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Why Omni-Channel Marketing is Essential for Small Retailers

Omni-Channel Retailing Infographic

Posted on 29, October, 2015

Last Modified on 20, November, 2015

In today's technologically connected world, the way people shop is evolving faster than ever. Consumers no longer simply visit a store, make a decision, and then a purchase. People are now using technology to their advantage to become savvy shoppers by researching, browsing, comparing, and even shopping online on their laptops, tablets, and phones! But here's the kicker - customers are doing all of this while actually in a store! In fact, using tech to shop smart while in a retail setting is so popular that it has been dubbed showrooming. These new consumer behaviors are forcing retailers to change the way they think about marketing. Just as online and offline shopping is beginning to merge, business owners now need to merge their online and offline sales tactics into a single omni-channel.

Omni-Channel Marketing

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What is Omni-Channel?

Omni-channel, sometimes called Omni-commerce, is a multichannel sales approach that aims to provide a seamless shopping experience to customers though the integration of online and offline marketing. For example, retailers might incorporate technology into brick-and-mortar store displays by using iPad kiosks. At the same time, the retailer may use their online channels to offer in-store stock information and in-store order pickup. The omni-channel customer experience should seamlessly integrate the online with the offline and vice versa. With omni-commerce, consistency between these channels is key.

Why is Omni-Channel Marketing So Important?

Owning a smartphone puts a world of information at your fingertips at all times. Today, shoppers are using their devices to access information while they browse your store. They look up product details, competitors’ prices, and reviews - anything to help them make an informed purchasing decision. A recent study revealed that 42% of consumers search for information online while shopping in a brick-and-mortar store. Luckily, 50% of these shoppers are headed right to the retailer’s own website, while only 30% go to a competitor’s site. However, the study also found that 2 out of 3 shoppers who did search for product information while in stores couldn’t find what they were looking for: 33% of them simply left the store frustrated and empty-handed.

This data highlights the importance of using omni-channel strategies to create a more satisfying shopping experience for information-seeking customers. By placing interactive tech displays, like iPad kiosks, around a storefront, retailers can make online information easily accessible to shoppers looking to make a purchase decision. Make sure the default link is set to your store’s website to encourage customers to look there first, instead of at a competitor’s site. If your small business doesn’t have the means to invest in the tablets needed to make this omni-channel marketing strategy work, then try traditional sign holders as a cheaper alternative. Place signs and posters around the store that indicate exactly where customers can access information on your business’ website. Take advantage of QR codes that take the shopper directly to a page on your site by printing them on your signage. Any way you can make it easier for your customers to find the information they’re searching for while shopping will be an effective omni-channel retail strategy!

Try it Yourself!

By making it easier for your connected customers to access information on the go, you can prevent them from leaving your business confusing and frustrated, just to head online to find what they're looking for. Even the smallest retailers can pull off a omni-commerce marketing strategy with the quick and easy suggestions above!

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