6 Awesome Omni Channel Strategies That You Can Use For Your Store

Have you encountered a chance to move into the world of omnichannel selling?

Chances are you have.

Even if it doesn't seem like it.

A physical retail hardware store selling a handful of items online reflects that of an omnichannel experience. The same goes for building a website or bringing a mobile point of sale to a trade show or craft fair.

Amazon and Walmart are currently duking it out in one of the most prolific omnichannel battles we've seen, with Amazon's attempt to create physical bookstores and Walmart scrambling to give online buyers the benefit of quick returns and pickups from its network of physical stores.

When you own an online or retail store, the question isn't if you're going to implement omni channel strategies.

The question is when.

Yes:

It sounds intimidating at first, but that's the way the retail world is going, with examples like Bonobos fitting clothing in a retail store, then sending shirts and pants in the mail.

The good news is that although omnichannel marketing may seem frightening for a smaller business, the dividends pay off once you get the ball rolling- with businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies seeing 91% higher customer retention rates.

Therefore, all businesses can benefit from going omnichannel, and that's why we want to outline several omnichannel strategies used by well-known brands.

This way, you can implement a plan and take your own approach with some guidance along the way.

1. Allow for Flexible Purchases – Zumiez

omni channel strategies

Let's face it:

Customers are finicky with the way they want to buy products. One person will tell you that they won't buy a piece of clothing until they try it on first, while their identical twin doesn't mind the idea of ordering online, trying something on, and sending it back if it doesn't fit.

Some folks would rather pick up or return an item to a store, while others can't imagine stepping foot into a physical location after the rise of ecommerce.

Clothing retailer Zumiez realized that not all of its customers are the same, so it implemented an experience on the website to offer multiple purchasing options.

For instance, a user could place an item in their bag and choose to either pick it up in-store or have it shipped to their home. Customers can purchase from every channel available from Zumiez, and this includes the ability to ship from one store to another.

How to Adopt This OmniChannel Strategy for Your Own Business

It depends on the ecommerce platform being used, but a wide variety of store pickup features can be found on some platforms.

That said:

You can also install plugins like the WooCommerce Local Pickup Plus extension, which offers pickup for any product at any location.

As for Shopify, the Store Pickup +Delivery app is a viable solution.

2. Deliver Omni Channel Experience With an Interactive Rewards Program Through an App – Starbucks

A rewards program is a part of the omnichannel experience, considering a customer is only going to use the rewards program if they can easily check the balance, pay from the app, and use it on all channels.

Starbucks knows this all too well, as the rewards experience is seamlessly integrated into every single channel it has. The Starbucks rewards app allows users a chance to check and reload their balances on their phone.

All of this information is updated into the Starbucks system, so if a person added their balance two minutes before going to a Starbucks, they would still be able to use it.

Earned rewards are added immediately to the app, and the customer can pay with a physical rewards card or with the app.

Nifty, huh?

How to Adopt This Omni-Channel Strategy for Your Own Business

Each rewards plugin has varied functionality, but the most reputable ones do a good job of updating in real-time and allowing customers to spend their rewards on all channels.

For WooCommerce, we like the WooCommerce Points and Rewards extension or the SUMO Rewards Points. The Smile.io app works nicely for Shopify.

3. Let Customers Pick Up Where They Left Off – Crate & Barrel

As an ecommerce professional, you must assume that customers are going to start shopping on one device (like a computer) and continue that shopping elsewhere (like on a phone).

Because of this, it makes sense to follow the lead of Crate & Barrel by saving the shopping cart information into the customer profile.

This also applies to the Crate and Barrel gift registry, where the mobile device version of the registry gets updated in real time and the recipient of the gifts can manage their registry from any device without any problems.

Try-Shopify

How to Adopt This Omni-Channel Strategy for Your Own Business

Sometimes a perfectly seamless experience like Crate & Barrel's takes some sort of custom coding with an app. However, many ecommerce platforms have this functionality built-in with the help of responsive websites- as long as the customer logs into their account on the new device.

4. Combining Personalized Expertise With Online Shopping – Bonobos' Omni Channel Marketing Strategy

It seems strange that Bonobos is now owned by Walmart, but the overall focus on the omnichannel experience still remains.

In 2012, Bonobos partnered with Nordstrom, exchanging its knowledge on branding and email marketing for stores to sell its clothing.

However, the Bonobos stores didn't have the same strategy you would find at most men's fashion boutiques. Bonobos created what it calls “guideshops,” where the customers come into the stores and try items on, touch them, and compare.

But none of the clothing is brought home by the customer. Instead, people choose what they want to buy and make the purchase online. Then, the package is sent to their door.

This cuts down on inventory and operations costs without sacrificing that personal expertise and the valued ability for customers to touch the products before buying.

How to Adopt This Omni-Channel Strategy for Your Own Business

Not many other retailers have perfected this omnichannel strategy put forth by Bonobos.

However, it's entirely possible for physical retailers to expand into the online arena by utilizing current physical shops. The same goes for online stores, especially since you don't have to open a huge retail store with overwhelming amounts of inventory.

5. Another Omni Channel Strategy: Give Technology To the Physical Workforce – REI

REI is one of those rare brands that has seen major success both online and in its stores. One of the reasons is because of the friendly experience you get while walking into an REI store, but it also has to do with the fact that the company has done a great job of merging the online experience with the physical one.

Over 75% of REI shoppers take a look at the REI website before coming into a store. This shows that customers value the ability to sift through pricing and details before touching the products.

REI wants its associates to have the advantage of the internet on them at all times. Therefore, the company equipped all sales associates with mobile devices, while also giving out free WiFi to customers who want to complete their own research while in the store.

Why is this so important? Because although the associates are trained to help out, they're no match for the amount of information on the REI website.

How to Adopt This Omni-Channel Strategy for Your Own Business

This one only applies to businesses with retail stores, but it's a simple one to put into action.

Make sure your online store is easy to navigate and train your associates in quickly navigating through the site to find the best answers to customer questions. After that, invest in some devices for your associates.

6. Set a Different Starting Point- Value City Furniture

Consider this:

Wouldn't it be nice if you could choose to either start your shopping at home (on the computer) or in the store?

That's exactly what Value City Furniture does with its Easy Pass.

What's great about the Easy Pass is that it makes perfect sense for a furniture retailer.

Why?

Because the inventory is not cheap, customers want to do their research. They're not going to make an impulse buy.

Therefore, a customer can choose to either start shopping online or in-store. If they go the online route, a wishlist is formed which can be pulled up by a sales rep at the store. All that's needed is an email address for the rep to show it on their own screen.

How to Adopt This Omni-Channel Strategy for Your Own Business

Again, this strategy is best suited for store owners with physical outlets.

And the exact functionality will most likely need custom development, but a good place to start is with a wishlist like Wishlist Plus. That way, a customer can make a wishlist online, then share it with an associate at the store.

What's your Next Omni Channel Strategy?

As we mentioned before, it's not a question of if you're going to pursue an omnichannel experience, but rather when.

Therefore, it's important to start with a strategy that fits your current brand.

Do you have retail stores? If so, why not try giving your associates iPads or cutting down on inventory and acting as more of a showroom?

Are you only running an online store? Then consider ways to allow for flexible purchases or even opening up a small retail store for people to see the products.

If you have any questions about these omnichannel strategies, let us know in the comments section below.

Joe Warnimont

Joe Warnimont is a freelance writer who creates tools and resources to help other writers get more productive and market their work.

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