For more than half-a-decade, the buzz word “Omnichannel” & “Multichannel” has been making the rounds in the general IT & Sales industry. Although many large-scale retailers have transformed their businesses to Multichannel formats, there are still many retailers who are still unaware of Omnichannel retail technology & strategies & what it brings to the table.
How Are Multichannel & Omnichannel Different?
Multichannel Retail Operations usually revolve around the product or brand. Although consumers are free to interact with the brand or product on multiple channels, such as Social Media platforms, Email campaigns, Brick & mortar stores, etc. However, they are also confined within the limitations & protocols of their preferred channel.
Unlike Multichannel, Omnichannel Retail Operation, on the other hand, revolves around the consumer. This helps in creating & delivering a seamless, unified retail shopping experience to the consumer across all channels. With Omnichannel Retail Operations, the consumer can switch channels & still have the same retail shopping experience, regardless of their preferred channel.
Numerous market & consumer research studies have shown that consumers no longer wish to be limited by a brand or product's intended interaction channel. In today's tech-savvy world, consumers have multiple access to a plethora of interaction points which they expect to use & leverage seamlessly whenever they need to purchase a product or service. Considering these consumer behavior trends, it safe to bet that the future of the retail industry is to adopt & adapt to Omnichannel Retail Experience & Operations.
Modern consumers nowadays tend to create & follow their very own purchase journeys across the multiple channels and touchpoints, each one more important than the others. Retail brands that opt for a Multichannel operational strategy, consequently put a limitation on their consumers. It clearly, creates unnecessary & unfavorable friction while the consumer is making their journey towards a purchase.
This is where Omnichannel Retail Operations shines, as they offer every consumer the freedom to choose their preferred interaction touchpoint & switch between them seamlessly without having to start their purchase journey from the very beginning.
The sports apparel & utility brand Decathlon is a very apt example of how omnichannel operations can transform how customers interact with a brand. Their “Click & Collect” & “The Decathlon eXperience” retail strategies bind all consumer engagement channels beautifully. They allow consumers to browse & research products online & even lets them try it out at their physical stores & complete their purchase journey wherever they like. This has led to immense growth & brand loyalty as consumers are not only purchasing a product, they are also experiencing the same products them at their convenience, though their preferred medium or channel
If we talk about reality at the ground level, many retail business owners & brands who have made the transition to Multichannel Retail Operations & Strategies, such as Target, Max Lifestyle, etc. have experienced unprecedented growth & expansion. By using Multichannel Operational Strategies, such brands were able to take their business to the next level & simultaneously also procured the right tools to make their crucial core retail business operations up and running with greater efficiency & better consumer connect.
Omnichannel Retail operations, on the other hand, have been adopted by very few retail businesses. Partly because a big section of the retail sector, vis. Local Small & Medium retail shops, or rather their owners, are skeptical to transition to a digital platform & prefer to stick to their brick-and-mortar operations.
We’ve collated our very own list of pointers here ->
What the Future Has In-Store
Again, if we consider the current trend of digitization, which has swept across almost all conceivable industries, the future seems bright for both Multichannel & Omnichannel Retail Operational Strategies. As retail technologies such as Oracle Retail Platforms, SAP Platforms, Warehouse Management Solutions, Van Sales Management & much become easier to manage & customize to meet bespoke needs, we can very well soon see a rise in the adoption rates of Multichannel & Omnichannel Retail IT Operations & technologies.