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How to implement an omnichannel retail strategy

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A great marketing strategy is fluid and able to evolve to meet the needs of today's digitally activated consumers. Implementing an omnichannel strategy — where you market and sell through multiple retail channels — is an effective way to connect with consumers.  


What is an omnichannel approach?

The way people shop continues to change. "In 2021, there will be an estimated 2.1 billion digital buyers worldwide, up from 1.66 billion in 2016." That's a significant increase in online buying.  

An omnichannel retail strategy is all about your approach to sales and marketing. It should deliver a fully-integrated customer shopping experience — spanning your brick-and-mortar business, your digital presence, and everything in between. 

Building your brand in our digital world means creating that seamless customer experience across all channels, including your online website, email, social media platforms, digital paid ads, and video platforms like YouTube and Rumble. And it needs to be seamless. 

Your strategy should answer the following questions:  

  • Where do customers find your products — in-store, online, through social? And how do they subsequently purchase these items? 

  • What is the transition between browsing in-store and purchasing online? And vice versa?  

  • How do you update your inventory to ensure items are always available?  

  • Do you have a system in place to let customers know if items they want are back in stock or on sale? Or when new items are now in stock? 


Benefits to using an omnichannel retail strategy 

According to Gartner's research, "56% of CEOs said digital improvements have led to revenue growth." An omnichannel retail strategy benefits both your business and your customers, helping you: 

Enhance customer targeting – a joined-up strategy can improve your promotion efforts to leads and customers by leveraging data-driven marketing. 

Provide insights on conversion data – by visualizing and monitoring all marketing channels, you gain valuable insights into lead-funnel traffic and customer touchpoints with your business at various stages of the purchase journey. 

Streamline monitoring – you'll need a view of how you're performing across your channels to monitor success; the 9Spokes business dashboard can help track your marketing and sales activities together. 

Deliver customer-centric experiences – as you monitor conversion rates and customer touchpoints through the omnichannel marketing funnel, you can continue to personalize your promotional messaging and use the information to focus on the channels your customers use. 


Implementing an omnichannel retail strategy 

The main point of using an omnichannel retail strategy is to create conversions through all of your channels. You must effectively leverage data and balance that with sales and marketing activities to reach leads and customers at any point in their customer journey. 


Know your customers and where and how they shop 

For your omnichannel retail strategy to succeed, you need to understand your customers' buying behavior. Which platforms, mediums, and devices do your customers — your target audience — use? 

Don't guess which platforms they use; analyze. Google Analytics provides acquisition reports that can provide this information and learn which sources drive traffic to your online store.  

You can even run attribution reports through the Multi-Channel Funnels function to deep dive into the typical paths customers take to the point of conversion. With this information, you can see which channels work for you and stop focusing on those that don't. 

All customer data is valuable; leverage it to improve your omnichannel retail marketing approach and understand your business's key touchpoints.  

Tapping into retail analytics can help you identify the following data: 

Product performance – identify which products are most popular and evaluate customer trends with your brand to predict sales and inform marketing to boost sales. 

Inventory sales – tracking all inventory sales can determine which products to promote and which ones to stop selling. 

Purchasing behavior – identifying high sales traffic times helps you enhance promotional strategies. Knowing the average items per sale and the average spend per sale can give you a more complete picture.  

Customer loyalty – knowing your customers' purchasing history enables you to focus on delivering a more personalized retail experience and can refine your sales and marketing activities. 


Activate every touchpoint for sales 

Making it simple for customers to purchase from you is the cornerstone of an omnichannel retail strategy. Every time they interact with your brand — in-store, online, email, social media — they should have the opportunity to buy, and you should have the opportunity to make a sale.  

A comprehensive point of sale (POS) system will enable you to process payments across all channels and meet the needs of today's consumers. Many POS platforms — such as Shopify and Vend — integrate your store with social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, optimizing these touchpoints for sales.  

Whether customers purchase from your website, a landing page linked to a digital ad or social media post, or visit your brick-and-mortar store — you'll be able to manage sales and provide a seamless customer experience. 


Merge online and in-store worlds 

"Forty-six percent of all searches on Google are seeking local information, and 88% of consumer local business searches on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours."  

If you have a physical store, then remember consumers are searching online for your business, but they're also likely to visit your in-store location. If they've seen something online, they'll want to check that it's in stock; they may even want to purchase the item online to have it held and ready for pick up. 

Many POS platforms also offer integrations with Google. Such integrations allow you to utilize Google's Smart Shopping campaigns for a seamless shopping experience for customers (and streamlined operations for you).  

In-store, consider providing free wifi for customers who may want to access your website to enhance their shopping experience. Use QR codes to link to your site's landing page when scanned to drive traffic to your business' site and make the purchase process easier for customers.