The way we consume is changing: while before, users were used to buying in the offline channel, ever more people now are using the digital channel.
Today, most companies are present on many channels, so as to offer the user an optimal buying experience. That being said, users do not feel loyalty to any one channel, and they allow themselves the luxury of moving from one channel to another smoothly, in quest of the best offers for a product or service, and of their favourite brands in any medium or platform.
The consumer’s purchasing behaviour has been developing over the years: they used to buy at a shopping centre for the convenience of parking, cafeterias and having all the stores together whereas now, the same customers do searches in different websites, applications or social media for the products they are interested in before going to a physical store.
We cannot forget either the change prompted by the pandemic: many users reluctant to buy online had no other way of acquiring products, and seeing how well it works and how fast it is, most of them have come to be repeat customers for that channel.
What is omnichannel?
When a user takes the decision to buy, it is very likely he or she has already passed through different channels, and this is where omnichannel comes on.
This is the strategy of being present in all the channels where our target public is, offering them all the same unified, integrated and unique communication, in both online and offline channels: in other words, offering customers the same experience in all channels. The customer can only be given one response, even though several areas of the company are involved.
One example: thanks to omnichannel, a user can enter the online store and see the stock level for a product in a physical store, with the prices, promotions, conditions… being exactly the same, offering a way to bond with the customer and thus enhance the image of the company.
Types of channels the omnichannel strategy covers:
- Physical stores
- Mobile apps
- Company telephone
- Social networks
- Live chat
It is very important to apply this strategy perfectly, avoiding channels where our target public is not present, and always thinking about and oriented at the objectives of the company.
Differences between multichannel and omnichannel
Multichannel is when each of the channels is individual, that is, they have a common communication, whereas in omnichannel all the channels are unified.
For instance, in an omnichannel strategy, the user receives the same information from social networks, the online and physical stores, and can buy in the online store and collect the product at the physical one, under the same conditions.
A multichannel strategy can have the same brand image in all its channels: social networks, web or online store and distributors, but a user who interacts with the company’s different channels is not going to feel equally satisfied with all of them.
What omnichannel produces is a uniform user experience on all the company’s channels.
Importance of omnichannel
The omnichannel strategy helps the company to convey a consistent and unique message about the brand, and furnishes a satisfactory experience for the customer, who receives consistent and clear information, leading to benefits for the company and, at the end of the day, a rise in sales.
Companies with omnichannel strategies retain an average of 89% of their clients, compared with the retention rate of 33% for companies which have not implemented a consistent omnichannel strategy over all their channels and ensured unbeatable communication with the target public (Invespro).
According to a study by Financial Food, conducted in March 2022, 77% of people in Spain used a mobile device to purchase online in 2021, and although consumers are not abandoning physical stores, 92% of those surveyed stated that they use their smartphone to get the best offers or promotions.
This shows us the rising trend, and that an omnichannel presence is fundamental today for all buying processes.
Benefits of omnichannel
Always provided the omnichannel strategy is well managed, we can obtain the following benefits:
- Improve the brand image
The user will see the company using the same tone of communication and offering the same experience over all channels, which will convey trust and enhance the perception and positioning of the brand.
- Build customer loyalty
Thanks to the unified experience, bidirectional communication and proximity offered by the omnichannel strategy, we will achieve a successful smooth purchasing process, and enhance the satisfaction of the client and thus build their loyalty.
Moreover, we can discover the preferred channels of each of the segments of the target public and optimise the communication accordingly.
- Segmented databases
By having different types of channels that the company communicates over, we can obtain a large database which, once integrated into the CRM, foments collaborative use which can benefit the entire company and be utilised for any type of communication or promotion, irrespective of the department where the user works.
Furthermore, knowing the needs of the target public better, and their preferences, enables cross capture strategies which will optimise communication with each segment, offering the user a better experience and, therefore, more profit for the company.
In short, omnichannel is indispensable to customer capture and retention strategies. We at Lifting Group consider that the omnichannel strategy will offer its advantages provided that it is conducted and managed by a professional team.