Every businessman wants to see their business grow. They would do everything just to achieve it including applying a new retail strategy.   In the year 2012, after losing $1.2 billion in sales, Best Buy revamped it’s multi-channel retail strategy and implemented an omnichannel retail strategy. They figured out that their customers would like to buy products at their online and offline stores interchangeably. They added an option to pick up products at their retail stores.   Since the implementation, they posted big sales growth. In this article, we would be breaking down the major differences between Multi-channel and Omnichannel retail strategy.          

Definition: Multi-channel and Omnichannel

  Multi-channel is selling of products across various sales channels. You may consider yourself as a multi-channel retailer if you are selling to two or more channels:  
  • Brick and Mortar Retail store
  • Online store (Shopify, BigCommerce)
  • E-commerce marketplaces (Amazon, Lazada, Shopee)
  • Mobile app with a customer shopping list feature
  While Omnichannel, from the word Omni, integrates all multiple sales channels in one platform. This is considered to be the future of retail platforms according to Euromonitor.  
Philippine retailing industry is also undergoing business model disruption, particularly the inevitable integration of digital platforms. Given Filipinos’ love of shopping malls, bricks-and-mortar stores will remain very relevant but will need to evolve.   Adopting an omnichannel strategy, with a particular presence in the digital space while enhancing the in-store experience, will be a must for retailers to remain competitive in the marketplace.   The Philippine retail industry will not go down the purely e-commerce route as both a physical and digital presence will be crucial to sustaining consumer interest. – An excerpt from Euronomitor’s retail report for 2018. 
  As market competition continues to rise, companies are in continuous search of ways to improve their customer’s experience. A lot of companies make sure that they are available for sale both online and offline. However, certain challenges arise upon managing these multiple sales channels:  
  • Customers wanting to know if a certain product is available in a particular store
  • Company managers who want to compare the sales among all the sales channels
  • Companies wanting to give incentives to customers who buy products online and offline
  • And a lot more!
   

Customer Experience

    Multi-channel solved the problem of products being available both online and offline. However, since multi-channel retailers have separate inventory system across all of its channels, customers sometimes have a hard time knowing if a particular stock is available in a particular sales channel.   Omnichannel retailers, on the other hand, connects every sales channel to ensure a positive customer experience. This is the main difference between multi-channel and omnichannel.  
Developing an omnichannel strategy is a uniquely-tailored process with customer-centric goals. The main focus should be on how your customers want to experience shopping online, and that focus should be supported by the infrastructure partners who can help to hold that customer’s experience to the highest standards. – Alexei Alankin, CEO, Eventige

Order Fulfillment

  Multi-channel Retailers get to fulfill their orders per sales channel. There is no direct correlation between online and offline channels, whatever is the sale in the online does not reflect in the offline.   In OmnichannelSince the sales channel is well connected, orders across all channels could easily be tracked thus business owners can expect faster order fulfillment.  
Think of the buying experience from your own perspective. Years ago, you would buy in-person only. At some point you started shopping online and using sites like Amazon.   But these worlds are beginning to blend and you’re more and more likely to check out something in-person but buy it online. Or vice versa.   The key as a merchant is to be able to accommodate your customer and take their order however they want to give it.   – Brett Owens, Marketing Director & Co-Founder, LeadDyno
   

Technology

    Being a new technology, there are few platforms who are offering omnichannel. To be able to connect all the sales channel into one platform is surely a dauntless task. That’s what Omnirio is trying to solve. We are one of the pioneers of omnichannel retail strategy in the Philippines.   If you’re interested to know more, please contact us below: [contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]    

Conclusion: Multi-channel or Omnichannel?

  Omnichannel retailing evolves from Multi-channel because of the limits in the latter. Customers like fast and seamless transaction and as a company who wants to grow, you need to consider moving into omnichannel now.   Philippine retailers should embrace changes in their retail strategy. In fact, the country’s largest retail company, SM Retail, has launched a click and collect service which allows their customers to order online and collect it in their store. Overall, omnichannel strategy aims to integrate both online and offline sales channel.    

Guru Tip

      Stay in touch with the leading retail trends and provide your customers with the best experience they deserve.     As pointed out in various research papers and examples from market leaders, Omni-channel is the next step in retail evolution

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