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How to create a successful omnichannel strategy

Earlier, we have argued that omnichannel in retail is valuable.To make sure you get most value out of implementing an omnichannel business model, it is relevant to develop a clear and distinct strategy. What do you want to achieve with the implementation of omnichannel as a business model, and how can you accomplish this?

July 20, 2020
By Søren Brammer Riis

Are you unsure exactly what omnichannel is and entails? Read our in-depth answer to the question: "What is omnichannel?", here.

Of course, it differs from business to business what an omnichannel strategy should look like to be most successful. It depends e.g. on what products you sell, the demand, and what type of customer you want to reach.

However, the overall purpose most retailers want the strategy to fulfill is the same: to give customers a consistent and seamless buying experience across all sales channels. And of course, that achieving this is done in the most profitably way. Therefore, you must focus on the collaboration of your various channels.

It is not only relevant to work with webshop SEO and well-written content to provide personal customer service in your physical store. It is the overall customer experience across your channels that should be the main focus.

We have collected several overall considerations that are beneficial to creating a successful omnichannel strategy for your business.

  1. How to make the shopping experience more convenient for your customers?
  2. How to minimize the cost of shipping and delivery per customer in your webshop?
  3. How to make sure your customers return to your shop?
  4. How to optimize the customer experience across channels?


1. How to make the shopping experience more convenient for your customers?

Today, customers expect convenience - they want to decide where, when, and how they shop at your business. Your ability to offer your customers a convenient shopping experience is crucial to creating customer loyalty and ensuring that your customers return to your shop and not your competitor's.

To create a convenient shopping experience for your customers, you should let them control their own buying process as much as possible. Offer your customers the opportunity to choose for themselves - do they want to pick up their purchased products in your physical store? At a different location? Or do they want it delivered to their home address? This way, you adapt to your customers' busy and diversified everyday lives.

For some customers, convenience means getting access to their purchased product as quickly as possible. In this case, it is relevant to implement Click and Collect  in your business. With Click and Collect, your customers can order a product online and pick it up almost immediately after in your physical store. By doing this, you do not only meet your customer's needs; you also bring them to your physical store, where you have the opportunity to create additional sales. An analysis conducted by the e-Commerce portal internet Retailing shows that between 60-75 percent of Click and Collect customers end up putting more products in their baskets when they are in your store to pick up a pre-ordered item.

In addition to flexible delivery options, you should offer your customers flexible return options. For most people, return options are a natural part of online shopping, and it is crucial to whether or not they return to your webshop. An analysis by Klarna shows that 84 percent of 2000 respondents would not purchase again in a webshop that did not offer flexible and free return options. Therefore, you should provide your customers with free returns and the possibility of returning in both your physical store and by sending it to your warehouse.


2. How to minimize the cost of shipping and delivery per customer in your webshop?

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, you can also minimize shipping and delivery costs with Click and Collect. However, Click and Collect is not attractive to all kinds of customers. For some, it is not about receiving the product as soon as possible but about having it delivered to the home address. Therefore, it may be relevant to consider alternative ways to minimize shipping and delivery costs in your omnichannel strategy.

The keyword is additional sales. The more your customers purchase in your webshop, the lower the cost ratio for shipping and delivery is. With permission from your customers - for example, via a login to your webshop or a loyalty program, you have access to data that can give you an insight into your customers' purchase behavior. You can translate this data into personalized recommendations, and with these recommendations, you can influence your customers to add extra items to their baskets. For example, by displaying products the customer has previously looked at or products that other customers with the same buying behavior have bought.


3. How to make sure your customers return to your shop?

To ensure your customers return to your shop, you should think of them as more than just the first sale. Most products have a limited lifespan, and your customer will most likely need the same product or similar products again after a while. Therefore, it is relevant to work with predicting burn rates. With insight into your customer's purchase history, you can quite accurately predict when there will again be a need for a new shampoo, toothbrush, or something else. At that time, it is relevant to reach out to the customer again - for example, an email with an offer on the shampoo or toothbrush they have earlier purchased.


4. How to optimize the customer experience across channels?

There must be synergy between your channels. If the news and offers on your Facebook page are not the same as those on your webshop, there is a possibility that your customers are not able to find the exact product they clicked on. This might result in them turning to your competitor to find the product they were looking for. Therefore, streamlined communication is undoubtedly relevant to keep in mind when developing your omnichannel strategy.

In addition to consistent communication across your channels, you should make sure that your prices and product range are identical. It will have a negative impact on the customer experience if your customers purchase a product in your physical store and then later find out that the product is cheaper on your webshop. Or if, after researching on your webshop, they visit your physical store and find out that the product they were looking for, is not to be found there.

Ensuring a solid omnichannel strategy requires that you continuously work on optimizing the customer journey across your channels. Therefore, you should think of your omnichannel strategy as an ongoing work process that must be continually updated and adapted to your customers' needs and wishes. This will ensure that your customers have a good experience when they visit your shop (or webshop) and, therefore, most likely will return. 

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