What Is Omnichannel Selling and Does Your Business Need It?

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As the world changes, so must your business. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed shopping habits forever. More customers are buying online than ever before, using several different marketing channels to do so: from social media to Google Shopping Ads, to online marketplaces.

Omnichannel selling is fast becoming the most effective and far-reaching marketing strategy for businesses who want to increase customer satisfaction by meeting their customers where they are.

But what is omnichannel selling, and how can you make the most of it?

Read on to learn more about what omnichannel selling can bring to your online store, and how you can use it to increase your customer base and drive sales.

What Is Omnichannel Selling?

Omnichannel selling is a marketing strategy which gives customers the same experience of your online store across several different channels (social media, marketplaces etc).

The Difference Between Omnichannel and Multichannel

Multichannel selling is a marketing strategy which offers the customer a range of different ways to interact with your business: through Google Shopping Ads, social media or your website.

Each of these different ways of marketing your business has its own strategy, meaning that two customers may have very different experiences when encountering your website from your ads on social media, for example.

Omnichannel selling, however, offers a more synchronized retail experience by providing the customer with a consistent marketing strategy across several channels, all at the same time.

Each channel contributes to the experience as a whole – meaning that wherever your customers are, they can experience your business in a consistent way. This makes your overall brand more robust and helps your business stand out from the crowd.

All omnichannel customer experiences will use several channels, but not all multichannel experiences are omnichannel. You could have an amazing mobile experience, creative social media campaigns and a fantastic website, but if they don’t work as a whole to build your brand, they won’t create an omnichannel experience for your customers.

what is omnichannel selling google ads channel example
Google Shopping Ads are an example of a channel.

Benefits of Omnichannel Selling

 Let’s take a look over the benefits of omnichannel selling:

Better Customer Experience

Your customers will love the fact that your business is consistently represented across multiple channels. Not only will this enhance your brand, but it will also increase consumer trust in your business. It shows that your store is willing to go the extra mile to make sure your customers get the best experience.

Greater Reach

By providing a seamless experience across multiple channels, you can reach your customers wherever they are, on the channel that they’re using at the time.

Customer journeys are no longer linear – people discover brands and products in all types of ways, such as social media, Google Shopping, online marketplaces, and in-store discovery. Having a consistent presence where your customers are is more important than ever.

Increase Sales/Profits

Drive sales with an increased presence across multiple channels. A customer’s first experience with your store may be through social media – in fact 85% of GEN Z shoppers use social media to research a product before buying it. Omnichannel selling makes the most of social commerce in this way, so your customer experience can start at social media and end with a purchase in-store or on your website.

Advice from the Experts

Top tip: Make use of influencers!

Social media influencers may have a powerful effect on your customer base. Reaching out and establishing a paid sponsorship with them can be a useful way to target certain products to your customer segments.

Create Customer Loyalty

With a consistent customer experience across multiple channels, you can make sure your brand is instantly recognizable. Returning customers will be able to tell it’s your business from the branding and style alone, leading to increased loyalty among your customers.

Better Data Collection Opportunities

With customers using a variety of different channels, but still having the same experience, it is easier than ever to measure the conversion rate of your channels. With one common variable across them all (the content), it becomes easier to see which aspects of your marketing strategy are working, and which aren’t.

How to Create Omnichannel Selling for Your Online Store

#1. Get to Know Your Customers

Understand your customer journey by learning which people use your website and how, so you can shape your marketing strategy to target your customers’ needs. By segmenting your customer base, you can personalize your strategy to reach different groups, instead of a one size fits all approach.

#2. Choose the Right Channels

Next, you need to figure out which channels each customer segment uses. This can be done through using Google Analytics, for example, as well as a mix of qualitative data, such as speaking to your customers. Research your customers’ habits to learn how to reach them in the right place, at the right time.

Advice from the Experts

Top tip: Know your customers!

The importance of research and reporting in developing and maintaining your omnichannel marketing strategy cannot be underestimated. Keeping up-to-date with your customer journey is one of the golden rules of digital marketing!

#3. Create a Clear Purpose

Once you feel like you know your customers’ habits, where to reach them, and how to attract them to your store, set out a clear strategy on how to deliver your omnichannel experience. This involves knowing what customer needs you are fulfilling and why, and then developing marketing content that suits this purpose.

#4. Implement Personalization

Now is the time to deliver a truly personalized experience for your customers. Using your research, develop marketing content that speaks to your customers’ needs and profiles. Use different channels to drive a coordinated marketing strategy that is consistent across channels.

Advice from the Experts

Top tip: SEO targeting

Make sure you do your SEO keyword research when developing your marketing content. This will mean that you can reach your customers whenever they search for your brand or products. It will also help you to understand your customers better.

#5. Deliver Seamlessly Across Platforms

Finally, now that you know your content strategy and which channels you’d like to use, it’s time to deliver to your customers. Promote your brand across multiple channels, using on-brand content and calls to action (CTAs) to drive site conversion and sales.

#6. Maintain Your Channels

Keep the process going! Omni channel selling and managing your ecommerce site is a constant exercise, and the best businesses continuously adapt to changing markets and customer behaviors. Keep an eye on your analytics and keep speaking to your customers to stay ahead of the trend!

Advice from the Experts

Top tip: Use data to drive sales

Use Google Analytics to help you see which channels are leading to the most conversions for your website. Keep updated on the latest trend changes, and adapt your marketing strategy accordingly, so you can reach your customers in the right place.

what is omnichannel selling google analytics data
Google Analytics is often used to monitor customer conversion across several channels.

Summary

The world of digital marketing has shifted dramatically in the past few years, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as more and more customers are looking to buy products online.

What used to be a relatively niche marketing strategy has now become the norm for businesses selling online.

In fact, as many as 95% of customers use three or more channels in just one interaction with a brand!

Any online store who are looking to thrive online simply has to make use of omnichannel selling to promote their brand, get to know their customers, and encourage loyalty through a consistent customer experience.

Not only does it encourage consistency, but omnichannel selling also ensures your branding and marketing strategy stays on point, wherever your customers are.

FAQs

No matter the size or scope of your business, there are several potential marketing and advertising channels available. Remember to do your research to work out which channels would be best suited to your business. Some of the most popular are:

  • Google Shopping Ads
  • Marketplace advertising
  • Retargeting ads
  • Social media
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Influencer marketing
  • Email and SMS

One of the most difficult things to do in omnichannel selling is making sure that your branding and marketing strategy are consistent across all channels. This makes sure that your customers get the same experience no matter which channel they’re using. Some top tips for cross-channel integration are:

  • Understand your customer journey
  • Have a clearly defined brand personality – including colors, images, and logo
  • Create and distribute a brand style guide
  • Perform regular communication audits
  • Tailor your brand voice for different channels

One of the biggest challenges in maintaining and scaling your omnichannel strategy is managing your multichannel inventory. Without centralized inventory visibility, it’s difficult to access accurate data for your research, or promise customers items will be back in stock on all platforms. Before starting omnichannel selling, we recommend you have a centralized inventory with good visibility of stock and reporting across all channels.
Consumer behavior has shifted so radically since the COVID-19 pandemic, and younger generations’ shopping habits show no signs of changing any time soon. Omnichannel selling is the best way to stay ahead of the curve and make sure your online store stands out from the crowd.

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