Along with the progress and growth of the e-commerce industry worldwide comes the introduction of more online selling sites, virtual marketplaces, and other digital tools to assist business people in selling products, and building their businesses bigger and better.
Some channels operate in a vast number of countries, while some operate domestically in a single or couple of countries. One thing we must note as online sellers, though, is that while having just one marketplace channel is easier to manage and a lot less intimidating, you also lose a market share by not being able to cater to the unique customer base of each platform. Hence, the birth of multichannel marketing – a model that builds links between your different channels to increase brand exposure and eventually, your sales.
A similar principle yet a different approach in the way we do business online is omnichannel commerce. It’s safe to say that omnichannel is more of a level-up. It aims to integrate your marketing and sales channels for your products to be available to whichever channel is approachable and popular among customers of varying locations, gender, income brackets, and whatnot.
Read through this article to know the basics of Omnichannel Commerce, the efficiency and streamlining it provides your business, and the next level of omnichannel management a logistics engine can get you.
What is omnichannel commerce?
Omnichannel commerce is an approach that focuses mainly on providing seamless customer experiences across the multiple channels a customer may be shopping in. You get similar experiences whether you buy from a physical store, their desktop website, their mobile app, or whatever channel a business may have.
This approach is increasingly being used by many online sellers because of the benefits it provides sellers and customers alike.
Omnichannel makes for a better customer experience. It’s better because your customers look at your products in a unified experience. This means an integrated and cohesive interface and systems. According to studies, 9 out of 10 customers prefer the omnichannel retail experience. Omnichannel is about breaking down borders and barriers that hinder a more natural, flowing experience for buyers.
Omnichannel increases sales and traffic. While it may be more complex or more expensive to run in an omnichannel approach, experts say that doing so would all be worth it. A study involving 46,000 shoppers revealed that users spend more money and are more likely to buy in a business employing omnichannel, rather than a single-channel approach. There was also a pattern observed with a commensurate increase with every channel added.
Omnichannel boosts customer loyalty. Because more customers feel satisfied with the user and customer experience the omnichannel approach brings, they are more likely to place repeat orders. A study says that within six months, 23% of shoppers were seen to have placed another order.
Omnichannel allows for better data collection. Despite managing several channels, the integrated features of the omnichannel approach store customer-allowed data in a more centralized database from which businesses can gain insights on how to boost exposure and reach by creating better-suited content to encourage more customers to buy across all their existing channels.
How does omnichannel actually work?
There are many factors that contribute to making your commerce strategy truly omnichannel but it is all centered on the tenet of a seamless, unified experience. Data is collected and communicated across various channels so customers’ experiences become more cohesive, flowing, and natural while interacting with your brand. Aside from brand identity cohesion, another striking factor about the omnichannel approach is its capacity to synchronize your product listings, stock inventory, logistics information, and payment gateways so you basically are controlling the business via a smaller command center while being visible in a number of channels.
Online product data can be displayed in a physical store, if available. Brick-and-mortar store is a term used to refer to traditional street-side stores where customers can view products in person or face-to-face. While e-commerce is growing, having a physical store is still important. However, an omnichannel approach integrating physical stores and online inventory can provide a more unified experience.
Some enterprises have already smoothened out this disjunct by including a feature wherein those who visit the physical store can also access the online store’s inventory and look at stocks stored in warehouses, order them, and have them prepared for pick-up and delivery. While most of the stocks are online, the products present in the store can also be bought onsite, and others available in another hub can be ordered by demand.
While not all businesses would prefer to maintain a physical store, the same principle can be applied when your stock in sales channels such as Lazada, Shopee, YouTube Shopping, or TikTok Shop is reflected in your main digital marketplace such as your main branded website.
Tools for omnichannel management
Omnichannel strategy and integration can pose a bit of a challenge, especially for sole proprietors or business owners working with a small team. Here are some tools available online to help you move forward with some important aspects of the omnichannel approach.
- Live Help
When working with multiple channels, communicating can be very messy. We don’t want you shifting from one tab to another just to check the orders and queries in one specific channel, then turn over to the next. That task alone can be pretty taxing and can distract you from your main goals.
Live Help tools such as Acquire are available online and hook you up with very helpful features such as chatbots which filter questions and answer queries instantly whenever possible, a live chat feature wherein your agents can answer more specific and nuanced questions, video, and voice support and even screen sharing options so your customer response can be more effective and garner a better satisfaction rate. Besides this, you maximize potential sales opportunities by covering and addressing all communications to your business.
A customer relationship management (CRM) tool is a system businesses use to manage all interactions with customers and potential customers. These interactions range from sales, customer service, marketing, service issues, and customer data collection that can be managed all in one place via a CRM tool.
