Blog Post

What is Omnichannel commerce, really?

What is Omnichannel commerce, really?

Omnichannel commerce is a term that is everywhere today - but what does it really mean? It's not just about giving your customers multiple ways to buy from you, or using a myriad of marketing channels. Instead, it's a fully integrated approach across both offline and online that unifies everything, from merchandising to fulfillment, marketing, and marketplaces.

Omnichannel commerce - a definition

True omnichannel commerce remains a dream for many - 78% of retailers say they don't yet provide a truly unified experience for customers. Although there is no single definition of omnichannel, some important factors may include:

  • the ability to sell online and offline
  • Physical and digital presence
  • Fulfillment and shipping options that include home delivery and in-store
  • Exchange and refund handling, both physically and digitally
  • Customer experiences that extend across multiple touchpoints, including bricks and mortar, marketplaces, web, mobile and social
  • Embracing mobile, from marketing to providing access to deals and products

Why embrace omnichannel commerce?

A recent study identified that 73% of consumers use multiple channels when it comes to their shopping journey. Omnichannel customers also spend more than single channel devotees - customers using four or more channels spend 9% more in the store, on average, than those limiting themselves just to one. Retailers benefit from omnichannel marketing strategies by an average 15-35% increase in transaction size, and the lifetime value of an omnichannel consumer is 30% higher than those using just a single channel. An omnichannel approach can also significantly boost revenue and customer retention, as well as reducing the cost per customer contact.

Omnichannel commerce - an example

Day 1

A customer sees a pair of shoes online, clicks on the link. On the same day, the customer is shown a Facebook post focused on practical information about the shoes e.g. hardwearing, for hiking etc. Later that day, a post appears on the customer's Instagram account which focuses on the lifestyle marketing of the shoe brand, featuring the shoes.

Day 2

The customer sees a video of the shoes on Facebook and perhaps an ad on YouTube shown prior to a post from a blogger the customer regularly follows.

Day 3

The promotion focuses on the rest of the products from the brand, not just the shoes in the link originally clicked on. Retargeting ads featuring these products appear while the customer is browsing online.

Day 4

A Facebook post reveals the local stores where the shoes could be purchased and offers an exclusive in-store fitting experience, stylist consultation and discount.

Day 5

The customer goes to the store, signs up for the experience and buys the shoes.

Omnichannel commerce could, in theory, take any form as long as it is being rolled out both on and offline. While so many brands still have yet to master it, for those who are able, the rewards will be high.

Of course, the future is unwritten, and opinions differ on what digital commerce will really look like, and how - as consumers - we will act and transact in the coming years. With a view to minimising the delta between what's hype and what's helpful in future consumers trends, Wunderman Thompson Commerce has again spoken directly to those who will shape our retail future - consumers - examining the current commerce landscape through the lends of their shopping journeys. The resulting report "The Future Shopper 2019" will be available shortly.

Register for the Future Shopper 2019