Executing Omnichannel

How to Connect Your Digital & Physical Business Needs

Introduction to Omnichannel

Introduction to Omnichannel

Be everywhere your customers are

Point of Sale Web Application and eCommerce Conversion Optimization

It's not e-commerce anymore–it's just commerce. Forget about breaking sales down by channels and devices. Today's consumers demand a purchasing path that is seamless and hassle-free, whether they are shopping online or buying in-store.

That is the essence of omnichannel. It's a business model in which the shopping experience continues without interruption from one channel or platform to another.

The word "omnichannel" has become synonymous with commerce. Everyone knows they need to do it, but few do it well. That's because many companies don't understand how to properly implement an omnichannel system.

The purpose of this guide is to arm you with everything you need to know about omnichannel so that you can design and implement a successful strategy that converts browsers into buyers.

What is Omnichannel and Why is It Important?

What is Omnichannel and Why is It Important?

“Omnichannel (also spelled omni-channel) is a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar store.”   — TechTarget

Omnichannel is a sales approach that connects all channels (in-store, on a desktop computer, on social media, on mobile) and gives your customers a great experience every time they interact with your business.

In theory, that doesn’t sound too hard. You set up a website, make your social pages, and run your store. End of story…right? Well, no, because customers are continuing to demand a more personalized shopping experience.

Consumers want to be able to shop online and pick the item up in-store, or shop in-store and have the product delivered to their house. Demand for transparency is increasing; people want to be able to research products, see all available variations, and read reviews on the same page of your site. Moreover, customers want to quickly purchase products and be told when they will arrive, all while on their mobile devices.

Most online stores operate two separate websites to handle customer demands. Customers are researching, reading reviews, and seeing different product combinations or variations on site A, only to be shoved over to site B when they want to actually purchase the product. That’s cumbersome, and we all know that customers have short attention spans.

The key to building a brand is ease of use and interconnectivity of information. Don’t think of omnichannel as your brand being consistent across all platforms. Imagine it as your customer’s history and your product data being connected across all platforms.

“Coinciding with fostering brand loyalty, it’s becoming imperative to quickly credit consumers after a return. Increasingly, customers want the returns process to be as easy as the initial transaction. In fact, the ability to buy online and return in store “is emerging as a core consumer preference,” having increased in popularity by 50 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to survey results from JDA Software. By tangibly handing over the good and ensuring the return, consumers get a greater sense of control and can receive credit immediately.”   — The Retailer’s Atlas for Omnichannel Returns by FedEx 2017

What Does it Take to Create a Comprehensive and Scalable Omnichannel Strategy?

What Does it Take to Create a Comprehensive and Scalable Omnichannel Strategy?

Content Management System Integration and Omni Channel Digital Marketing

Look at what marketing channels you’re currently using and decide which ones work and which ones don’t. Reallocating funds from print to online can make a world of difference, for instance. However, you need to have people available to facilitate the online strategy. Everything moves quickly online, and your team has to be able to keep up. Otherwise, it will result in a poor customer experience and a wasted investment.

And remember: your success depends on your data. If you have an accurate account history on your customers, such as purchase history, payment and product details, locations, and stock levels, then you have the basic tools to blow your competitors out of the water.

Understanding your dataset and using an adaptable platform allows you to connect with your customers via every channel and will determine the success your business has online. It’s not about “overservicing” anymore; it’s about making it “easy.”

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Pursuing the Perfect Omnichannel Strategy

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Pursuing the Perfect Omnichannel Strategy

Here are at eight common mistakes that keep businesses from providing a great omnichannel experience that wows their clients:

Not properly connecting product and customer data. Running a store and a website completely independent of each other is an outdated methodology; such a business would miss out on huge opportunities and risk losing sales to competitors. Make sure your system can manage massive datasets to track and provide accurate and current account and product details to your customers on any platform. 

