Understanding the Omnichannel Approach

Modern business has rapidly evolved over the past few decades, and the retail industry is no exception. Whereas customers traditionally received retail offers and ads from stratified, disconnected sources, retailers can now operate on a combination of all retail methods.

Multichannel retailing is combining into a seamless method of customer engagement meant to encompass all shopping channels, comprehensively enhancing the customer experience.  This new customer experience paradigm is known as omnichannel retailing.

Omnichannel retailing allows customers to experience the brand, not the channel by leveraging in-depth customer insights.  In omnichannel efforts, all promotions originate from the same database of products and relationships and are dispersed through varying channels – social media, catalog, direct mail, computers, mobile devices and in-store experiences. Based on this new, customer-centric feedback, companies continuously evolve their own customer experience as well as create a proven marketing approach that is consistent and highly effective.

Combining the omnichannel retail approach with the phrase “the customer is always right” will eventually give way to a new phrase: “the right customer will have the right product at the right time through the right channel.”

Nicole Miller: From Fashion House to Retail Power House through Omnichannel Retailing Strategies
nicole-miller-vip-300Designer Nicole Miller is known for her modern design, and draws inspiration from a vast selection of influences to create her unique pieces. Her fashion designs make her one of the most sought after designers of our time. Her brand has grown as well, and her boutiques are now featured across the nation.

In addition, Nicole Miller is an early adopter of the omnichannel marketing approach. The company has begun to capitalize on omnichannel movement to enhance customer experience and drive sales. Thus far, they are reaping the benefits of this strategy, merging data from both ecommerce and in-store environments to provide a formidable marketing strategy aimed at boosting sales, all while giving consumers what they want, when they want it.

Before going omnichannel, Nicole Miller’s boutiques and ecommerce were entirely separate and disjointed. The new approach unified its retail and ecommerce information, growing its direct-to-consumer business. This new strategy not only shifted focus from wholesale partners, but also provided the brand the interaction it needed to infuse its marketing efforts with new life, gaining new momentum and popularity.

Another key to Nicole Miller’s success is the implementation of its loyalty program, one of the only online loyalty programs implemented by a fashion brand. With the help of omnichannel data analysis, the company plans to adjust its loyalty program offers and enrollment outreach to its physical store customers.  This retailer recognizes the value of feedback-based omnichannel marketing and website promotions which has proven effective at nurturing and rewarding its loyal repeat customers.

This approach has collapsed the silos that previously hindered sales processes. In-store representatives are now encouraged to offer online stock in addition to products on-hand, creating more options for customers and enhancing customer experience across multiple channels.

Benefits and Key Points to Omnichannel Retailing
The benefits of omnichannel retailing are numerous:

More Spending– Research shows that omnichannel consumers are more likely to spend up to 25% more than standard multi-channel shoppers[1]. This increase comes as a result of optimized cross-selling and upselling achieved only by capturing information that tracks the customers in real-time across all channels.

Increased Brand Exposure- Omnichannel customers consistently receive and engage in communication with retailers. For example, if a potential consumer visits a website with a specific product, while they are searching other browsers or on social media, that consumer may receive a special promotion on the same product in their inbox at a carefully calculated moment. Another example is a purchase made in-store that triggers an e-mail offer of a product that compliments what was already purchased at the in-store point of sale (POS), or informs the consumer of an upcoming sale on similar items, thus creating a constant marketing campaign geared towards both enhancing the customer experience and driving sales in subtle ways.

Better insights- Combining channels makes for a more complete view of the customer by gathering data in numerous ways both online and in person. Customers are regularly asked for zip code, email and other information, and this data is compiled along with customer preferences and stored for later use. This unobtrusive omnichannel approach is ideal for any retailer and enhances customer experience by engaging customers and giving them what they want, when they want it.

Enhanced customer experience – How well a company delivers based on customer preferences determines the sentiment customers have regarding specific brands. Omnichannel retailing creates a more positive sentiment for the brand in each and every customer, leading to better word of mouth marketing and sales in multiple channels.

The omnichannel approach brings a new, better strategy to retail. Brands looking to enhance their bottom line will thrive by embracing the decision made by market leaders such as Nicole Miller to engage customers every way possible and improve experience across the board. Companies that join the brand will become market leaders; companies that miss the boat will be left behind.

Krishna Mehra is Co-founder and CTO at Capillary Technologies.

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