Five Steps to Designing an Omnichannel Strategy

A must-have for a successful omni-channel strategy is accurate inventory visibility.
Omni

In order to increase sales, retailers must focus on acquiring new customers, retaining current customers, and selling more to existing customers. With that, successful retailers know they must provide flexible shopping options if they want to compete for their share of customers’ wallets.

 

Most retailers are familiar with BOPIS, the acronym for “Buy Online Pickup In Store”.  But BOPIS only represents one possible journey for the shopper.  It is crucial to understand the typical journey of a customer, then prioritize investments for the greatest return.  Not only does this increase customer satisfaction, but omni-channel shoppers have a 30 percent higher lifetime value than those that use only one channel.

 

Here are five basic steps indesigningan omni-channel strategy:

 

Know Your Customers

To build a strategy that supports the needs of your customers, elucidate those needs by a combination of data mining and surveys.Likewise, websites analytics and in-store counters can provide lots of insight into the shopping journey.Begin with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) data to get a sense of demographics, basket sizes, and frequency of purchases. Then, study how levers such as free shipping, sales, and promotions impact behavior. Lastly, try to create personas that represent different types of customers.

 

Plan Your Omni-Channel Paths to Purchase

It is important to first determine the channels used for research. Note there may be less obvious channels like mobile, social, and marketplaces that need to be considered. Additionally, keep in mindthe channels which actually release the product to the customer.For example, pickup in-store, different types of delivery, and using alternate pickup points like lockers.

Once proper channels are identified, prioritize them based on what customers’ needs and wants.

 

Ensure Inventory Visibility

A must-have for a successful omni-channel strategy is accurate inventory visibility.  To promise inventory to a customer, it is important to understand where all the inventory sits.Problems evaluating inventory accuracy, should beaddressed before pushing into omni-channel.

 

Assess Software Capabilities

To execute the strategy, capable software that has omni-channel features is necessary. Often times, point-of-sale, website, order management system, and warehouse systems are outdated and incapable of executing an effective strategy without modification. A key component for omni-channel is the distributed order management software.  This is the traffic cop that aligns the channels and facilitates between systems.This critical component supports selected omni-channel scenarios.

 

It is also important to consider how to best arm associates with information that helps enhance the customer experience.  Associates need to be able create, edit, and monitor orders for customers. 

 

Plan to Optimize

This strategy needs to account for a feedback loop to collect data on effectiveness. Planning to automate processes to increase efficiency and looking for ways to leverage analytics from the start is vital.

 

Closing Thoughts

As customers adapt to changing climates, creating an adequate omnichannel strategy is becoming more and more of a necessity for retailers. By understand the needs of customers, planning for visibility, and taking advantage of software capabilities, retailers will be armed for success in developing their omnichannel strategies.


The article has been penned down by Ranga Pothula, Managing Director, India Business Unit & SVP Global Delivery Services, Infor

 

 

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