Going the omnichannel retail?
Why is it important in today’s markets?
Omnichannel retail may sound like something that is just a trendy buzzword, made-up to describe an existing process - but it is far more than that. In this increasingly tech-savvy world, companies have come to rely on this process to ensure that customers get the absolute BEST experience. Many companies have been switching to an omnichannel approach, where the customer gets the best of a few different worlds.
Omnichannel retail simply means that than working in parallel, different channels of communication work together so that the customer benefits from engaging in different ways. The idea for this approach is to make the customer experience seamless. For example, if they wanted to start their experience on their smartphone and then finish on desktop they could do this.
What are the benefits of omnichannel retail?
The main benefit for any retail brand offering this experience to customers is that if they have a good user experience when it comes to finding, choosing and buying something and getting it delivered, they are more likely to return. Rather than everything being the same on each channel, some companies ensure that the experience picks up where it left off on each device.
Omnichannel retail gives most of the benefits to the customer. Imagine if you were a customer who wanted to buy a dress. Your phone battery goes while in the middle of the shopping process. No worries, as your brand has an omnichannel approach you can log straight in on desktop and pick up from where you left off. If this is not an approach offered by the company, the customer is likely to get frustrated and not bother using them again.
Which retail brands use omnichannel retail?
Mulberry have recently been reported to be bolstering their omnichannel approach. They recently opened their flagship store in London. Even though they were looking to achieve this goal, their main goal is still to increase their online presence. To achieve this, Mulberry have teamed up with Farfetch.
The omnichannel approach works well with retail companies because it is easy for them to align all of their content to fit. One of the companies that use the omnichannel approach best is Disney. Because let’s face it: Disney have a lot of fingers in a lot of pies. With Disneyland Parks being one of their main income earners it is no surprise that this is one of the areas of the company they use the omnichannel approach in.
Firstly, the website is visited by the potential customer. They will navigate around it to try and find the best deal they can on a visit to the park. It is more than likely that the customer will book directly through Disney. There is a tool called “My Disney Experience” that makes this incredibly easy. You can even select where to eat. Once you get to the park - the approach does not stop. You can use the mobile app to check-in and find out the directions to and queue times for each ride.
What are the risks of an omnichannel approach?
If the omnichannel approach is done right, there shouldn’t really be any risks. But there are obviously areas where this will have some form of impact. There can be some drawbacks for a company looking to put this strategy into place. If for example, a brand or company starts to stretch themselves too thin, this may be detriment to the content on each channel and the quality might decrease.
Another issue is that brands need to ensure if they have an omnichannel retail approach they also need to have an omnichannel brand protection approach. Securing your brands name and brands image so that copycats cannot use them is a vital part of business. But if a company is going to venture into having the customer experience available across different channels and devices they will need to ensure that they have made moves to secure each one.
There are a number of brand protection issues that can be omnichannel, but luckily there are solutions to help secure them. For example, our test purchase service can help any brand using the omnichannel approach with their sales. We can set up test purchases across all of the channels and markets to give insight into which works best.
What are the risks of omnichannel retail?
While the idea of a unified commerce space across multiple channels may be appealing to the customer, this can easily present a brand protection nightmare for the brand. First and foremost this is a numbers game. With more channels live and available to customers it means the company in question have more to protect from fraudulent persons. We’ve seen how easy it is for fraudsters to create apps exactly the same as the brand’s to cheat customers out of money, and they can perform this trick on other channels too.
Another risk is that brands do not realize the importance of publishing a MAP (minimum advertised price). This helps to protect the relationship with legitimate resellers and stops unfair competition between them.