17 Apr 2024

Omnichannel eCommerce - Why Is It a Must for Businesses Today

Omnichannel eCommerce - Why Is It a Must for Businesses Today

Customers, today, are utilizing various channels to interact with your brand. They are visiting your website, engaging with your content on social media, downloading your mobile app, interacting with customer support teams, and so on. The customer journey is not straightforward anymore. Hence, to successfully target and convert these customers, you need to have a consistent eCommerce strategy. Here is where omnichannel eCommerce comes in.

Omnichannel eCommerce is a powerful approach that offers seamless shopping experiences to customers irrespective of the channels they use to complete their purchases.

In this post, we will learn more about what is omnichannel eCommerce, its benefits, and how to build an effective omnichannel eCommerce strategy for your business.

What Is Omnichannel Ecommerce?

Omnichannel eCommerce is a sales approach or strategy that offers seamless shopping experiences to customers across multiple channels. This includes channels, such as your eCommerce website, mobile app, online marketplaces, social media, email, and messenger apps, as well as your brick-and-mortar stores. It aims at building a positive customer experience across every touchpoint in which your customers interact with your brand.


No matter which platform your customers use to shop, an omnichannel eCommerce strategy ensures you offer the same products, messaging, and pricing to customers thereby enhancing shopping experiences, boosting sales, and increasing customer retention rates. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, over 73% of customers use multiple channels when purchasing from a brand.

For example, let us consider a customer who stumbles upon your product ad on social media. They click on this ad which takes them to your eCommerce website. Besides the chosen product, they browse other collections only to realize that they have to wait for a week for its delivery. So the customer decides to visit your store and pick it up instead. During the store visit, your sales representative prepares their order and suggests some additional products that go well with their online purchase.

In simple words, omnichannel eCommerce brings together multiple mediums to offer smooth and consistent experiences to customers. So, what makes omnichannel eCommerce different from unified commerce?

Unified Commerce vs Omnichannel Ecommerce

Although omnichannel eCommerce and unified commerce both use multiple channels to reach their customers, they differ significantly. Here is a short table outlining the differences between omnichannel eCommerce and unified commerce.

Omnichannel ECommerce Unified Commerce
Definition Focuses on providing seamless shopping experiences across multiple channels. Integrates all channels into a single, centralized platform.
Goal Enhance customer satisfaction and boost loyalty by offering consistent brand experience across multiple channels. Provide seamless customer experience by bringing all customer data from various channels on a single platform.
Customer Experience Provides consistent branding and messaging across all channels and all touchpoints in the customer journey. Provides a cohesive and personalized shopping experience across all channels.

What Are the Benefits of Omnichannel Ecommerce?

Omnichannel eCommerce caters to every interaction that your customer has with your brand and ensures that you deliver a positive experience during all of their interactions. Here are a few benefits omnichannel eCommerce offers to businesses.

  • Better Consumer Insights
    Omnichannel eCommerce allows you to capture and analyze customer data from multiple channels. It shares valuable insights into customers' behavior, preferences, pain points, and more. It also shares a detailed overview of their interactions with your products. For example, what products are your customers checking out the most, which channels are they utilizing the most, which is their preferred mode of payment, and so on. These insights offer you a holistic view of your customers and prove to be of great help when personalizing your customer journey.
  • Consistent Customer Experience
    A thorough understanding of your customers and their requirements helps you deliver tailored content, and personalized interactions, and invest in effective marketing strategies. With the help of this information, omnichannel eCommerce helps you deliver a uniform message to customers. Let us consider a customer reaching out to your brand on Instagram and moving over to your website to complete the purchase. With omnichannel eCommerce, you can keep things in sync no matter what channel they choose. They will be able to access their order history, cart, payment information, and more without any hassles. This delivers a unique experience to customers while offering more convenient shopping methods.
  • Increased Sales
    Omnichannel eCommerce helps customers to pick up their orders where they left off. For instance, if a customer likes a product in a retail store but cannot find the desired size, they can add the item to their cart using the mobile app and later purchase it online. It gives customers multiple pathways to place their orders which only means increased revenue. In fact, customers who use 4+ channels for online shopping spend an average of 9% more than those who use a single channel.

While omnichannel eCommerce seems to be an amazing strategy for providing customers with memorable shopping experiences, it does come with a fair share of challenges.

What Are the Challenges of Omnichannel Ecommerce?

Investing in omnichannel eCommerce is not just about ensuring your products are accessible across various channels and delivering consistent experiences to customers. It is much more than that. You need to build a fully functional system that ensures your inventory, pricing, and customer support work together like a well-oiled machine.

Let us understand some of the challenges you might face when implementing your omnichannel eCommerce strategy.

