Omnichannel; Benefits And Trends

Technology has significantly changed how business is done in the 21st century. This has necessitated the need for everyone to go digital. One of the ways business operations have evolved in the retail industry is through the development of an omnichannel experience for customers.

What is Omnichannel?

An omnichannel literally means ‘all channels’. That is, all channels adopted by your business to communicate with customers or consumers. For example, there is a mobile app, a website, social media platforms, and maybe, a physical store. An omnichannel integrates the experiences customers have from these numerous channels (multi-channel) to give them completely personalised experiences.

Many businesses have relied on multi-channel experiences for a long time. However, the omnichannel seeks to improve the multi-channel experiences by creating the same experience for customers across any channel they choose to use. Whether a customer decides to order a product via your social media platform or buy from your website, the experience should be the same.

As we like to emphasise, improving customer experience is the core of digital transformation, and the same applies to omnichannel. It puts customers at the centre of business operations, especially retail and communications.

How Does an Omnichannel Work?

An omnichannel solution gives your customers a seamless experience across all the channels your customers use. It merges all parts of your business operations, from sales to marketing, customer relationship management (CRM), point of sale (POS), and communication, to give them an improved customer experience.

It may seem that the omnichannel solution is designed specifically for the retail and commerce industries, but that is not the case. The omnichannel solution can be adopted by other industries as well.

Most industries have had to adopt the omnichannel solution in one form or the other, especially in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic. The banking and finance sector, for example, have increased their digital offerings. Still, we see some shortcomings, especially in the areas of mobile banking apps and online banking. An omnichannel strategy would fix these shortcomings when customers are put at the core of all channels.

The healthcare industry is another industry that could benefit from adopting an omnichannel strategy. Nigeria’s healthcare services are provided by both the public and private health sector. The public health sector can reduce the amount of time patients spend in long queues at the hospital, waiting to see a consultant. An omnichannel solution provides alternative channels for physical appointments that yield the same results and give patients improved experiences. Private healthcare providers can only improve their services and customer experience with an omnichannel solution.

An omnichannel experience is all about the customer, and every business that wants a share of the future must leverage digital solutions like the omnichannel.

Now, you know the ultimate goal and benefit of an omnichannel solution is improved customer experience. What other benefits does it have to offer?

Benefits of an Omnichannel

The benefits of an omnichannel include the following:

  1. Customer retention: This is one of the pain points of many businesses in Nigeria. They struggle with retaining customers even when they are acquiring new ones. This is because once customers have a terrible experience, they hardly stick around unless there is no alternative. However, most industries in Nigeria are saturated, and the businesses that stay ahead are businesses that satisfy their customers.

An omnichannel solution improves customer experience and, in turn, increases the rate of customer retention. When customers are satisfied, they have no cause to look elsewhere.

  1. Increase in sales and revenue: Once you can tick customer retention off your list of business goals, you can be sure to experience an increase in sales and revenue, which of course, is the ultimate goal of any business. An omnichannel generates more revenue than a single-channel business because it caters to the needs of different people whilst giving them the same experience.
  2. Increased visibility and reach: If there’s one thing happy customers love to do, it is to spread the word! A few great reviews are all you need and your business will start to get more referrals. Thanks to social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, good reviews get as much PR as bad reviews. This way, you get new customers who will also become loyal customers and, in turn, refer your products/services to other people. An omnichannel gives your business a cycle of benefits.
  3. Improved efficiency: Streamlined channels will not only improve customer experience but also improve the efficiency of your employees and your business operations. You will have access to more accurate data on your customers’ behaviours; giving you insights on how to improve your products and services.
  4. Improved real-life channels: It may seem like the omnichannel is negating the importance of offline channels, but it’s the opposite. An omnichannel solution allows your business to merge both the virtual and real-life channels, thereby giving your customers more options on how your products/services can be accessed.

Trends in Omnichannel

There are numerous omnichannel trends this year, and we can say that the future of retail business is looking up. Here are some of them:

  1. More brick-and-mortar crossovers from digital brands: Like the last point above states, omnichannel solutions are all for creating better experiences across all channels and not neglecting offline channels. One of the exciting omnichannel trends is seeing brands and businesses that were completely online creating and expanding physical experiences through pop-up stores and retail stores.

We can assume that the pandemic has also contributed to this trend. Consumers want something different from the usual online stores and prefer to have physical experiences. They are most likely to look at products online and buy in-store. They want the option of shopping in person or walking into your office and making enquiries.

  1. Selling through video content: Videos have taken over the world of content, as people consume more video content. According to reports, about 50% of consumers are influenced by videos in deciding which product or brand to buy.

Social media platforms are one of the channels most businesses utilise. They are also the major channels for video content. With live videos, brands can now sell products and services. This is similar to the ‘Shop’ feature on Instagram.

  1. Increased sense of ‘community’: The pandemic created a disconnect and detachment amongst people, and the only way to stay connected was virtually, especially for the younger demographic. This detachment caused consumers to seek a sense of community online with their favourite brands.

Brands began to create a sense of community for their customers to improve their experiences. This trend also saw many businesses utilise their social media channels to reduce the distance between business and consumer by showing consumers how the business is run, behind the scenes activities, employee pictures, and many more!

  1. Using customer data for offline channels: One of the benefits of an omnichannel is better data on customers and their preferences. Insights from this data can be used to increase efficiency across other aspects of business operations and offline channels. Businesses have realised that consumer behaviour doesn’t change regardless of which channel a consumer uses. Most of them use the same logic in buying products, whether online or offline.
  2. Contactless transactions: This is another exciting omnichannel trend that brands with in-store apps are leveraging. There are more touch points involved in buying products than ever. Due to the pandemic, contactless transactions – from payments to delivery and pick up – have become the order of the day. This trend will see more touch points like self-checkout options across industries. This means that businesses with in-store apps need to upgrade their apps with more safety-driven options. This gives customers more options to choose from and improves their experience.

An omnichannel solution is the best solution for any business in the retail industry and other industries as well. It offers encompassing solutions that address the needs of customers by creating personalised experiences. A ready-to-go omnichannel is one of the numerous benefits your business enjoys when you get Hidden Brains’ retail management system (RMS). When you integrate this system into your operations, you improve customer experience and attract more customers and clients.

We offer consultation services as well as integration services just to help your business make the most of technology. So, if you need to adopt any of the latest trends in the omnichannel space, we can guide you on the process.

For enquiries, you can send us an email at [email protected] or call us at +2348141261

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