The landscape of omnichannel retailing and commerce is not an easy one. The main goal of omnichannel retailing is to help merchants increase revenue and create a better experience for customers. However, according to a survey, 45% of merchants and suppliers have lost more than $1 million in revenue due to cross-channel commerce challenges; and more than 13% have lost more than $3 million. Thereby, it’s crucial to be aware of all the challenges that you might face before undertaking an omnichannel retailing. In this post, we’ll introduce you to the most common problems of omnichannel commerce and provide you with the solutions to create an effective omnichannel retailing.
Poor Customer Engagement Across Channels
A good businessman knows that the biggest asset they own is the customer. Having a good base of loyal customers means having a successful business. However, simply good products are not enough for retaining customers. In multi-channel retailing, each channel runs its own promotional program to engage customers, and each engagement campaign is launched individually. The omnichannel retail strategy requires a different, more complicated approach. Here, it’s important to create a unique promotional campaign that integrates all the channels. The problem arises when shifting from multi-channel to omnichannel retailing. You fail to incorporate every campaign into a single strategy and start losing customers due to poor engagement.
- Firstly, make sure to integrate the online and offline platforms. Connect the online and offline shopping experience, in order to help customers have a smooth purchase path.
- There are so many touchpoints your omnichannel commerce has. It’s important to set a united brand experience and brand image in all the touchpoints that a buyer goes through. Website, in-store, social media, mobile, email marketing, etc. are only some of the communication points through which you need to establish a united brand experience.
- To successfully nurture your customers’ engagement, you need to go beyond the online and offline integration. You need to determine your target segment of the shoppers and investigate their buyer journey based on their behavior across the channels. Then create a one of a kind engagement strategy.
Channel Conflicts and Lack of Integration
In multi-channel businesses, there’s always one channel that is given more importance and has more focus than the rest. Usually, it’s the channel that brings most of the sales. In omnichannel business, however, it’s important to integrate all the channels and give equal attention to each one. All the channels need to have the same amount of control and distribution. There can be conflicts between management teams too, as all managers have different goals set for their teams. Consequently, the business usually fails to meet customers’ demand because of poor infrastructure. Lack of channel integration leads to a limited or excess amount of inventory, poor organizing due to incompatible goals and a supply-demand gap.
- Since all managers have different goals, you need to hire a single manager that will coordinate the goals across the channels and make sure that everything is smooth.
- During the transition phase, proactively address channel conflicts. You must constantly look for greater efficiencies, predict disruptions, and search for opportunities and solutions. Real-time data analysis can help you with predictions. We cover this later in the post.
- Adopt a real-time integration tech solution. You will keep yourself ahead of the customer if you anticipate and predict customers’ needs, relying on real-time data.
Insufficient Data Usage
Data can be a powerful weapon if used properly and accurately. The main purpose of data in the business world is to support rather than lead. The same idea is applicable to omnichannel commerce, as data plays an important role in omnichannel businesses. Poor synchronization of data in the integration process can create many issues. For example, if the data across the channels is not well synchronized, the whole omnichannel system will fail to work seamlessly and smoothly. A well-integrated data will help get insights into omni-shoppers buyers’ journey path, thus helping the demand forecasting.
- You need to build a data management strategy which will be well planned and organized. Create separate data categories and use technology or software that will store every piece of information into a category. Then manage the data accordingly.
- Retailers must be updated with real-time inventory data and measure the growth of each channel based on previous sales history. This way they will predict the customers’ needs. Inventory analytics and optimization is the key to solving inventory and demand problems in the omnichannel.
Technology and Investment
The biggest mistake businesses make is shifting from multi-channel to omnichannel retailing without changing their old tech infrastructure. An effective omnichannel retail strategy needs a whole different technology, which requires investment. So technological barriers can be a problem when transitioning from multi to omnichannel retail strategy. Technology can fill the gaps that emerge once the business adopts the omnichannel retail strategy. These gaps affect the whole operations management of the business and prevent the company’s smooth channel integration process.
Solution – Adopt a Software!
Adopting software is the ultimate solution to all the previously mentioned problems of omnichannel retailing.
Adopting software will improve demand forecasting
In omnichannel commerce, a lot of problems are caused by faulty demand forecasting. A demand forecasting software will provide the crucial forward-looking picture that shapes how a company will deploy its supply chain. That is to take maximum advantage of customer opportunity.
Adopting software will improve business profit
Demand planning and forecasting increase forecast accuracy and customer service levels through better predicting, and shaping the full range of factors that determine how well a product portfolio satisfies market needs.
Adopting software will reduce customer frustration through inventory visibility
Customers don’t care about channels, they simply want to have an enjoyable experience. With a demand forecasting software, you’ll achieve an inventory optimization and will improve customer service.
In today’s fast-changing world, it can be hard to grow a business, and even harder to keep up with all the changes. Even for established businesses with years of experience in one sales channel, creating a smooth shopping experience across several channels can be quite challenging. Today, customers want to have an enjoyable and seamless experience on all channels, such as bricks-and-mortar, online, and mobile. When adopting an omnichannel retail strategy, make sure to also keep up with technology in order to succeed in building an efficient omnichannel strategy.