Integrating Online and Offline Channels

Coordination among the physical and digital outlets is one of the most complicated aspects of omnichannel eCommerce. This is especially true if you have many customers who begin their shopping online and end up buying those products from the offline store.

You need to offer a seamless experience to customers by ensuring both your online and offline stores are in sync with each other. The benefits you offer online, such as discount coupons, product offers, gift cards, and so on must be accommodated during offline purchases as well. Otherwise, it leads to an inconsistent experience that confuses customers and makes you lose sales opportunities.

Managing Inventory across Multiple Channels

With omnichannel eCommerce, you ought to keep your inventory aligned across all channels. Keeping track of products can be quite a hassle as customers are using different channels to make their purchases. To tackle this problem, your inventory must be updated in real-time no matter whether the purchase is made online or in-store. Hence, you need to invest in a centralized inventory management system that can monitor stock levels across many locations. This will help you keep an eye out on your stock at all times.

Remember, mistakes in inventory data could lead to stockouts or overstocks and may potentially result in lost sales.

Another major challenge that most eCommerce businesses who want to go omnichannel face is the pricing strategy. You may find it difficult to maintain the pricing consistency across your online channel and store locations. As the pricing margin, consignment, terms of payment, and more differ across various selling channels, it is difficult to maintain uniform pricing.

For instance, if you set the pricing of your products too low, you might end up with zero profits. Similarly, adjusting the pricing to keep a higher profit margin may cause you to lose your customers. So, you need to find a balance between the market competition and customer expectations before arriving at any final pricing.

Maintaining Seamless Customer Support

Ensuring customers receive consistent customer support is another channel that most omnichannel eCommerce businesses face. Making sure you are sending out the right brand messaging and information to your customers is also essential. For omnichannel eCommerce to work, customer communication needs to be synchronized across all sales channels to ensure the right message is conveyed to the customers. The absence of this may lead to miscommunication and frustrated customers.

These challenges certainly seem daunting. However, with the help of the right omnichannel eCommerce strategy and tools, you can build a successful eCommerce business.

How to Create an Omnichannel Ecommerce Strategy?

Implementing an effective omnichannel eCommerce strategy is a step-by-step process that requires thorough planning, apt execution, and occasional fine-tuning.

Here is how you can build an excellent omnichannel eCommerce strategy for your business.

Step 1 - Map Out Your Customer Journey

Understanding your customer journey is essential for building your omnichannel eCommerce strategy. Identify the various touchpoints and channels your customers leverage to interact with your brand throughout their buying journey. Consider different stages, such as awareness, consideration, purchase, and post-purchase to map out the important touchpoints. Determine how you can support your customers at these stages and touchpoints and streamline their experiences.

Mapping out customer journeys will help you reduce buying friction and offer seamless omnichannel shopping experiences to your customers.

Step 2 - Choose the Right Channels

Find out where your customers are and what channels they are using to reach you. Monitor their interactions to find out about their favorite messaging channels. For example, if your customers use WhatsApp for tracking their orders, investing in WhatsApp for eCommerce business would be a powerful omnichannel marketing strategy.

Define a clear purpose for the various channels and utilize each channel for only one type of interaction. Ensure that you build a solid brand presence across all channels and tailor the content delivery to your customer's unique preferences.

Step 3 - Create and Deliver Engaging Content

Deliver consistent brand experience by creating content that caters to every touchpoint in your customer's journey. Depending upon the unique requirements of each of these channels, you need to modify your messaging and content assets. For example, posting content on social media will be more about appealing visuals while posting content on a website blog will be more of text. Ensure that you use a consistent voice and tone in your content across all channels to maintain a cohesive brand image.

Here are some tips to help you create platform-specific content for your omnichannel eCommerce marketing.

  • Website - Provide customers with detailed product information, video tutorials, and other educational content to help them learn more about your products.
  • Social media - Create visually attractive posts containing a mix of images, carousels, and short videos. Pair these posts with quirky captions and relevant hashtags to improve their reach.
  • Email - Devise personalized email marketing campaigns by segmenting customers into various lists based on their preferences and behavior. Send out engaging email messages with discounts, coupons, or freebies to capture your customers' attention and deliver the best brand experiences.

Step 4 - Build an Excellent ECommerce Website

To have successful omnichannel eCommerce solutions for your brand, you must focus on building intuitive websites that simplify shopping experiences for customers. Your website must be optimized for mobile devices so that your customers can access it from their phones and complete their purchases. Ensure that this website is easily navigable and presents the product information in a clear and concise manner.

Invest in an AI-powered search bar like Sparq Product Search and Filter to improve product discovery on your website. This will help customers to find the products they want to be as quickly as possible.

