Omni-channel retailers have both physical stores and a digital presence. But it’s about a lot more than just doing both. Successful omni-channel retailers give customers to make purchases via a variety of sales channels and, very importantly, these businesses offer a high level of integration between these different channels. If a customer adds an item to their basket while engaging in some online shopping on their laptop, this item should also appear in their shopping cart when they log into the retailers accompanying mobile app. Providing this seamless user experience is all about breaking down silos between online and physical stores and manage products via a single marketplace.
Why is omni-channel important? According to the Omni-Channel Retail Guide, around 97% of retailers in developed markets believe it is critical to have an omni-channel strategy. And here’s a great example. Yuppiechef may have started out as an e-commerce site but the popular kitchen and homeware online retailer has recently entered the world of physical retail. Pioneers of the omni-channel concept in South Africa, Yuppiechef CEO Andrew Smith explains that their decision to open brick and mortar stores is their attempt to reach customers more across in various different ways. “We’re hoping that our customers will see us as Yuppiechef – not an online store, or a shop they pass in their local mall – but rather a single retail brand that they can choose to interact with on their terms, wherever and whenever they feel like it,” says Smith.
And it’s not only about giving customer more options – although this is very important. One of the key benefits of omni-channel is how this approach helps retailers streamline back-end management.
When you integrate your retail both retail and wholesale channels via an omni-channel strategy, it is easier to control purchase orders, conduct stock counts, analyse sales data and track shipping fulfilment from a single platform. But it isn’t just about compiling data to create impressive charts and reports. With improved visibility, retailers can identify areas where they can increase their profit margins and this enables them to more accurately predict demand. This lowers the risk of running out of stock or having excess stock of a product unnecessarily.
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