The end of the year holidays are times that brings with them a big boost in consumption, and as a consequence of this, most retail companies prepare offers, discounts and promotions to encourage even more purchases.
Christmas season is approaching, and usually retail stores achieve more than 20% of their annual sales. It is no secret that many of them today face a greater competition, since it is easier for consumers to find products on the internet, or a larger variety of products in stores that previously were not seen as competitors; in this scenario, being accessible or available to customers is the big challenge; The solution? Omnichannel.
In this blog you will find:
- What is an omnichannel strategy?
- Actions to implement an omnichannel strategy
- Key trends for this holiday season
What is an omnichannel strategy?
It is a customer-centric approach to marketing and sales. Its aim is to provide an integrated user experience, generating easy and fast access to information through different channels, both physical and digital.
But despite increasing technological advances, many retailers continue to manage their business in a rudimentary way, for example:
- Attention at the point of sale is often very slow.
- They do not have a strong brand presence and offerings beyond their physical store.
- They do not know fundamental information about their consumers;
And for retail stores, the most important thing is to close the sale and have a customer base that is loyal to the brand. Today, consumers have multiple options for shopping and it is the stores that must take advantage of the opportunities that omnichannel represents by being close to their customers and offering them the best possible service.
In Latin America, according to Americas Market Intelligence (AMI), online sales volumes should grow 29% between 2020 and 2024 to reach US$580 billion, which should open up different business and investment opportunities.
The shopping experience for many consumers is usually through virtual platforms because of the growth of e-commerce platforms triggered by the pandemic. However, stores remain an essential part of the consumers experience. The Executive Director of Accenture Interactive Hispanic America, Ezequiel Arslanian, explained that "people are looking for an omnichannel experience that offers a seamless integration between digital and physical shopping. In other words, a hybrid shopping experience.
According to Statista's Digital Market Outlook 2020 report, Costa Rica recorded a 48% growth in online sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic. By 2022, this figure is expected to increase and the consumers are also expected to join the online shopping experience.
The adaptation of an omnichannel model or strategy provides a consistent shopping experience for customers and helps retailers increase sales and offer services from the physical store, ecommerce, via phone, apps, and others.
3 actions to implement an omnichannel strategy
1. Sales channels and omnichannel support.
Sales and support channels are fundamental to start using an omnichannel strategy, mainly because they are where your products are presented, information is offered, customers' questions are answered, and they are also the communication channel for the post-sales period.
2. Synchronization of the company's systems
It is difficult to implement an omnichannel communication strategy because of the develop and cost inventory processes, marketing and sales KPI analysis for each of the different channels. The ideal way is to employ an unified system for offline and online platforms. In this way, it is possible to ensure that an inventory process is applied that responds seamlessly to each channel, without inconsistencies, duplicate data or other errors.
3. Knowing the target audience or buyer persona
As this is a customer-focused strategy, it is essential to know and analyze consumer behavior. In omnichannel marketing, gathering this information makes it easier to predict and anticipate user expectations, which ones are the preferred channels they use, purchase processes, which ones need to be improved further, among others.
Key trends for this holiday season
- Replicate the experience in both the physical and digital store: If the retailer already offers a digital experience to its customers and potential customers, the next step is to turn both spaces into attractive sites for the consumer, since it is important that both can generate leads and also provide a similar experience in each of the channels. The company must ensure that the actions and processes of its physical and virtual stores are integrated to guarantee a complete and convenient experience for all its buyers, regardless of the purchase channel they choose.
- Networks also serve to sell: The smartphone has become one of the main shopping tools, as well as the favorite device to access social networks. Currently, many platforms and social networks have resources for businesses to reinforce web sales with marketplaces, surveys, catalogs and more; and it is time to take advantage of them; yes, each network has its own language, whether videos, reels, images and more; therefore, it is key to use them properly or go to strategic communication professionals for the execution to be successful and effective.
- Create messages with a more human sense: Consumers today do not just buy for the sake of buying or for a sense of possession, many people prefer to consume from brands committed to social, sustainable and ethical causes; and obviously, consumers expect to see this reflected in advertising. For example: Showing diversity, inclusion, good environmental practices, are three of the most important pillars in the messages that connect with people, especially the younger generations.
- Create content through influencers: A digital strategy to boost sales during the holiday season can include influencers, as they easily connect the shopping experience with entertainment through authentic, viral and original publications that achieve a greater click with people.
According to a Facebook IQ survey in 2020, 49% of consumers would buy new products directly from videos related to brands, celebrities or influencers they follow.
Omnichannel is the new best strategy to use; consumers are looking for different experiences when it comes to shopping. While it is true that physical stores provide a more direct experience, they are starting to see the benefits of the digital universe. Therefore, it is time to embrace both online and offline channels. Concepts such as e-commerce, delivery and others will be basic in the planning of strategies for high seasons such as the one approaching, but also to stay relevant in a highly competitive market.