You can also leverage AI personalization to display tailored content to customers with targeted promotional content for boosting your sales. This will enhance customer experiences and help you stand out among the competition.

Step 5 - Choose Relevant Omnichannel Ecommerce Software

To ensure that your omnichannel eCommerce strategy derives the best results, you will need software to manage your eCommerce operations, sales, and marketing efforts. Most omnichannel eCommerce platforms offer a suite of tools that sync all your online and offline stores for easy management.

An ideal omnichannel eCommerce platform must allow you to -

  • Manage your inventory.
  • Handle payment processing.
  • Conduct online sales.
  • Send personalized product recommendations.
  • Create discount coupons, rewards, and loyalty programs.
  • Send automated order-related messages.
  • Share customer insights, eCommerce analytics, and other reports. Some of the best omnichannel eCommerce platforms are Shopify, BigCommerce, Salesforce, and WooCommerce. You can integrate various other tools like marketing software, chatbot tools, and more to expand its functionality and create seamless shopping experiences for your customers.

Step 6 - Revamp Your Omnichannel Ecommerce Marketing Strategies

Sit together with your team and audit your existing marketing strategies. Understand what worked for your brand and what did not work. This will give you insights into what you need to avoid when planning your new omnichannel marketing strategies.

Analyze how your customers are interacting with your brand. Pay close attention to their behavior on your website and monitor their actions before they make a purchasing decision. Segment your customers into different categories based on their age, gender, location, preferred communication channel, and so on for better targeting. Depending on their preferences, deliver branded content to them via personalized messages.

Did you know over 97% of visitors who leave your website do not return? Retargeting ensures that your brand remains on the top of their minds when they decide to purchase. If you have the budget, invest in retargeting ads on different platforms, such as social media, third-party websites, community forums, and so on to capture your customers' attention.

Lastly, analyze the performance of your marketing campaigns using A/B testing to identify what works best for your brand.

Step 7 - Deliver Five-Star Customer Service

Omnichannel eCommerce strategy means putting your customers first. It means being available for them across all channels - email, live chat, phone, or in-store to address their queries. Fast and effective customer service can go a long way in elevating your customers' overall shopping experiences. It will also build a sense of trust in their minds and boost customer loyalty.

Invest in a conversational AI platform like Bodt to connect with customers at any point in time and engage them with your brand. Offer them personalized product recommendations, resolve their queries, provide them with shipping updates, and much more. You may also offer them real-time assistance via live chats to increase conversions.

Step 8 - Measure Your Omnichannel Ecommerce Performance

Customer habits and behavior change over time. Hence, your omnichannel eCommerce strategy needs to change and evolve according to the changing customer demands. Hence, to maintain success at omnichannel eCommerce, you ought to continuously monitor your content performance.

Gather the necessary data and analytics to visualize how your current methods are working - what is working for your brand and what is not. This will help you identify your top-performing channels and adjust your strategy based on the results. Thus, helping you stay relevant and ahead of the competition.

Stay updated about the recent industry developments and trends to invest in the best technologies and enhance your omnichannel efforts.

Best Omnichannel Ecommerce Examples to Take Inspiration From

There are many brands out there that are leveraging omnichannel eCommerce solutions to streamline various aspects of their business. For example, omnichannel eCommerce marketing, omnichannel eCommerce fulfillment, and so on.

Starbucks Uses Omnichannel Ecommerce to Improve Customer Service

Starbucks has nailed the omnichannel eCommerce approach for delivering seamless experiences to its customers. The Starbucks mobile app helps customers discover nearby stores, send gifts to their friends, view new additions to the menu, and so on. They can also order their coffees ahead of time to pick them up at their convenience. Further, every time a customer pays for their orders, they receive reward points that can be later on used for exclusive discounts and other offers.

Amazon Uses Prime Membership to Streamline Their Omnichannel Ecommerce Fulfillment

Being a customer-centric company, Amazon realized that shipping costs and delayed shipping were the primary reasons why customers would stall their purchases with the brand. Hence, Amazon launched a paid loyalty-style membership program that offered customers free and fast shipping of their orders in addition to a host of other benefits. While most customers registered for this membership, they were able to attract more customers and increase their sales.

The Future of Ecommerce Is Omnichannel

Omnichannel eCommerce offers an adaptable and responsive strategy to connect with your customers and build excellent shopping experiences for them. It is no longer just another approach that brands follow but an important one. It focuses on meeting customer expectations and building strong relationships with them. Through consistent messaging and the right marketing channels, you can attract the best customers, engage them, and drive more sales.

It is the best approach to keep up with the changing eCommerce industry.

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