Uniting sales channels is what makes omnichannel one of the massive strategies of the ongoing digital transformation. The approach involves all sectors of daily life, institutions, markets and information; and aims for a widespread presence of companies and brands within those channels where users and consumers are present.
Offline and online merge
Physical and digital spaces have never been like this interconnected like in this period; and the behaviors of buyers of the traditional economic world they have changed with the evolution of internet and digital innovation.
The rules of one come into contact with those of the other and mutually feed new presence opportunities (sales) and contact with a potentially unlimited pool of users.
The customer has not stopped looking for human contact in the store, he still feels the need to touch the goods he decides to buy (most of the time); however he knows that he is allowed to use digital technologies to create a shopping experience, anywhere and at any time.
What is omnichannel: some examples
We had already intuited the post-modern attitude to multi-channeling with other epochal events, such as:
- Twitter for example, especially following the phenomenon of Arab spring, has contributed to creating both a new information channel protected from government censorship and a new way of demanding direct, immediate and transparent journalism. The microblogging platform was born and evolved to make the individual a potentially authoritative voice; and today politicians, governments, institutions (and companies) use i chirps to gather consensus and stay in touch with your audience, without abandoning traditional channels.
- The ATM, i.e. bank ATMs for withdrawing and depositing cash, are in their own way an example of multi-channel to which financial institutions have opened up to offer their account holders the unlimited opportunity to dispose of their own; as are the sites and apps for accessing your current account.
- Even school and university courses and paths, first of all those carried out by Cepu and E-campus, are part of new customizable training and professionalization solutions.
Omnichannel and Retail
In the sales sector, companies, brands and vendors are grappling with the same strategic reorganization: activities and services move fluidly between online and offline. Presence on multiple channels (communication and sales) is an essential condition for responding to the challenges of our time.
- At the traditional advertising such as brochures, press releases, advertisements in newspapers and magazines, radio and TV commercials and even posters and paper coupons, integrate digital communication plans on websites, e-mail marketing, sponsorship campaigns on social networks and search engine advertisements (SEM and SEO);
- The goods displayed in the physical store are accompanied by those displayed in the digital showcases of new media;
- There advertising it does not stop being mass-market but focuses on the possibility of offering the user hyper-personalization of their needs that were previously unimaginable;
- The assistance telephone number is accompanied by social channels;
- And at the checkout it integrates interactive totems, e-commerce, digital coupons or online promotions also to ensure in-store entries.
The key to omnichannel is interaction
The new media are the new squares and the new markets and it is here that companies and brands talk about themselves and make themselves found. Company blogs and social accounts, filled with content, vision, mission, products and production methods to convince the user to click; to push the user to become a customer for e-commerce or for the shop behind the house.
Linteractivity of these tools, the mutual, bidirectional relationship of information allows companies to walk hand in hand with buyers' expectations.
In support of this we find a immense amount of data and BigData collected over these decades of the web. It is not just a matter of announcing one-way proclamations but of establishing an honest, transparent and reciprocal relationship.
Brands and companies can strengthen their presence but only if they know the paths that the buyer takes, his lifestyle, what drives him to consume, the time he dedicates and the efforts he is willing to make for the company (targeted, digital and mobile incentives and promotions).
Omnichannel solutions and efficiency
Tools and spaces from these channels also enable brands and businesses to establish relationships also with other businesses and therefore strengthen controls on suppliers or rationalize inventory and warehouse stocks, constantly updated, which certainly influences the generally understood mode of production.
What improves is not only the experience with the brand and the product but also the resistance to large hostile bloc of competition on the markets.
In store and online, customers reign:
- Sales channels are increasing and companies must still find ways to providepersonalized experience.
- There vendor challenge is to interpret the behaviors of online users and integrate them into sales strategies that can work well store. The use of platforms AI (artificial intelligence) helps in this difficult step, because it is able to automate the analysis and evolution of behavior by returning real and valid metrics.
- Customers they look for information in the physical store and at the same time they receive additional information from their devices furniture on offers and possibly on the best prices. The organization of production and the omnichannel offer is designed in such a way as to perfectly allocate the availability of the products in relation to the channel considered.
Omnichannel and retail: practical examples
- Consistency of message, image and products: Offline and online branding and colors must demonstrate consistency. In store or on Facebook, the tone, offers and merchandise speak the same language both in store and online (Uniform Customer Experience).
- Order, payment and delivery, (it goes without saying) they must be able to be multi-channel: at the checkout, at the totem or via WhatsApp, payment by card, cash and digital coin, collection at the Hubs or on the curb, are some of these evolutions.
- Use of aggregate information management software on products, inventory, number of sales, suppliers, are business aids in the strict sense, essential.
The exchange takes place both between users and between users and companies (and also between companies) and the presence, although multi-channel, cannot ignore the understanding customer behavior and its intrinsic changeability. The behavior of one can become the trend of many and the trend of many can (and must) become the interest of the company willing to listen and offer what it needs.
[In the text, for simplification, multi-channel and omni-channel have been used, almost without distinction, to understand the differences we recommend reading the blog post of Andre Testa, also to learn more about the theme that binds in two ways Big Data and Omnichannel Strategy you can read this interesting article on bigdata4innovation.it]