From multi-channel to omni-channel – How retailers can score by offering coherent shopping experiences

Optimally linked sales channels and a consistent customer journey are indispensable if you want to make shopping attractive and uncomplicated for your customers. In an omni-channel environment, you can push the boundaries of channels and allow shoppers to switch at any time. The multi-channel principle, in turn, does not yet reach that far.

The multi-channel principles' challenges

While customers can choose from among sales channels, for example, the store and the online shop, channels are built in silos and are not connected, which makes switching spontaneously impossible. In addition, it results in discrepancies between the offerings online and at the store and the brand’s image which can lead to uncertainty among customers.

Click & Collect, Endless Aisle or Instore Return are only three of the many options for retailers to wow their customers with smart omni-channel concepts. The seamless transition from the web shop to the catalog or the store allows retailers to combine the advantages of all their sales channels and, thus, retain passionate online shoppers and traditional store customers alike. While customers do not perceive the different channels as individual elements, they benefit from a consistent brand appearance and the flexible switching among channels. Sales campaigns, loyalty cards and service offerings apply to all channels.

Omni-Channel is not a given

According to the Omni-Channel Commerce 2017 study conducted by EHI Retail Institute, numerous retailers throughout Germany use multiple sales channels without connecting them at all or only insufficiently. They still are bound to the multi-channel principle and do not give customers the opportunity to reap the benefits of multiple sales channels simultaneously, such as inquiring online whether specific models are available and enjoying personal consultation in the shop. Hence, the entire shopping process is less flexible and wastes potential. The silver lining: Intelligent tools can help!

Smart solutions ensure attractive customer journeys

A high-performance ERP system that maps all the processes of the stores, the web shop and the catalog or teleshopping business transparently and facilitates consistent control forms the basis for a customer-friendly omni-channel model. The software module xReach.omnichannel reaches beyond standardized ERP functions, bundles all the essential information on one central platform and offers the opportunity to implement campaigns and discounts without any media disruptions. It provides a 360° view of all the processes, enabling retailers to optimize workflows, reduce warehousing costs and delivery times, and offer their customers memorable experiences that make them want to return.

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