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Don’t know your Omni-Channel from your elbow? Let Abacus Solutions fill in the gaps!

As an independent furniture retailer, understanding just a little about how the ‘Omni-Channel’ phenomenon works will allow you to make your on-line presence much more profitable. We’ve had a look around at what other companies are doing, then come up with a few low-budget hints and tips that you might just find useful…

So, what the heck even is ‘Omni-Channel Marketing’? Basically, it revolves around the idea of a fully integrated and seamless shopping experience, in which desktop and mobile sites, social media and the ‘bricks and mortar’ store are all interwoven and connected. It is not just the idea of using a range of different channels, most retailers are already there, this goes one step further: ensuring that the different channels used work together and are aligned. Regardless of media, there is a shared purpose and objective and ALL aspects of the retailer are working together to drive that objective forwards.

Who are the current leaders in ‘Omni-Channel Marketing’? As you have probably guessed, the monster multi-nationals are clearly storming their way forwards when it comes to this approach. Disney, for example, are the real experts. When you visit their glossy website, mobile and desktop friendly, you are then guided towards further sites and apps that will allow you take care of any aspect of your Disney requirements: plan your trip; book ride or event tickets; generate your photo album with a photo pass; check out dining availability…the list goes on! The beauty of their approach is that everything is designed with the consumer in mind and the ease of use that consumer needs in order to allow them, from a purely cynical point of view, to access information and then to part with hard-earned cash.

Oasis and Office, fashion retailers, are also handling Omni-Channel marketing with finesse. Both stores, along with many others on the UK high street, make good use of in-store iPads. An on-the ball shop assistant will be able to access up to date stock information for a customer struggling to locate a specific product and, if necessary, can then place an on-line order while said customer sits in the actual store! They secure the sale: if the store can’t provide it, the website does. Customer service at its best- all for the cost of an iPad!

In a different way, Starbucks coffee shops maximise their Omni-Channel approach through their reward card system. The physical card is linked up to an app and this card can be checked and reloaded via phone, website, app or – clearly- in store. Any alterations to that card are instantly updated across all channels. Again, ease of use for the customer. What else can you ask for?

However, all this is very well but how- as a smaller, independent retailer- can you make successful Omni-Channel marketing something that is not necessarily out of reach in terms of both time and budget?

Browse through our list of tips below. Using any of these ideas could help you to move towards that seamless Omni- Channel customer experience:

  1. Do not underestimate the potential value of an in-store iPad. Sales staff can then use to further direct and inform potential buyers. Showcasing your website as a means of obtaining relevant information can only help to drive traffic that way in the future.
  2. Consider how your website can be used to generate your in-store brochure. Product descriptions, options and availability will therefore all be aligned, saving you time but also ensuring an integrated consumer experience.
  3. Install an in-store TV, linked to your website, that provides a simple but effective backdrop, taking your customers through your on-line product gallery.
  4. Is your website mobile friendly? If not, this could be costing your dearly in terms of traffic through your site and, by definition, into your store.
  5. Look at the manageability of your website. Can prices and stock updates be managed by your in-store staff? If so, that is an easy way to ensure your channels are working in harmony towards your common goal but if not, you may well be the victim of an outdated website that fails to drive customers through your doors.
We hope some of these ideas might prove useful- in these challenging and competitive times, it is worth doing your research and being aware of how simple strategies might just make a difference. If you require any further information or support, feel free to contact us via the routes listed below.
E. Barker & Son (Hillsboro) Limited
Reg. Office: 39 Burton Street, SHEFFIELD, S6 2HH
Reg No: 254789
VAT No: 172 4086 69