7 Mistakes to Prevent in Omnichannel Retail

April 13, 2020
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Worst mistakes of omnichannel retail

When it comes to providing the ultimate shopping experience, omnichannel retailing is the way to go. By allowing shoppers to engage across various, convenient touchpoints, an omnichannel experience drives sales and reinforces customer loyalty to the brand.

Provided it is done right.

Omnichannel retailing is no easy feat. It needs coordination, periodic analysis and even creative solutions to generate the desired outcomes. If a brand doesn’t have the expertise or the resources to implement an efficient omnichannel strategy, chances are it will leave its customers more frustrated than ever and cost the brand its reputation.

To avoid this, we’ve listed for you some of the worst mistakes a brand can make when they set up omnichannel retailing.

Mistake #1 Breaks in the omnichannel experience

By its very definition, omnichannel retailing is about giving the customer a holistic shopping experience that flows seamlessly between offline and online channels.

When there is a disconnect in this flow, it hampers the experience leaving the customer exasperated and quickly driving them away from the brand. A classic example of this is not having the order details of a customer at a particular touch point, thereby forcing them to repeat this information needlessly.

You can prevent this by maintaining a Master Data Management system which creates a Single View of Truth across catalogs, sales and distribution channels, merchandising and other aspects.

Mistake #2 Ineffective sales rep at the retail store

It wouldn’t matter the amount of technological investment you have put in implementing an omnichannel retail solution if your sales rep cannot match up to it.

Take, for instance, an experience store for an electronics brand. Now, if the shop assistant is unable to pull the shopper’s purchase history and ends up recommending incompatible devices to the customer, it will create a poor impression in their mind.

They may not want to visit the store, thereby nulling the entire benefit of having set up such a store. Brands can avoid such pitfalls with robust training and by investing in high-quality salesforce.

Mistake #3 Not partnering with the right vendors

Vendor support plays a big role in providing a seamless omnichannel experience. From technology to logistics, the right partner vendors can allow your brand to level up its game. But you need to ensure that the vendors you collaborate with fulfil the following criteria:

  • They have omnichannel capabilities
  • They take the latest technological trends seriously
  • They are flexible in their operations to meet the changing customer demands

Without proper vendor support, it is nearly impossible for your vision of an omnichannel retail solution to be realised. So, make sure that you partner with vendors who are aligned to your expectations.

Mistake #4 Lack of measurement or analytics

An omnichannel retail solution should be a constantly evolving one, which is not possible without a proper measurement system in place. As the omnichannel experience is entirely driven by customer behaviour, it is vital that analytics and data collection are integrated at every touchpoint.

With measurable insights, you can:

  • Understand purchase behaviour and make inventory decisions
  • Create personalised, target-specific marketing campaigns to get customer loyalty
  • Determine and eliminate operational inefficiencies
  • Restructure the layout of your brick-and-mortar store or website to improve the store experience

and a lot more.

Mistake #5 Uninspiring displays and services

Omnichannel retailing is all about thinking outside-the-box, and hence, lazy one-way solutions simply won’t do. It starts right at the self-servicing kiosks which, if not intuitive, can lose customer engagement.

Sure, every customer loves a new piece of technology, but only if it simplifies their life and not the store manager’s. Therefore, you need to understand which parts of your workflow need to have the human touch and which can benefit from automation.

Your brand experience is a success only if there is a two-way engagement. So, put enough emphasis on some aspects of the purchase experience that ought to be interactive, personable and participative.

Mistake #6 Not leveraging technology

One of the most basic mistakes that brands make is to not future-proof themselves with technology, and this often extends to omnichannel retailing as well.

Though there are a number of technological advancements that exist which can help brands greatly – such as augmented and virtual reality, IoT, geo-location marketing, robotics, etc. – they still hesitate when it comes to investing in systems that make use of these.

Though there have been case studies of brands implementing these technologies and reaping significant benefits – e.g. robotics in Amazon warehouses and order fulfilment – they are by far and few.

Considering how tech-literate shoppers are, it only makes sense that an ideal omnichannel experience should at least be able to match this level of tech-savvy, if not exceed it.

Mistake #7 Remaining in the comfort zone

Omnichannel experience is all about many pieces coming together, and hence, it needs the teams to operate in synergy. It boils down to a brand leaving no room for complacency in workflows, embracing emerging technologies, collecting suggestions and insights at every level, and sharing work goals across departments.

As technology and subsequently, customer behavior evolves, the challenges of providing anomnichannel experience will complicate too. Remaining in the comfort zone will simply not be an option for the brand. Hence, participants (whether virtual or real) at every touchpoint must be equally committed to delivering a holistic retail experience to the customer.

Omnichannel retailing is complex, collaborative and constantly changing. As long as you make customer satisfaction as your priorityand are ready to push the envelope, there is no reason why you cannot offer a memorable, engaging and creative experience to your shoppers.


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