimize shipping strategies, like omnichannel, during peak season and beyond. Don’t just take our word for it – 30% of the Top 100 Retailers who ship parcel trust ProShip. They have implemented ProShip’s flexible and scalable shipping software to deliver a seamless delivery experience leading to repeat customers, brand loyalty and an enhanced customer experience.
Explore more omnichannel fulfillment resources and success stories or learn more about how ProShip’s industry-leading shipping software is supercharging the shipping operations of retailers around the world by contacting our shipping experts today!