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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : April 22, 2015

Expert: Why omnichannel needs to be a priority

According to experts across online and offline channels, an omnichannel strategy is one of the most important strategies a brand can implement. This new language could push revenue levels. Here is what you need to know about omnichannel.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: How important is omnichannel at this point?

John Tomich, CEO, Onestop: Executing a seamless omnichannel strategy isn't just important, it's essential to the success of your brand. Research shows that three-quarters of consumers expect fulfillment to be integrated across channels, and if your brand isn't meeting that expectation, consumers will migrate to another brand that does. Furthermore, a customer's interaction with digital brand messaging affects 36 cents of every dollar spent in stores. If a brand doesn't provide a carefully curated and consistent consumer experience across all channels, profit margins will decrease.

Kristina: Do you look at Apple's Watch and the rumors about Amazon drone delivery, etc., as driving omnichannel ecommerce?

John: The Apple Watch and Amazon drone delivery service are driving omnichannel e-commerce in that they are both inspiring innovation across the industry, but I don't think consumers are expecting drone delivery and the ability to make payments through wearable tech just yet. With only about three percent of retailers activating the NFC technology required to make Apple Pay transactions today, I think we're still a few years out from Apple Pay and the Apple Watch having a direct impact on omnnichannel strategy. That said, both Apple and Amazon are highly influential companies and it's exciting to see how they'll continue to shape the future of omnichannel.

Kristina: What are your top 3 tips to create a solid omnichannel strategy?

John: First, try to create the most consistent experience as possible across all channels. Your most valuable customers are the ones that use engage with your brand through all of your commerce channels, so focus on unifying your brand's design and content and then track user behavior for insight into their cross-channel path to purchase.
Second, simplify the return process. If a consumer makes a purchase online, they expect to be able to return in-store. Take a page out of Nordstrom's book - they relaxed their returns policies so consumers feel a sense of support across all channels. That's resulted in increased brand loyalty, which ultimately leads to higher profits.
Third, encourage your in-store customers to join your database. Have your sales associates offer customers discounts while they wait in line in exchange for having them sign up to receive company emails. It's a low-effort initiative that yields surprisingly fruitful results.

Tags: ecommerce, email marketing, mobile marketing, omnichannel marketing, OneStop, social marketing

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