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How to Create a Seamless Omnichannel Strategy for Your Customer

Exceed expectations with integrated shopping opportunities online, in-store, and on the go.

March 23, 2023

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As a business owner, you’ve no doubt noticed the continuing evolution of the ways customers like to browse, shop, and buy in the modern retail landscape. You may have wondered if your current mix of methods for reaching shoppers is efficient and effective. Are you using the right channels, and are they “talking” to each other to share key information? Are you using your time and resources efficiently, to give customers the seamless shopping experience they deserve?

The idea of successful omnichannel retail—where an effective, integrated blend of channels such as email, targeted ads, and social media work together with in-store shopping to enhance and simplify the path to purchase—may seem daunting at first. In truth, it’s actually very doable, given a solid plan and the right technology solution.

The key, as with so many things in retail, is to know your customer.

1. Who are your shoppers and why do they choose your business?

Taking the time to clearly define your customer base is more than a useful exercise—it can help you choose the right mix of channels to surprise and delight them, while boosting profits and helping drive results:

  • As an independent business, you probably have a sense of the kinds of products your local shoppers are going to need on a regular basis—a garden store in a tropical climate offers varieties of plants that thrive in the heat, while a hardware store in the Midwest stocks up on snow shovels by late fall.
  • What questions do customers ask the most? Do you have knowledgeable staff members who could contribute a social media post, blog, or newsletter article to answer these questions?
  • Do your customers do most of their shopping in-store, online, or a mix (such as buy online, pick up in store)?
  • How do your customers view your business—trusted expert, community booster, local employer—or a mix of all three?

Once you know what your customers want, you can decide how to get it to them seamlessly and smoothly.

2. Ready to deliver a consistent, 24/7 shopping experience in-store, online, and on the go?

Now that you’ve defined your customers and the needs you serve in your community, it’s time to make sure you’re meeting those needs as efficiently as possible. Review how you’re currently connecting with customers, and decide which channels you need to enhance or add to strengthen your omnichannel strategy:

  • Website (make sure it’s mobile-friendly, as most shoppers view websites from phones and tablets)
  • eCommerce (online shopping)
  • Loyalty programs
  • Point-of-sale complementary product recommendations, to add a personal touch
  • Social media posts
  • Blogs
  • Newsletters
  • Buy online/pickup or return in store
  • Curbside pickup
  • Local delivery
  • Flexible payment options, such as a mobile point of sale

It’s helpful to remember that none of these channels exists in a vacuum. In a successful omnichannel business, a customer may browse the company website for information on a certain product, which then triggers an email telling them about a special promotion on that item at the store, which in turn generates a list of complementary products they may also want to purchase at checkout. This interconnected way of shopping not only benefits customers, it also makes the entire process easier for your employees and your business.

Nearly 75% of buyers use multiple channels before purchasing, and 73% of e-commerce consumers report using various channels during their customer journey.   -- Shopify¹

3. How can a solid omnichannel strategy streamline operations and benefit customers?

The strength of omnichannel is grounded in its ability to simplify and add value to the entire shopping experience. Digital receipts, contactless payment, and eStatements provide the speed and convenience customers expect, while mobile lookup and price checker give them instant access to product information at the point of sale. From browsing to buying, you and your shoppers will realize the benefits:

  • Improving inventory management - Inventory is at the heart of any retail business. When you integrate your POS with an eCommerce platform, you’ll be able to manage inventory and pricing simultaneously across physical and online stores, improving data accuracy. (Your eCommerce platform could be unique to your website, or part of a larger platform such as WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce, to name a few.)¹
  • Enhancing the purchase process – A smart omnichannel program will use integrated data to make shopping seamless—things like easy-to-find project lists, notifications about upcoming in-store offers, and mobile POS can provide the surprise and delight that keeps customers coming back.
  • Driving employee engagement – Whether it’s contributing to a post on social media or using a new app or device to help customers locate a product, employees are an integral part of the omnichannel experience.
  • Increasing access for commercial customers – On-account customers can view orders and make secure payments anytime, from anywhere.

The right technology solution can help you build on and enhance your omnichannel efforts.

4. Are you ready to select a retail solution that works with your omnichannel strategy?

The retail environment is constantly changing, and smart businesses know to look at both the big picture and the immediate needs when choosing the right solution for them.

  • When you’re ready to select your solution, it’s key to be clear in defining your goals as well as your target audience.
  • Next, confirm that all parts of your business are aligned on the same software and systems—if you have any older or “outlier” areas, take the time to update them as needed.
  • Make certain you have internal buy-in from all employees, and that you schedule time to answer any questions. Change can be challenging, but discovering the many time-saving advantages of the new system can help boost confidence.
  • Confirm you’ll get the full support you need before, during, and after the implementation process of whatever system you select.

As consumers face more retail choices, they expect the online and in-store experiences of any business to be unified and accessible.² Epicor for Retail can help businesses develop omnichannel capabilities that boost traffic and increase sales, setting retailers up well during times of economic volatility. Learn how our solutions can help elevate your business to a new level of retail success.