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What is Omnichannel?

Omnichannel is a business strategy that seeks to provide customers with effortless and seamless experiences across all contact channels. Omni is a Latin word meaning “all,” so omnichannel means all channels. This approach integrates all the channels a business uses to interact with customers to ensure they get a high-quality and consistent experience irrespective of whether they are engaging with your business via your website, mobile app, or in-store.

Omnichannel breaks down the boundary between the organizations’ channels and makes it all work together as a unified system. In other words, your websites, apps, social media, POS, physical stores, reward programs, and other facets interact together and work in harmony to make online and in-store shopping easier and more enjoyable for your customers.

For example, adopting an omnichannel strategy makes it possible for a customer to check your products online, place an order later on their smartphone, and pick them up at a chosen physical location.


Omnichannel vs. Multichannel

While both omnichannel and multichannel (also known as cross-channel) strategies seek to engage existing and potential customers across many platforms, both approaches have some differences.
In a multichannel approach, businesses seek to communicate with their customers using multiple channels, which may be disjointed. The strategy focuses on targeting consumers across multiple platforms, and, most times, the channels work individually rather than in harmony.

However, an omnichannel strategy picks up from where a multichannel approach ends. Omnichannel recognizes that customers’ interaction with a business is not always linear, so it weaves the disjointed channels in multichannel into a holistic unit that focuses on satisfying customer needs and delivering a unified experience across all platforms.

In turn, an omnichannel approach allows customers to interact and transact with businesses whenever and however they want. It also makes it possible for customers to switch effortlessly between channels without a drop in the overall quality of experience or service.


Lessons from Nordstrom’s Return Process

Nordstrom’s return process is a great example of an Omnichannel approach. The fashioner retailer takes the omnichannel experience beyond allowing customers to shop across multiple platforms to letting consumers return items via the most convenient platform. Nordstrom allows customers to return items, whether bought online or in-store, to the nearest store to them, use contactless curbside returns or even send them by mail. This is an example of how multiple channels can work together to make customers’ experiences seamless and more enjoyable.


Benefits of Omnichannel

Some of the benefits you will get when you switch to an omnichannel approach include:

• Happier customers & higher retention rate
Customers are happier when they can engage with your business using any platform they want and still get a consistent, seamless, and satisfying experience. In turn, they are more willing to use your services time and again

• Better insights
Omnichannel gives you a better insight into customers’ journeys and helps you understand how they interact with your channels. You get an overview of when, how, where, and why consumers use your platforms. In turn, you can identify opportunities to increase your services and improve consumers’ experiences.

• Higher Revenue
Omnichannel places consumers at the core of brand experiences, making it more likely for consumers to conduct business with you. In turn, your sales and revenue increase.

• Increased organizational efficiency
Streamlining your operations through integrations makes your business more efficient and enhances your customers’ overall experience.

Sid Bhatt HeadshotThis article is written and owned by Senior Advisor, Sid Bhatt, CCIM | SVN Commercial Advisory Group
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