The buying journey now takes place wherever your customers are.
In today’s effortless economy, it’s no longer enough to wait for customers to find you. Instead, they expect to be able to shop your brand whenever, wherever, and however they choose — conveniently and effortlessly.
Ecommerce trends research from Linnworks highlights that 76% of consumers feel that convenience is the top priority when selecting a retailer. Additionally, 81% of shoppers are also looking for a frictionless, cross-device ecommerce buying experience.
Brands must adapt seamless and frictionless shopping strategies to gain loyal customers and increase sales. To do this, retailers should implement an omnichannel ecommerce strategy.
What is omnichannel ecommerce?
Omnichannel ecommerce focuses on creating a seamless experience across a retailer’s sales channels throughout the customer journey. Omnichannel provides the customer with a consistent experience, whether the customer is on a browser on their mobile device or on a laptop, for example.
This approach also incorporates the application of data to provide retailers with a comprehensive understanding of their customers. With this data, merchants are better equipped to meet customers wherever they’re shopping, with a personalized buying experience at every touchpoint.
What is an omnichannel strategy?
The buying journey is not static or limited to a single online location, device, or store; by contrast, it’s dynamic and constantly moving. Consumers interact at multiple touchpoints and on multiple channels before making a purchase.
A successful ecommerce omnichannel strategy…
- Incorporates a comprehensive and personal understanding of customers based on data.
- Recognizes and accommodates the fluid buying journey with a personalized, frictionless, and seamless journey across devices.
- Provides a consistent brand experience across all owned channels, guaranteeing customers are met with the same messaging wherever they are.
- Expands to channels and platforms based on where customers are spending their time. This includes expanding into marketplaces and social channels to place products in front of your existing and potential customers.
Consumers choose to shop with brands that have a good omnichannel strategy because of convenience: nine in ten consumers prioritize a retail site that offers a seamless experience, according to consumer research from Linnworks. As such, brands that successfully implement this strategic approach are rewarded with loyal customers who return over and over again.
How to create a successful omnichannel strategy
- Understand who your customers are and their journey with your brand.
Gather relevant data about your customers’ purchasing behavior and core demographic details to build customer loyalty. Brands can use this data to create a tailored experience, including serving up personalized content the next time they visit a retailer’s website.
To create this personalized experience, begin customer journey mapping. Customer journey mapping shows your customers’ engagement with your brand at every touchpoint. This process helps you gain insight into your customers and their shopping habits. Brands can leverage this data to improve the customer experience by addressing any sources of friction.
- Meet your customers where they are — on their terms.
Expand beyond owned channels such as mobile apps, your website, and brick-and-mortar stores to include other channels like social platforms and marketplaces. A successful omnichannel strategy means you put the customer first, offering a seamless experience across devices that takes the friction out of the buying journey.
It’s a good idea to take advantage of social commerce. 35% of consumers have purchased while on a social channel, according to research from Linnworks. A visible social presence also helps customers feel connected and loyal to your brand through influencer endorsements and creative storytelling.
- Optimize your website.
When it comes to website functionality, shoppers expect an easy-to-navigate and convenient experience. More specifically, this experience should include things like an easy-to-use search feature and personalized product recommendations based on customer data.
Your website should be responsive to mobile and tablet screens as well as desktops. With a responsive website design, the elements of your website adapt to the screen of the device being used. In addition, easy-to-locate FAQs and chatbot functionality improve the experience for your customers.
As part of an omnichannel strategy, consumers expect uncomplicated checkout features with flexible payment options such as Zip. Zip’s buy now, pay later platform offers the option to pay for a purchase in four equal installments over six weeks. Brands that meet this demand of flexible payment are rewarded, with 89% of shoppers saying flexible payments make buying decisions faster and easier, according to research from Linnworks.
- Upgrade your technology, especially your mobile channel.
Mobile plays an indispensable role in your omnichannel commerce strategy. On average, 47% of buying journeys begin on smartphones, according to research from Linnworks.
The mobile experience should be smooth and equivalent to the experience on desktop. It should focus on a minimalist and frictionless design with engaging micro-interactions: fun, functional design moments that enhance the user’s experience.
- Manage and synchronize your inventory across all channels.
As your channels expand, inventory management becomes an important component of your supply chain. Inventory management software helps you accurately synchronize orders and inventory across all selling channels. It also monitors stock and inventory in multiple locations, and tracks products so that you can provide customers with tracking and delivery information.
- Coordinate customer support across all channels and platforms.
Providing consumers with consistent brand messaging and cross-channel experiences comes with the expectation that you’ll also offer customer support wherever they interact with your brand. Rather than providing support exclusively on your website, offer that same experience across all channels and platforms.
Commerce is moving closer to the consumer, wherever they spend their time. This means brands and retailers must embrace an omnichannel approach and put the customer at the center of their business. For more insights, check out the Linnworks Total Commerce Guide to Growth.
Megan Wenzl is the SEO Content Manager at Linnworks, a total commerce solution that connects, manages and automates commerce operations. Megan enjoys creating useful, informative stories to help businesses succeed. When not writing, Megan enjoys spending time with her family.