Having inaccurate stock information. Make sure your stock details are updated to accurately represent what’s in store. Many large retailers purchase stock and inventory management software that operates separately from the rest of their business tools. You need a platform that is adaptable enough to power your end-to-end business, no matter the scale. Drupal Commerce has this capability out of the box; its data modeling is powerful enough to sync your stock and inventory across systems and locations in real time. Stock levels sync instantly for two reasons: 

  • Drupal Commerce has a native add-on Point of Sale that’s web-based, which aligns the sales and stock levels instantly. 
  • Drupal Commerce is API-first and ties into Amazon, eBay and Google Shopping in real time.

Having disconnected channels. Consumers want a comprehensive shopping experience, so systems need to be up to date. Make sure your data translates between all operating systems. Otherwise, people will just end up shopping elsewhere.

Offering discounts only on one channel. Discounts and sales should be applicable both online and in-store. Any coupons, or coupon codes, should be usable on every channel customers can access. Any disruption in this process will create friction and leave a negative impression with your customers.

Making customers do extra work. Make it easy for consumers by implementing a system showcasing the nearest stores (if there are multiple locations) and the availabilities of the products they are looking for. This creates a smooth shopping process. Imagine researching on your phone while walking into a store that you’ve never been in before, knowing exactly what you’re looking for and where it is! Not only would you be more inclined to buy that product, but you’d probably check that same store for something similar that they might sell. This cultivates a system of returning customers who have brand loyalty.

Not being transparent. Customers should be aware of processing fees and be able to track their purchase delivery times. Your system doesn’t need to offer the lowest shipping cost, it simply needs to be powerful enough to show your customers where their package is in the delivery process. Connect to the shipper’s system and display the information. As long as you keep your customers in the loop and send them updates, they’re going to return and shop again.

Underestimating the importance of mobile. Your customers should have an extraordinary experience on every channel they interact with your business on. Ensuring your website or online store is mobile-friendly means customers can have an experience that’s designed for the device they are using. On a mobile phone, they should be able to easily navigate your site with only one or two fingers and easily read your content on a four-to-five-inch screen. Having a user experience (UX) professional design your website to be mobile-friendly will allow you to create a unique, smooth, and easy shopping experience for your customers.

Making assumptions without concrete data. Don’t overestimate your knowledge of your customers. Make sure you have tools like Google Analytics, HotJar or SEMRush set up to track the success (or failures) of your omnichannel strategy. Once your systems are set up and you can track the traffic flow through each channel to see who’s converting, you can analyze your findings and adapt accordingly. This will prove essential for the long-term success of your business.


How Drupal Commerce Can Help You Avoid These Mistakes

How Drupal Commerce Can Help You Avoid These Mistakes

Integrated Drupal eCommerce Solutions and Drupal Web Services

Being in control of your own data is where the power lies. When you turn over the keys to a hosted or SAAS solution, you’re instantly limited by your platform’s development roadmap. 

With the freedom of open source e-commerce technology, you can manage all your business systems from one central data source. This removes delays in stock syncing and allows for immediate updates to be shared across all channels. 

Drupal Commerce allows you to create a cohesive brand across all sales channels, devices, websites and retail tools throughout the entire customer experience and be in control of the outcome. 

Areas In Which Drupal Commerce Excels:

Areas In Which Drupal Commerce Excels:

  • Set up content, layout and functionality to respond to the device being used, such as smartphones and tablets.
  • Serve up multiple sites, each with different branding and/or content.
  • Provide different content to users in different geographic areas (for example, this can be done by IP, postal code entry, or registered user).
  • Generate personalized content based on customer data.
  • Set up microsites for one-time marketing campaigns.
  • Give distributors or franchisees their own portals, leveraging parts of the main site with the ability to add their own content.

Please note: These are just a few examples of what can be done, and all from one database and one platform, if desired. 

With Drupal Commerce, your entire business can be run through your website. Since Drupal is a content management system, all of your content can be managed in one single portal. Having a central data source automatically creates a seamless omnichannel experience because it’s all connected from the start. By adapting a solid, seamless, and scalable foundation, you can leverage any legacy business system or integrate new technology as it becomes available.

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