How you create a powerful omnichannel experience

The rise of smartphones and social media has profoundly changed e-commerce. The number of channels people are accessible on has grown significantly in recent years, including messenger apps, voice assistants, and app notifications. Modern customers expect a seamless integration of online and offline channels that leads to an optimal customer journey on every device and at every stage of the browsing and buying process.

A good omnichannel experience is therefore a requirement to thrive in the modern e-commerce landscape. We'd like to explain what the concept of omnichannel means, how it differs from multichannel, and how you can offer your customers an optimal omnichannel experience. You can read about it in this blog.

Multichannel or omnichannel?

The concept of multichannel emerged around 2000 when more and more traditional brick-and-mortar stores and wholesalers started opening online shops. Initially, these online shops were organized as separate channels. They were essentially a digital version of the physical store. Multichannel means having multiple sales channels (physical store, the web, phone) but these channels primarily exist alongside each other. You source sales from various channels, but these channels are hardly integrated.

The idea of omnichannel goes a step further and involves the collaboration of different sales channels. This means that you can do everything on all channels at all times. You also have awareness of what has happened in another channel, no matter where you are. All information in the physical store, webshop, app, and advertisements is synchronized with each other.

Know your customer

Creating an omnichannel experience starts with knowing your customer. Ask yourself questions like "Who is my target audience and where do they hang out?" and "What path do they take when making a purchase and which channels do they use on their customer journey?". The answers to these questions will help you identify which channels yield the most returns. By continuously measuring and developing, you further optimize your omnichannel strategy.

Examples of omnichannel applications

There are several ways to offer customers a beautiful and personalized omnichannel experience. How you do this depends on the product you sell and the industry you operate in. Here are some practical examples:

Using Different Channels at Different Moments

Albert Heijn allows customers to use various channels at different times. For example, customers can use the app to select recipes, which are then added to their shopping list. While cooking, they can have the recipe read aloud and add forgotten ingredients to the list. Finally, they can choose to accept their shopping list in the order of the supermarket they plan to visit or opt for home delivery. This demonstrates the use of 4 to 5 channels in a single customer journey.

Providing Full Inventory Information on All Channels

Having complete inventory information available on all channels is a great example of omnichannel thinking. This means that customers can always check online to see the stock status of a product in a specific location.

Linking Physical Purchases to an Online Portal

Linking details and information from physical sales to a digital portal is another example of omnichannel. Customers can make purchases in a physical store but then access their receipts and order history through an online portal for reordering.

Digitizing Physical Stores

Using digital tools to offer a broader product catalog in physical stores is another aspect of omnichannel thinking. This can be useful for several reasons, including:

  • The inability to stock all product variants in a physical store.
  • High product personalization, where a digital configurator in a physical store can cater to individual customer preferences.
  • The use of modern technologies such as virtual reality, chatbots, and voice assistants to enhance the customer experience, especially for complex purchases or spatial products like houses or cars.

Expanding the Product and Service Offering and Amazon initially started as bookstores. However, over the years, they have worked diligently to expand their sales channels and transform into generalist marketplaces. They achieved this in part by establishing collaborations and partnerships with other sellers.

On the other hand, Coolblue, following a digital sales strategy, has opted to open physical stores. This move provides additional value to the overall customer journey by offering personalized advice and the convenience of picking up products at any desired location.

These examples showcase how companies adapt their strategies and channels to meet evolving customer expectations and market demands, ultimately enhancing the omnichannel experience.

Distributing Purchases Across Branches

At the B2B level, an omnichannel approach can be highly beneficial. Consider functionalities that allow central purchasers to distribute their purchases among branches, as seen with Waterdrinker, or channel-wide payment solutions. Additionally, automated solutions can ensure that buyers can place orders up to a certain amount, requiring managerial approval for higher expenditures. These strategies streamline procurement processes and enhance efficiency within the B2B sector.

Possible pain points with omnichannel

To make the most of your omnichannel strategy, it's important to be aware of potential pitfalls and challenges. Competition between channels can be a pain point, especially for companies operating under a franchise model, as they may need to restructure KPIs and profit targets. This prevents certain departments from feeling that they are not meeting their objectives because other channels are taking a share of their profits.

Furthermore, the omnichannel principle requires organizational adjustments. Departments that previously operated largely independently must now collaborate more closely. Think about the personnel in your physical store(s) and representatives on one side, and online marketers on the other.

Preventing the fragmentation of information is also a major challenge when implementing omnichannel. The ultimate goal should be to create a central and open source that all departments and channels rely on. Democratizing data is a good way to achieve this.

A good omnichannel experience with Sping

Creating a good omnichannel experience has many benefits. Customer satisfaction and conversion rates receive a positive boost because different channels smoothly come together in a seamless customer experience. If you're serious about implementing omnichannel, Sping is the right partner for you. We provide the right tools and platforms for channel integration and the creation of customer journeys that truly add value to your customers. Feel free to contact us  to discuss the possibilities. You can reach us at 088-7746400 or