In today’s digital-first era, the majority of consumers have transitioned from physically visiting stores to making their purchases through mobile shopping platforms. The introduction of multichannel and omnichannel retail platforms has not only streamlined operations but also brought everything under one dashboard. Retail business managers now get a cohesive experience across web, mobile, and physical stores using omnichannel retail strategies.
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The digital shift has accounted for increased customer demands for enhanced online experiences, whether it is mobile banking, ride-sharing, or shopping. As a result, banks, service providers, and retailers are left with no choice but to keep up with the trends. That means extending their products and services to multiple platforms and integrating the right tools to provide the best customer experience. Understanding customer needs is not simple anymore, considering the transition from physical to digital modes of shopping.
Customers simply do not have time to think about any obstacles or limitations between different modes of shopping. So how do retailers come up with a consistent, real-time solution for their customers across all channels? The answer is omnichannel retail, which brings every product from every outlet together and displays it in the same way everywhere, regardless of the touchpoint. Not only that, but it also shows customers what they bought from the store last time - all without having to ask or search for anything.
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Why is Omnichannel Retail important?
Product research is the stage where the shopping experience begins, and it's where an omnichannel retail solution can come in handy. The reason is - an omnichannel retail solution shows all the information a customer needs in one dashboard.
Although brick-and-mortar retailers did not previously offer such experiences, the expectations of customers have changed - meaning the retail industry must evolve too. Retail platforms that use omnichannel retailing solutions can achieve this by delivering a unified customer experience.
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The Journey Towards Omnichannel Retailing
As a retail business grows, managing different channels, including web, mobile, and physical stores becomes a tough task. Creating a unified omnichannel experience, getting better insights into their sales, customer trends, and quickly they sell each product becomes necessary. Omnichannel retail is a model that provides real-time data at every touchpoint by integrating the right solutions with all channels.
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Single-channel vs. Multi-channel retailing
The oldest and most commonly known model in retail is single-channel retail, which covers sales and distributions in just one standalone channel. In single-channel retailing, brand owners can either own and manage just an offline store (physical) or only a web-based platform at one time. As the model was the only one available, it became popular among retailers. But that’s not the only reason for its mass adoption - the focus on a single channel allows retailers to cut down on their expenses while increasing sales.
As the world experiences the fast-paced adoption of digital platforms, the efficiency requirements for retailers are just not being met by single-channel retail models. If a brand has captured the market with its products using a single-channel retail model, it could keep be dominated by the competitors.
However, there are many limitations of single-channel retail in today’s day and age, as every retailer is required to manage multiple channels. Not only the retailer, but the customer also faces difficulties in switching from one channel to the other. Keeping up with customers’ expectations of a convenient shopping experience, growing retailers make the decision to implement a multi-channel retail model. Referring to the study mentioned above, customers tend to search for products online before going to the shop to make the purchase - which means they use multiple channels to get information and to buy the same product. With single-channel retail models, this would be a nightmare. The introduction of multi-channel retail has allowed retailers to offer a unified experience to their customers, and at the same time rendered single-channel models obsolete.
Retailers using an outdated single-channel retail model now face the challenge of ramping up their processes to cope with market leaders. For this reason, multi-channel retail quickly became dominant across the retail industry. The added convenience of transitioning between multiple channels without lags gives customers the shopping experience they expect.
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A shift from multichannel to omnichannel retailing
Retailers who use a multichannel strategy provide their customers with the convenience of choosing between online and offline shopping. The highly flexible strategy has contributed to a significant increase in sales as customers find it easier to access the products they wish to purchase. Multichannel retail was born as the retail industry required operations across online and offline channels.
But the advantages of multichannel retail are not limited to convenience and presence on multiple channels, as the model has allowed customers to have 24 hours access to product information. This in turn has helped build brand loyalty and provided better customer insights to retailers, including behaviours, preferences, and trends. As a result, brands that pay careful attention to customers’ preferences are able to capture the market by offering personalized services. That being said, as a retailer expands the multichannel retail model, they face the challenge of delivering a seamless experience to customers across all channels. In simple terms, retailers face difficulties to provide a solution that can allow customers to transition between different channels.
In terms of growth, the retail sector always strives to move forwards, which means adding more channels. In that case, multichannel retail models either need to be upgraded or replaced. The replacement? Omnichannel retail!
Omnichannel retail is the product of technological advancements aimed at enhancing customer experience in the retail environment by eliminating the friction in moving from one channel to the other. As customer demands evolve, retailers have to up their game in order to stand on firm ground. While it was nearly impossible for multichannel models to offer efficiency along with seamless transitioning between channels, omnichannel retail has made it a common practice.
It’s no secret that customers start looking for other brands the moment they face inconvenience, which makes omnichannel retail a must-have for modern-day retailers. Whether it is data synchronization between different retail systems or simple issues in real-time updates, growing brands cannot afford to have lags and delays.
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Providing seamless experiences across online & offline channels
Having a better connection between different channels and touchpoints allows retailers to have a better understanding of customer trends. Omnichannel retail solutions provide the right tools to monitor back-end processes and enable retailers to identify the areas they need to work on. As a result, brands can invest their resources wisely and take steps to eliminate the imperfections within their system.
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Offering a personalized customer experience
Naturally, customers who are able to get real-time information about the availability of products on web and mobile platforms tend to show brand loyalty. Research shows that 76 percent of customers are more likely to buy from brands that offer personalized services across all channels. Not only that, but 78 percent of customers are also likely to recommend those brands to others - meaning a direct increase in sales owing to an omnichannel retail model.
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XStak’s Omnichannel Retail Solution
XStak assists growing retail industry players in managing their omnichannel operations by presenting data from all channels in one dashboard. This means that you can keep track of inventory and sales in online platforms, social media marketplaces, and physical brand outlets in one place.
With XStak’s omnichannel retail solution, you can offer your customers a personalized shopping experience with a combination of omnichannel operations, artificial intelligence and integrated business intelligence. Your retail business can also benefit from a reduced time to market by ensuring real-time integrations through secure API endpoints.
Become An Omnichannel Retailer
Take a personalized tour of XStak's retail operating modules with our Sales experts and learn how XStak can enable you to grow.