If you have ever made a purchase after browsing on your smartphone only to learn that the store you are standing in does not stock that item, you will relate to how frustrating a non-omnichannel retail experience can be

In 2019, while 73% of customers use multiple channels during their shopping journey, only 7% shopped exclusively online and only 20% shopped exclusively in store (2). People are using more channels than ever when shopping.

These same people are expecting a close correlation, if not symmetry, between retail channels. In 2019 a non-omnichannel experience is frustrating, a smooth omnichannel experience is expected.

Despite the growth in the number and complexity of channels available, it is possible to meet customer expectations and provide an omnichannel approach regardless of the scale of the enterprise.

Below are three keys to this unified retail utopia that customers expect.

Key one – Single Core Data Management System

Everything that the customer sees, regardless of channel, originates in a central location of stored data. Good management and organization of this data adds crucial effectiveness to retail campaigns.

Data is never static. Robust and flexible data management software can incorporate real-time data from sources such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Product information management (PIM), Customer relationship management (CRM), Media Servers, and arrange it into a single data lake. It is then availablein statistical form providing key information to decision makers.

Step two – The Unified Use of Data via All Channels

Unified data storage is the foundation of a truly utopic omnichannel retail strategy. However, this is only effective if it truly reaches the customer through the channels they use. Customers who shopped after browsing three or more channels bought 250% more frequently than customers who only engaged with only one channel (1).

This is not only a case of channel usage. This is only true where a unified omnichannel approach was taken across the channels. A genuine omnichannel experience provides consistent branding, product recommendations, and relevant advertising campaigns across the channels.

A case in point is sports giant Nike. The Nike Runners Club mobile application (originally marketed as Nike+) boasts over 100,000 users. Members, who constitute a target audience, are often daily users of the app, see consistent message and branding whether in fabulously designed brick and mortar stores, social media or website. This has contributed in Nike achieving top spot in the running shoe market (3).

Step three – Learn, Learn, Learn

An effective retail strategy requires the repeated efforts of marketers working closely to develop close synergy with the target audience over sometimes an extended period of time. In other terms, it is not easy to get retail strategies right immediately.

Data inflow must be carefully analysed to interpret the success of current campaigns and lessons learned must be applied to future endeavours. This requires more than storage. It requires a complete array of analytical tools and a display that is easily understood and readable by decision makers.

Conclusion – CTA

A house is only as stable as the foundation it is laid upon. A successful omnichannel strategy is likewise built upon a solid data infrastructure.

Omnichannel cloud data management middleware that is both robust and flexible such as Cloud, as developed by Shopi can provide such as basis. Harness the power of omnichannel and provide the unified front that your customers expect.