4 Keys to Omnichannel Commerce

Omnichannel commerce leverages all available marketing and distribution channels to provide a seamless, cohesive shopping experience. At any given stage of the customer journey, an omnichannel approach to commerce ensures online and offline touchpoints provide relevant experiences and steer customers toward the next stage.

For example, say a consumer checks out a product page for a large piece of furniture. They add it to their cart but don’t check out. Instead of simply retargeting the customer with an ad pointing back to the product page, an omnichannel commerce experience might point them to a local showroom where they can see it in-person, or use an image of the product and highlight a retail partner’s free shipping.

Some of the most difficult channels to coordinate are online and offline channels. But consumers often switch between in-store and online experiences throughout the customer journey. So brands that find ways to support these transitions can increase sales by improving the shopping experience.

Few brands facilitate true omnichannel commerce. Most simply take a multichannel approach, where channels are often siloed, working independently to drive sales rather than contributing to a single, cohesive experience.

If your brand wants to take an omnichannel approach to commerce, here are four keys to making it work.

1. Personalized experiences

One of the key differences between omnichannel and multichannel commerce is continuity. As customers transition from one channel to another, they need consistent, personalized messaging. An omnichannel mindset shifts the focus away from individual channels, touchpoints, and assets to the individual customer. 

Your customers see every touchpoint as part of their relationship with your brand. Omnichannel commerce aims to build on that relationship from one interaction to another. That means when a customer first interacts with your brand—on your website, through an ad, or in-store—every future interaction should be based on what brought them to you and what they’ve experienced so far.

This requires you to use what you know about your customers to create more relevant experiences across channels. Having a comprehensive customer journey map can help you recognize how each touchpoint can support someone’s customer journey—so you can meet their needs with personalized experiences, wherever they encounter your brand.

2. Universal tracking

Omnichannel commerce encourages crossover and continuity between channels. But one of the main reasons brands avoid it is because they can’t track and measure how their marketing efforts impact their distribution channels. 

If you drive all your traffic to Amazon or Target, those potential customers may be more likely to convert—but you won’t know unless you have universal tracking, where you can connect transactions that occur outside of your website to specific marketing assets and channels. This visibility is a crucial component of omnichannel commerce because it helps brands optimize conversions and maximize sales, rather than organizing communications around what they can track.

3. Consumer choice

In traditional multichannel commerce, touchpoints generally drive customers toward a preferred conversion channel, such as direct-to-consumer or strictly online or in-person stores. But this approach fails to account for the innumerable pathways consumers may take as they work through the stages of the customer journey. 

Rather than attempting to restrict the customer journey and confine traffic to specific distribution channels, an omnichannel commerce strategy empowers consumers to choose their path to purchase. Instead of fighting against a consumer’s preferences, omnichannel commerce leverages those preferences by surfacing multiple popular pathways.

If a consumer is determined to buy from Amazon, where they have a Prime membership and all their billing and shipping information is saved, they’re probably going to go to Amazon.com whether a brand helps them get there or not. By linking directly to your product pages on a retailer’s site, you’re removing roadblocks that can disrupt the path to purchase (the extra “work” of hunting for your product on another website) and eliminating opportunities for your competitors to poach your hard-earned sales.

People can certainly be overwhelmed by choice. But that’s not what a truly omnichannel approach to commerce does. Your audience enters the shopping experience and explores the digital shelf with specific retailers and buying options in mind. By presenting them with more options, you’re increasing the likelihood that your customers will see the choice they’re already looking for.

4. Omnichannel technology

While omnichannel commerce largely involves a different mindset about how marketing and distribution channels work together, executing an omnichannel strategy depends on technology. Brands need tech to help consumers identify local stores, see stock availability, and navigate smoothly from one channel to another. They also need to track sales across marketplaces, sellers, retailers, and storefronts.

PriceSpider’s Shoppable Where to Buy solution helps brands facilitate omnichannel commerce by providing universal tracking and empowering you to highlight a range of buying options from digital touchpoints. Show your customers local buying options or the most popular online stores that carry your products, linking directly from your website and other assets to your product pages on a retailer’s site.

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