Previously, on the blog, we discussed what omnichannel retail is and why it’s so important in today’s retail landscape. Consider this blog post an extension of that conversation where we will discuss what successful retailers are doing when it comes to creating an omnichannel strategy and how you can get started for your business.
Omnichannel Retail Strategy
An omnichannel retail strategy is a way to seamlessly integrate all channels of your business to provide a cohesive and elevated customer experience. These channels include your physical retail store(s), online store, mobile app, social channels, marketing campaigns (including email marketing and loyalty programs), and overall brand experience.
By marrying your in-store user experience with your social and e-commerce channels, you can ensure consistency in messaging and service while meeting your customers where they want to shop. The more consistent touchpoints you offer, the more customer loyalty you’re likely to build.
We all know the big names that shook up retail with their approach to omnichannel strategy: Bonobos, Warby Parker, Starbucks, Amazon, Sephora …
But what does an actionable plan look like for you?
Building an omnichannel approach can seem daunting at first, especially as technology and consumer preferences continue to evolve. But the sooner you can start delivering a seamless, consistent, and elevated omnichannel experience to your customers across all of your channels, the better chance you stand to get ahead of the competition in building a loyal customer base.
To get started, you should analyze three key questions:
- Who are your customers?
- Who are your competitors?
- Who are you as a company?
How to Build an Omnichannel Retail Strategy
Understanding the answers to these three questions will help you lean into the appropriate technology, services, and capabilities you need to strengthen your position as a multichannel retailer. Now, let’s unpack each of these questions.
1. Who are your customers?
Beyond basic demographic information, what are their needs and wants? How do they make decisions about where to shop and what to buy? Are they driven by promotions, products, or seamless experience?
With a unified CRM system like Endear, you can track purchases across your brick-and-mortar channels and online channels, making it easier to analyze the full picture of purchase patterns for your most loyal and profitable customers. Use this information to empower your decision-making process.
2. Who are your competitors?
Who are they targeting? What are their capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses? How do those stack up to yours? If your biggest competitor has an advantage over you in their brick-and-mortar network, but you have a stronger social media following, consider leaning into social content and ads that can drive e-commerce business to your physical stores with services such as “buy online and pick up in-store”, personal styling, alterations, or personalization offerings.
It’s also important to ask if there are any underserved areas of the market you are well-positioned to serve. How can you differentiate yourself from the pack? What competitors may emerge in the future?
3. Who are you as a company?
What are your strengths, weaknesses, and resources? The budget you have to invest in launching your omnichannel retail strategy is an important reality, and you certainly want to see a healthy return on that investment. Leaning into your unique strengths as a brand will help guide you in the right direction. With that in mind, ask yourself: what is the voice of your brand? What are you known for with your customers? Is it a high-quality product, elevated customer service, or trend-setting?
If you are not happy with how you are positioned in the market when it comes to targeting the right customers, reaching them throughout their customer journey, and differentiating yourself from the competition, you may want to consider working on a strong brand strategy plan first. This can unify all your omnichannel marketing efforts and ensure you pursue the right choices in your retail strategy.
3 Examples of Omnichannel Retail Strategies
Now, let’s take a look at what omnichannel retailing success looks like for other brands.
Founded in 2015, this DTC shoe brand offers modern shoes for modern women. It has a range of widths, styles, and even made-to-measure services. After opening their first store in 2018, Margaux knew the importance of empowering its in-store associates to drive online sales and connect with customers across channels. Find out more on how the brand uses Endear messaging and lookbooks to boost its sales.
Rhone is a premium menswear brand focused on comfort, quality, and performance for men with an active lifestyle. With roots in eCommerce, Rhone expanded to brick-and-mortar locations last year and now has four boutiques in the greater NYC area. Read about how it remained connected with its customer base by launching a virtual concierge service during COVID-19.
3. Universal Standard
This fashion-for-all DTC brand burst onto the scene in 2015, offering sizes 00 to 40 in a range of essential styles. As a brand, Universal Standard is quality-focused and fit-obsessed, delivering fashion freedom to the masses. In addition, the brand offers a personalized omnichannel shopping experience for any customer who wants it, with styling services available both online and in-store.
So, how do you create a winning omnichannel retail strategy? One that drives new customers as well as customer retention and lifetime value? Understand your key business drivers inside and out and lean into your strengths and unique capabilities. Connect with your customers on their own terms, and provide your team with the right technology to do so.