Before we start discussing the benefits of omnichannel commerce in B2B, let’s make sure everyone reading this knows what omnichannel distribution is. That’s step one – getting a basic understanding of the terms we’re dealing with, and then we’ll jump into how they can benefit your business.
What is omnichannel commerce?
Omnichannel is a strategy that involves distribution of products and services across multiple channels, where all of the channels are tightly integrated with each other. Forrester Research describes omnichannel B2B commerce this way:
An integrated approach for selling to and servicing customers across all relevant traditional and digital channels. It is highlighted by customers having contextually relevant and positive experiences, regardless of preferred channel.
Some business owners wrongly define omnichannel commerce and confuse it with multichannel commerce, but multichannel commerce does not involve any synergy between the channels – each of them is a separate, independent entity.
In 2017, Harvard Business Review conducted a study of 46,000 shoppers that suggested omnichannel is rapidly gaining popularity with consumers. It might be safe to say that omnichannel commerce is the future of eCommerce and has a wide range of advantages, which every business owner should consider.
So, if you own a business and are thinking of channel omnification, then this post will be helpful and interesting for you.
These are the key benefits of an omnichannel approach:
- Long-term relationships with customers across all channels – A customer-centric viewpoint of the omnichannel approach enables distributors to earn customer loyalty throughout all channels. This will not require separate marketing efforts for each channel, as omnichannel marketing is a unified process for all distribution channels. This prevents possible losses of information, increases the quality of customer service, and rewards the customers no matter when or where they shop.
- Integrated communication and analytics – Several communication channels create different messages that your business must evaluate in order to meet the consumer needs. Analytics give us powerful data that helps business owners understand and review their interactions with consumers. All user actions will be recorded as they navigate between several channels. With such cross-channel capability, you can interact with customer data, no matter its origin, and “stitch” it with other data across all available channels. As a result, you will get a real-time view of your business, including all transactions, revenues, and engagement levels.
- Reaching out to Millennials – The new generation of consumers, which is known as Millennials, is a perfect target audience for omnichannel commerce. They are constantly online and require the ability to seamlessly switch between online and offline shopping channels, as well as between different online channels. Millennials know they have options, so if they have a bad experience while shopping with you, they will just leave and find another store that will deliver a better experience. Your task as a business owner is to get the most out of eCommerce in order to convert and retain the valuable Millennial shoppers.
- Increased brand awareness – Brands that have unified sales and marketing efforts across all channels gain a better reputation with consumers than those who use the traditional multichannel model.
- Opportunity to review all transactions – Managing each channel for each customer means that individual transactions are no longer lost. From the place and time when the buyers are more likely to purchase specific items, to demographics of most loyal customers, each transaction contains the potential to help move the overall business forward.
- New sources of income – Omnichannel commerce has given distributors the opportunity to develop and generate new sources of income. Omnichannel commerce simplifies the implementation of payment infrastructure in a range of small enterprises that are involved in business.
- Boosted sales and conversion – Well optimized eCommerce platforms enable consumers to shop from any place using any device or platform. Such flexibility and cross-platform compatibility increases the buying opportunities for a distributor’s products. Besides, it gives the buyers a wider selection of product information and many ways to access and purchase the products. Distributors and wholesalers can take advantage of these channels by producing comprehensive product content that converts viewers into buyers.
- Integration of business – An omnichannel strategy makes it possible to integrate the sales, marketing, inventory, customer support, and ERP systems. As a result, each aspect of the business works together with the other parts to deliver the highest quality of products and services to your customers.
- Increased efficiency – Implementation of omnichannel commerce strategies gives business owners the opportunity to deliver a consistent experience to their buyers across all platforms. The omnichannel approach gives the distributors a unified, centralized database of products, prices, discounts, and more. As a result, traditional physical stores are extending the actual supply chain. Customers can buy the products at the physical location, but it is possible to research via a range of other communication channels.
- Stellar shopping experience – A typical journey of a modern omnichannel customer can involve all possible channels within several hours, and research by Worldpay confirms this. Therefore, it is important for businesses relying on an omnichannel strategy to be able to support the customer at each step of this journey. For example, a specific part might be out of stock at a certain branch location. However, a customer service or sales rep can recommend that the buyer checks the online store for substitute items. Remember that the greater the experience your customer has, the more likely they are to return to your business, regardless of if it is offline in a physical location or online on your eCommerce platform.
- Customizable offers – Modern consumers are becoming more willing to share personal data if they see a tangible benefit in exchange. They can also earn points on their accounts no matter which channel they prefer. This enables business owners to personalize their offers for each customer.
Now you have an understanding of what an omnichannel commerce approach is and the benefits it can bring your business. If you have made omnichannel the key strategy for your business, then focus on the benefits and try to get the best out of your synchronized channels.