CRMs such as Keap can help you streamline client activities, and customer information and move them along the sales pipeline more efficiently. The customizable dashboard lets you see all the data that matters in your decision-making and marketing and sales processes. This allows you to supervise processes more efficiently and intelligently. For example, you can automate email sequences according to categories in which you can put customers in, let’s say: potential, repeat customers, wholesale buyers, and so on, and so forth.
- Operations management
Operations management tools, on the other hand, help you manage internal processes such as stock inventory, fulfillment, and preparation for delivery. In the omnichannel approach, it is important to update stock inventory in real-time to avoid no-stock issues which can be pretty frustrating for your customers and damaging to your reputation as a seller.
Tools such as Stitch Labs not only centralize your inventory and reflect them across all your integrated channels. It also allows for an opportunity to streamline order fulfillment across third-party logistics providers (3PLs) and warehouses with accuracy. Rather than manual tracking of products and sales, operations management tools save you a lot of paperwork and nitty-gritty in managing transaction records.
- Social media management
Advertising on social media is an integral part of e-commerce marketing and the industry in general. Brand exposure and recall are built by establishing a sustained presence in these channels where people can interact. The goal is for your brand to engage with its target customer. What makes social media marketing a more dynamic option to introduce and establish your brand is that there’s almost-instant feedback compared to traditional physical marketing paraphernalia.
But managing multiple marketplaces, and making sure that all your social media accounts are up-to-date is already too much for you to handle, we’re quite sure of that. Even hiring a dedicated social media manager could not pose a more long-term solution. Thankfully, tools such as Buffer can help you with that. With such a tool, you can manage, plan and schedule content and posts across your different social media channels. You can link up to 25 social media accounts with Buffer. Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter – you only need one app to rule them all.
It can also give you a comprehensive report of cross-channel viewer activity, engagement, and sound analytics to help you steer the business toward the right path.
Level it up with a logistics engine
The logistics engine changes the way we imagine and actually handle our online business. It is the next-level integration of groundbreaking software that integrates across channels and is paired with a systematic network of storage hubs, fulfillment centers, and pick-up and drop-off points strategically laid out for the most efficient end-to-end fulfillment process yet.
Logistics engine providers like Locad offer their services to online businesses that are in the process of upscaling their operations and are expecting to handle a heavier load in terms of fulfillment and logistics. Locad prides itself on its team of professionals that handle end-to-end fulfillment working in different points of the world and its unified hub for cross-channel management of cross-channel marketplaces aptly called The Control Tower.
Get to the Control Tower now
The Control Towers provide you with the necessary technological support to manage all your online marketplaces in just one place. Stay on top of your entire business process from storage to fulfillment to delivery and analytics. All of those are possible once you integrate your channels via Locad’s Control Tower. The unified dashboard presents you with an overview of all your business processes and lets you implement major decisions in just a few clicks. No more shifting tabs, or manual recording – everything is in full control right in front of you.
Store and fulfill more intelligently
With Locad’s services, you can strategically place and move your stock around different warehouse hubs depending on your actual business plan. Via the Control Tower, you can get an overview of where your products are stored, and make necessary adjustments when demand increases in an area, and inventory needs to be restocked.
You can maintain your inventory, prevent potential stockouts and maximize your warehouse space. The warehouse network which you can intelligently utilize also cuts down delivery time as orders will be shipped from the hub where stock is available nearest your customer.
Deliver orders with the best
Locad connects you with the most reputable third-party logistics (3PL) providers to ensure that your deliveries are made in a safe, swift, and satisfactory manner. Complimenting with intelligent warehousing systems, Locad also gives you options on the most affordable rates provided by 3PL providers today. You can also get accurate tax break-ups in advance and an opportunity to accelerate your shipping and delivery processes. The best part? Professionals handle it for you, so they pick it up from your inventory stored in one of the Locad warehouses.
Track your success
Order tracking is also aggregated via the Control Tower to help you with troubleshooting. Both you and your customers have real-time data on the progress of your delivery so you can communicate how to go about delays, and even minimize or prevent them from happening.
With smart inventory reports and analyses, you can check out which among your products are the best-sellers, and which are lagging in sales, giving you allowance to adjust and improve your inventory distribution and marketing efforts.
Explore new frontiers, and cover all markets
An omnichannel approach is arguably the best way to do online business nowadays. In the noise of the vast internet, a unified experience of your brand across all possible channels puts your online business a step ahead of the competition. With available online management tools and the groundbreaking offerings of a logistics engine, you can now have more time, more energy, and enough mind space to think about major strides in your business such as upscaling, increased market penetration, and bigger sales targets. Omni means all, and now you have the power to reach all. Happy selling!