From brick and mortar stores to mobile phones, online shops and text message marketing, retail isn’t what it used to be. With so many different shopping avenues that a customer has access to before making a purchase; the question is no longer if you should adopt omnichannel selling strategies, but rather how to do so effectively.
Today’s consumers are equipped with digital experiences and higher expectations unlike any customers from the past and they have a tremendous amount of power over how retail businesses operate. In other words, the decisions consumers make impact the decisions you need to make.
Along with the rise of social media, customers are just a few simple clicks away from sharing their good and bad shopping experiences with thousands of people. Are you ready for that level of customer attention?
It is critical that you are able to respond to and support these customers with all of the varieties of communication that they expect and are used to. Whether this be email marketing, text message communication, in-store events, social media and more; the methods of communication used today are ever evolving and changing. It’s up to you if you want to continue the journey and stay connected to today’s consumers.
With such an importance on catering to the new omnichannel customer, we’ve put together our best actionable advice for you to either implement or improve your own omnichannel retail strategy and help you take your business to the next level.
Step One: Understand Your Customer
From who your customers are to how they shop and why they spend, customers are the core of any business – and you need to keep this at the forefront of your mind to help stay on track with reaching your target consumers.
To start you on the path to understanding your customer, follow these quick pointers:
- Find out who your most profitable customers are
- Find out which customers are most loyal to you and your brand
- Establish where you can connect with all consumers who may be interested in the products you sell
- Know what buyer journeys your target customers may take to make a purchase (this useful infographic should tell you all you need to know)
Knowing your customers in-depth will set you on the right path for building strong and profitable relationships with them, resulting in growth and success for your retail business.
Once you’ve done that, aim to deliver outstanding customer service in all your communication avenues, both online and offline, to ensure you retain your customers and your brand is at the forefront of their mind when they’re ready to buy again.
Step Two: Understand Your Data
You have many different kinds of data at your fingertips, more so than ever before. When planning your budgets, what inventory to stock, how to manage your customers and what marketing strategies to adopt; the data from your POS, CRM system, ERP or back office systems, social media accounts and more can all help you to grow your business.
This valuable data is not there just to be collected, but it needs to be analyzed and understood so that you can better support your target audience. If done so correctly, the result will lead to more enhanced, stronger retail experiences for your ideal customer; ultimately translating to more sales, increased revenues and growth for your business.
Step Three: Establish Your Objectives
With your customers understood and your data analyzed, you are well on your way to building your unique omnichannel retail strategy. But let’s first have a think about your business objectives.
- Are you aiming to sell to customers in-store only while staying in touch via digital communication?
- Or do you want to offer multiple buying avenues for your customers to easily and seamlessly experience buying from your store?
Consider what makes sense for your unique store, but ensure this also makes sense for your target customer and the data you’ve already analyzed. Combining all of this knowledge together will help you establish the best omnichannel strategy for your business.
Step Four: Create Your Omnichannel Strategy
With your goals and objectives clearly defined, start taking steps to make them happen.
- Maybe you’ve realized you need to add one new omnichannel strategy into your business over the next six months?
- Or do you need to consider outside vendors to help you implement stronger technology into your omnichannel efforts?
- Or possibly your own strategy begins with analyzing your existing efforts and seeing what you can do to improve upon them?
Whatever path you must take to either implement or improve your omnichannel retail strategy, ensure your efforts are not lost in your day-to-day responsibilities. If necessary, schedule some time each day to focus purely on your omnichannel journey.
Step Five: Identify Your Unique Omnichannel Roadmap
As retail businesses can vastly differ and you of course have a unique brand and business, there is no one roadmap for retailer success. However, take note of the advice we’ve offered so far and consider the following to ensure you stay on the right track with your omnichannel strategy:
- Never lose sight of who your ideal customer is or what they want from your store
- Keep your store’s core values in mind
- Aim to exceed customer expectations
If you combine all of this with stellar inventory managed by data-driven technologies, then you’re most certainly on your way to omnichannel retail success.
As for your unique roadmap? Let it be yours, let it be unique… but don’t be afraid to lean on others and the technologies available to you to help bring your store to life.
We hope you’ve found this actionable advice useful to implement, develop and improve your own omnichannel retail strategy. All of the tips have been adapted from our recent guide ‘An Introduction to Omnichannel Retail’, written by independent retail expert Nicole Leinbach Reyhle from Retail Minded.
The guide discusses everything omnichannel including:
- Understanding omnichannel retail
- What omnichannel means for independent retailers
- Finding the right omnichannel blend for your store
- The reality of why omnichannel matters
- Actionable steps to help merchants become more omnichannel focused
Download the guide today and find out more about how an omnichannel retail strategy can help you take your business success to the next level.