The world was already coping with much digital revolution before the pandemic hit. Covid 19 came with conditions that forced businesses to seamlessly integrate the online and offline world. Both retailers and consumers faced disruptions with the transaction process, both had to overcome the traditional model and find convenient ways to maneuver through the crisis.
The popular buzzword omnichannel belongs to the philosophy of New Retail. Omnichannel retailing refers to transactions across multiple channels. It may include social channels, online marketplace, brick-and-mortar stores, etc. The customer is supposed to interact with different touchpoints throughout the transaction and have a seamless and consistent experience at each point.
E-commerce has bloomed rapidly over the past fifteen years. But there are reasons to believe that e-commerce has not captured many sectors. The growth is especially poor in the food industry. Additionally, online shopping is not an intuitive effort for the 60+ age group. Although even this is changing, a section of people continues to compare online and offline retailing.
Omnichannel seems to be the answer to such a conspicuous status of the market. It is like having the best of both worlds, as the customer wishes. In a way, we have a ‘phygital’ world suited to those who wish to have the best aspects of online experience and traditional shopping while avoiding many unpleasantries.
The idea of omnichannel is to offer an integrated experience of various transaction points. This would imply the consumer having their ways at shopping, just as they seem convenient. The strategy enables the retailers to provide a consistent shopping experience to the already existing clientele, and more importantly, across all platforms. It also empowers the retailers with a database. They can respond appropriately to consumer needs through improved communication channels.
Since omnichannel allows the retailers to track customer activities through multiple channels, they can grasp a comprehensive understanding of the customer preferences. They can use the data to improve their services, stock, browsing, and pickup experiences. They can also generate innovations and offers to encourage the consumers to come out and engage in physical shopping. This may lead to the phenomenon of impulsive buying.
Online sales structure may not include some discount schemes. On the other hand in traditional retailing huge discounts are usually offered for those items that are getting sold in particular stores. In omnichannel retailing, however, the products can be sold nationwide, at a full price!
Personal or instore touch is felt more as it is a blend of the virtual and the physical. Optimization of data analysis leads to the retailers being aware of what the customers want. This gives way to a personalized service suited to their needs. Phone-based customer care service is also an extension of this personalized approach.
Customers who engage with omnichannel retailing are more interested in spending money due to their in-store experience. Gathering feedback from these customers for further improvement of this integrated experience can assure them of a quality experience. They are more likely to re-visit and engage in more shopping.