Traditional retailers have staked their futures on omnichannel retailing. The omnichannel strategy hinges on the idea that providing a seamless shopping experience in brick-and-mortar stores and through a variety of digital channels not only differentiates retailers from their peers but also gives them a competitive edge over online-only retailers by leveraging their store assets.
Omnichannel is a hybrid model which offers a balanced middle-ground between a full-service, purely sales-driven channel, where the customer is serviced in-person or through the phone (think to buy a car) and a dedicated self-service portal used mainly for small, low-value quick orders and product replenishments (like online food or clothes shopping).
Despite its costs, research shows there is significant economic value to be gained from providing digital channels to traditional store shoppers, and fusing the shopping experience across channels.
In a recent Forrester survey, 51% of B2B digital professionals said their omnichannel customers increased spending with them in the past year; just 7% said those customers decreased spending.  Migrated customers also spend more money as they interact with more channels, spend more money in offline channels if they buy online (by a significant factor of 4:1), and spend more money overall if they migrate online. Research in the B2C shows that when online-only companies open physical stores, their online sales in the same geographic trade area increase by 300% to 500%. 
Implement an Optimal Omnichannel Strategy
In the Webinar: Building the Optimal Online and In-person B2B Sales Strategy, Glen Coates discussed the need to combine the self-service (online-centric) and full-service (offline-centric) mobile and web facilities into a flexible and scalable eCommerce system which offers the full spectrum of services, engages the customer on a deeper level and drives more purchases. Two key criteria for a rock-solid Omnichannel strategy is investing in the right eCommerce platform and improving Customer Experience
Invest in B2B eCommerce platform that incorporates mobile order-writing applications, web eCommerce, mobile eCommerce, and a Web order management hub (for checking product data and inventory status). When choosing such a platform, think about the future growth demands of your business. Where do you plan to be in the next 5 years? What are the opportunities out there? Your platform needs to flexible and scalable enough to allow you to experiment with different pricing, product, and promotion strategies .
Secondly, you need to know who you are selling to, what their buying habits are what you can do to lure them onto your platform and maximize sales through a strong marketing strategy. You can improve Customer Experience by understanding their touch points and their eventual purchase (value and frequency). Customers need to ability to discover the products, kits, and bundles by themselves. Customer love personalized education about new products through rich content, reviews, ratings, and comparisons.
Enabling Seamless Experience
Omnichannel capabilities drive the engagement of core shoppers with the retail brand and ultimately draw them to the physical store. Traditional retailers with physical stores will do better not only by leveraging the power of the online world but by synchronizing the physical and the digital worlds to provide shoppers with a seamless, multi-channel experience that online pure plays simply cannot match.
Multichannel retailing capitalizes on consumer purchasing patterns by using various channels—e-commerce, catalogs, brick-and-mortar stores, kiosks, etc.—to target and engage customers. Retailers face a challenge of keeping the product and customer information consistent across all of its marketing and sales channels, as well as across the enterprise itself. A product information management (PIM) system optimizes customer experience by allowing a retailer’s digital assets creation team, content creation team, marketing team, etc. to tailor their content based on the data.
Learn more about how Riversand’s MDMCenter can make Omnichannel Retailing work better for you and your customer.
Read more about the Omnichannel strategy at linkis.com
image credit: @samuelzeller @mkwlsn @alvaroserrano