Omnichannel - The Future of Retail

Omnichannel emerged when Best Buy in the US realised it could not beat Walmart just on price and had to differentiate itself from Amazon.
Omnichannel - The Future of Retail

Both customers and retailers across the world, just as in India, have evolved rapidly over the past few years. For instance, retailers in India are realising that customers do not think about channels separately but rather look at the overall brand, and expect the same consistency in terms of a seamless experience that omnichannel could provide. The discovery of products and services now occur across multiple channels and final transactions could happen through a completely different set of channels. For example, a customer may want to buy something online but should be able to return it to the store. Or customers may want to touch and feel something in the store, but purchase the colour that’s out of stock on their phone while standing amid the racks.

Long-Term Strategies

In today’s world, e-commerce is simply commerce. The digital experience is simply the customer’s experience. And an omnichannel customer strategy should simply be part of the overall business strategy. Focusing on a single conversion and expecting it out of every channel is short-sighted, but unfortunately, this seems to be how we define omnichannel. Retailers should focus on what customers need at any particular touch point, whether it’s information, inspiration, customer support or community engagement, and optimize toward that goal.

Brands and retailers have widely embarked on an omnichannel voyage in India. The players who will be successful are the ones who build their shopping experience around how their set of customers behave and not following a cookie-cutter model replicating a strategy someone else has already implemented.

The real value is in long-term engagement, built across the entire customer journey. It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. Successful brands gain retention by understanding their customers’ needs, building relationships with them outside of the purchase funnel as well as within it and shaping their business around serving those relationships. Ultimately, that’s what fosters loyalty and helps you stay competitive.

- This article is authored by Tony Navin, Head of growth - Emerging Markets, Narvar


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