Omnichannel growth in 2020 was obvious and it was something of a buzzword in the entire eCommerce industry. However, omnichannel, is less about where you sell and more about identity, consistency, and personalization. Just thinking of omnichannel eCommerce plus brick-and-mortar stores is limiting at this point. It should encompass social media, marketplaces, mobile apps, podcasts, chatbots, beacons, wearables, and in-store sensors. Omnichannel is not just delivery or buy online, pick-up in store. It includes augmented reality apps and customization engines and questions of new sales channels. In recent years, online retailers have adjusted their marketing strategies have embraced an omnichannel approach to adapt to changing customer behaviors.
Omnichannel aims to centralize customer data in a cohesive manner. It allows businesses to present their brands consistently in every channel including its products and services. This approach makes it easier to automatically adapt and personalize brand communications to each identity. According to a Mitto survey, 49% of US B2C marketers are said to establish a better connection with customers is one of their 2021 customer engagement priorities. About 42% were said to be searching for improvements in omnichannel communications. Additionally, 39% said they wished to deliver a more personalized shopping experience. Privacy concerns are of course a big concern with this approach.
All social feed and media sites are potentially a sales channel depending on eCommerce integration and UX design. Social media platforms as simple as Instagram have eCommerce capabilities that can help the growth of omnichannel eCommerce. On Instagram, brands can market with photos of influencers in apparel sponsors. When users hover over her jacket, jeans, purses, for example they see the product name and price. Users can click to buy that exact item on the brand’s eCommerce site. Parent company Facebook launched Facebook Shops with similar ambitions. Facebook Shops keep the online transaction within Instagram or Facebook as to reduce potential friction. It also helps Facebook maximize the value of Facebook ads and profits. Shoppable media is a strong omnichannel weapon as it connects new data about a user to a digital footprint or identity.
AR and VR
Augmented reality and virtual reality is vital to the future of omnichannel and eCommerce in general. Online shoppers have many options and compare prices, do research, and check reviews and influencers. AR and VR play a big role in modern omnichannel eCommerce today. For example, California based Zenni Optical, lets customers try glasses virtually. Swedish giant IKEA has its IKEA Place app which allows users to view 3D images of furniture and accessories at home. Similarly, Sephora Visual Artist has introduced customers to do makeup virtually.
The objective is for brands to attach data from AR and VR experience to a customer’s digital identity. This ensures brands already know the type of products to offer for sale and cater to each customer. IKEA does this too as the company is familiar with the dimensions of the customer’s home and market products. Likewise, Sephora recommends beauty products based on what customers virtually try, engage with and ultimately purchase.
In conclusion, omnichannel brands take in the totality of a person’s online interests, past purchases, social media opinions and other things. This helps them deliver specific goods, when and where, customer wants them. And now, how they want it. Modular product images and information are the foundation of a solid omnichannel experience. In a sense customers create their own product line with the data they provide. The data in marketing and eCommerce infrastructure must be combined to meet the unique needs of customers. Customers’ needs vary based on their individual business but generally speaking an omnichannel strategy, ensures business is better equipped to meet and exceed business objectives.