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  • Lezlie-Ann Sherwood

SUPPORTING THE DIGITAL SHOPAHOLIC

Updated: Apr 6

DEVELOPING AN OMNI CHANNEL FOR YOUR BUSINESS


Can your business meet the needs of the growing e-commerce market?

The days of aimlessly strolling through the mall and window shopping to your hearts fill are at a standstill for the foreseeable future. The grinding halt to mainstream commercialism, as we were hit with back-to-back lockdowns and stay at home orders left many businesses at a loss. How do we stay in business? How do we keep our customers? That was the question on many proprietors’ lips. As 2020 progressed, and the world population realised that Covid-19 is here to stay, the solutions to keep our economies afloat, were varied. In fact, while many businesses had closed their doors temporarily when Covid-19 became a global health crisis, ultimately many realised that they cannot afford to reopen their doors.


HOW DO WE RECOVER AGAINST AN INVISIBLE THREAT?


Large retailers figured it out quickly, in fact, they pivoted so quickly to placing focus on the e-commerce aspect of their businesses, that many customers were left wondering what took them so long? However, most small businesses took a longer time to come around, lacking the knowledge and in many instances; the capital to digitize their business so suddenly. Luckily, as a greater understanding of our new normal was reached, micro and small business owners have taken the cue and made themselves competitive in a marketplace or playing field that seems to have “levelled” out.

“Level” does not mean equal or the same in this instance. Let’s be frank, big businesses have at their disposal; an extensive research and development team, a dedicated marketing staff with a hefty budget, SEO and many more factors that make the playing field not exactly level. However, if you’re big on visualising, instead of it being a lone hiker trying to climb to Mount Everest peak in one day, envision a scrimmage soccer match between recreational soccer players and a professional rugby team. Difficult, but more realistic right?

HOW DID THEY DO IT?


Think about it, social media influencers and dropshippers already had a head start on how to curate their feed, and inspire their followers to shop on the platforms we use on a daily basis. Remarketing, advertisements in your inbox, targeted ads on social platforms and web pages made it fairly straightforward for small businesses new to e-commerce to get in on the action. A lucrative strategy which is making options even easier is using the omni channel customer strategy.

WHAT IS AN OMNI CHANNEL?


An omni channel is a method used by retailers to ensure that the customer experience across platforms is seamless. The use of the omni channel strategy should allow customers to enjoy a consistent experience across all platforms. This means that the customer's interaction with the brand specifically through the sales and returns cycle should feel cohesive.

A successful omni channel strategy will ensure that you feel as if your shopping experience is catered to you. This means that you're able to complete the buyer's journey across multiple platforms. An omnichannel customer experience is an integrated approach to ensuring that consumers have multiple touch points across different platforms to boost potential sales and purchases.


IS IT RIGHT FOR YOUR BUSINESS?


An omni channel experience is especially important in these changing times. The pivot by large retailers and small and microbusinesses to online was inevitable but welcomed. This transition therefore means that companies need innovative ways to maintain and expand their client base. The use of an omnichannel experience ticks all these boxes, as this requires the product development team, sales and marketing as well as the client relations/customer service departments to be working cohesively.


HOW CAN YOU IMPLEMENT IT?


The customer experience should stay "unified, integrated and consistent". There are many methods to implement the omni channel, at the core of your decision as a business owner is determining where your target audience frequents in cyberspace. Armed with this knowledge, you are able to decide where best to start the buyer's process, as well as ensuring that the client feels confident in conducting business with your brand across platforms. A crucial factor in measuring the success of the omni channel is whether the process feels organic, and almost second nature to the client. These situations include the gentle reminder to complete the purchase via email, the joy of seeing the same item in your cart when switching between shopping on mobile and desktop, and numerous other features are major benchmarks of successfully executing the omni channel strategy.

Have you ever heard of the omni channel strategy?

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