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Omnichannel - the business model of the future!



Purchasing behavior has changed significantly as a result of the Corona pandemic.

The online sales channel has experienced a real boom [¹] and remains a very important shopping and research channel. Also the brick-and-mortar retail is and remains an important point of contact for customers. [²] That is the reason why the linkage of online and offline is becoming increasingly important. According to the Google Omnichannel Excellence Study the usage of the omnichannel business model is the key factor for the future success of a company, as omnichannel is desired by customers. [³]

For retail companies to jump on the bandwagon and adapting to the new conditions is becoming more and more important. For this to be possible and to implement omnichannel activities for customers, corporate processes, the IT architecture and data strategy must be reconsidered and restructured.

Fundamentally, omnichannel describes a business model that links all sales and communication channels together. Customers can use multiple sales channels during their whole buying process. The customer contact points (touchpoints) are captured in a single customer profile so that every employee in the company can access the same information at any time. Conversely, this means that customers can get hold of and be provided with the right information at any time.

To illustrate this business model with an example:

A family wants to buy a new sofa. The woman starts looking on the Internet and quickly finds a suitable one. On the supplier´s website she gets hold of the information that the sofa is available in the nearby store. At the weekend, the family is visiting the store to take a look at the chosen sofa. After testing it, the family decides to purchase the sofa. The salesperson helps them with the sofa configuration including their desired color and adding any extras to the order before confirming. Afterwards the family receives a confirmation e-mail with an estimated delivery date. In the meantime, with help of the webshop profile which was created in the store, the family can check the status of their order independently at any time. Shortly before the delivery, the family is informed of the exact delivery date via text message and is also called by a member of staff to arrange an exact delivery time. Once the sofa is delivered, the family receives a thank you e-mail including pillow and blanket offers that may be suitable for their new sofa.

To be able to offer such a smooth omnichannel shopping experience to a customer, a few prerequisites have to be created and implemented by a company.

The central customer and prospect database is the base to control all company processes across channels. For most companies this means that isolated data silos must first be broken up, the data language must be standardized and the technology architectures must be aligned with the newly defined corporate processes.

However, before these technical prerequisites can be created companies must define their goals. Only with this clarity the most important first step, the inventory with subsequent GAP analysis and creation of a catalog of measures, can be taken in the direction of omnichannel.

In summary, it can be said that companies are more in demand than ever to jump on the bandwagon. Life is becoming more fast-paced and offers are available en masse, so it is becoming increasingly important for companies to place the customer at the center of all business processes and to be able to provide them with the right information at all times.

The adjustments and the accompanying cross-channel process control will be reflected in the medium term in more satisfied customers and employees as well as a higher ROI. Customer expectations have risen and omnichannel is becoming a retailer's must-have.

 

Sources:

Image from Freepik

[¹] Rabe, L. (2022): E-Commerce in Deutschland: Daten und Fakten zum boomenden Onlinegeschäft, Statista, [online], Link [retrieved on 24.01.2023]

[²] IDH – Initiative Digitale Handelskommunikation (2022): IDH KONSUMENTENREPORT Q1 – 2022: ERST DIGITAL INFORMIEREN UND INSPIRIEREN, DANN VOR ORT SHOPPEN, Offerista, [online], Link [retrieved on 24.01.2023]

[³] HDE Handelsverband Deutschland (2022): Google Omnichannel Excellence Study: Google und HDE zeichnen erfolgreichste Händler Deutschlands aus, HDE Handelsverband Deutschland, [online], Link [retrieved on 24.01.2023]




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