The term “omnichannel” has undoubtedly reached buzzword status in the world of retail, with some experts even urging people to stop using the term altogether.
But regardless of how you feel about it, the concept sticks; and for many, the term omnichannel adequately describes a tightly integrated retail system that enables companies to be present on multiple channels (e.g., in-person, online, mobile, etc.) while letting customers move and transact seamlessly from one channel or platform to another.
Being omnichannel used to be a good feature or best practice to have. Today, though, omnichannel capabilities are table stakes.
Industry data shows that 73% of consumers use multiple channels in their shopping journeys. This is even more pronounced among millennials (i.e., the largest consumer group today). Research shows that 60% of millennials “expect a consistent experience from brands whether they interact online, in-store or via phone.”
If you’re looking to beef up your omnichannel game, below are a handful of examples to inspire and inform your efforts.
Tin Pot Creamery brings its unique brick-and-mortar brand online
When the COVID pandemic forced Tin Pot Creamery to close their brick-and-mortar shops, they needed to breathe new life into their online marketing.
Becky Sunseri, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Tin Pot Creamery shares what worked for them after upgrading their ecommerce platform to BigCommerce:
“Before COVID-19, we told our brand story in our scoop shops and through our product packaging. Every time I saw our website, I just knew it didn’t capture what I wanted to communicate about our brand. I quickly went from feeling embarrassed about our website to proud of it.”
Changing ecommerce platforms made it easier for Sunseri to rate the effectiveness of Tin Pot’s shift to online marketing and advertising. An ecommerce-enabled website provided the opportunity to reach a larger audience outside the scoop shops through social media, email lists and a more “giftable” online presence.
“We started taking orders right after our website went up, and now it’s easy to see where orders are coming from and whether or not our ad spend is actually working for us,” Sunseri said. “It’s also changed how we think about marketing and advertising and allowed us to make a more intentional first impression with our customers — wherever they live, since we’re no longer limited to our local market.”
Spoilt’s connected retail platform lets it sell on all its customers’ favorite channels
Spoilt, an Australian gift and homeware store, does an excellent job at being where its customers are. In addition to its brick and mortar stores and ecommerce site, Spoilt uses Instagram’s shop capabilities to showcase its products and enable customers to view and buy items without having to navigate out of the Instagram app.
The best part? Whenever someone buys an item, Spoilt’s sales and inventory data are automatically synced. This means that Spoilt never has to worry about overselling products or inaccurate data.
“The main add-on we use is Shopify. That is where we are running our online store. That was the main reason for us to move to Vend. We did like our old system as it had some great reporting features but it was not moving with the times when it came to being an omni-channel platform,” explains Laura Semple, Marketing & Business Development Coordinator at Spoilt.
“We wanted the ability to have our products feature on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Google Shop, and more to make it easier for customers to buy from us no matter what platform they were on. Shopify has really allowed us to do this quite well and while there are always some hurdles it has definitely given us more control to do it in-house with both Vend and Shopify.”
Open your store to the world by combining Vend’s easy-to-use POS and Inventory management with the best ecommerce platforms on the planet. Manage your online and in-store operations from one place while launching your brand into new markets.
Smack Bang’s loyalty program rewards customers no matter where or how they’re shopping
Next up, we have Smack Bang, a New Zealand-based retailer that sells pet accessories and treats.
Like many retailers, Smack Bang has a multi-channel presence and sells both online and offline. What we love about this retailer though is its loyalty program which functions seamlessly across all channels.
This means that members of Smack Bang’s loyalty program can earn and redeem rewards no matter where or how they’re shopping. Smack Bang has a beautiful loyalty widget that incorporates that themes and colors of its store and website, giving customers an amazing brand experience.
Smack Bang implements it loyalty program using Marsello, a retention marketing platform that combines email, SMS, and loyalty programs in one solution. Thanks to Marsello’s integration with Vend, Smack Bang is able to run its omnichannel loyalty initiatives with ease.
“Marsello’s seamless Vend and Shopify loyalty integrations are a key part of our customer retention plan for both our physical and online stores and has proven to keep customers coming back to earn points and redeem rewards,” says Amelia Lingonis, Director at Smack Bang. Being able to customise the widget online to reflect our branding is really important to us, allowing us to create an online shopping experience as close to the physical store as possible.”
Grow your business with the complete retention marketing toolbox. Marsello combines data driven automation, email, SMS, and loyalty programs to deliver smart, targeted marketing, designed to increase customer retention and sales. Marsello retailers see an average of 44X ROI.
Sephora makes product reordering quick and easy
Sephora has been an omnichannel retail for a while now, letting customers shop on physical and digital channels. One of the many impressive things that Sephora is doing is it gives customers more visibility on their purchase history.
Sephora has a large catalog, so to make it easy for customers to reorder products, the retailer has a Purchase History page, which lists all the items that the shopper bought previously, along with the date of purchase, and where the transaction took place (i.e. online or in a specific store).
There’s even an “Add to Basket” beside each item, so customers can add it to their shopping cart quickly.
Nordstrom’s returns process is smooth and flexible
A great omnichannel experience isn’t just about letting people buy across different channels. A big part of cultivating a great customer experience lies in how well you handle returns. Nothing disappoints customers more than letting jump through too many hoops to return an item.
While it’s important to verify the purchase details before accepting a return, you should also find a way to make the experience more pleasant. And in the age of omnichannel retailing, one of the best ways to do this is letting them return their items through the platform or channel that is most convenient for them.
Nordstrom does this really well. The department store has a smooth process that lets customers return products in any store (in some cases, even curbside). And if shoppers prefer to mail the items back, they can do so as well, simply by starting a returns process online.
Consider implementing something similar in your business. Ensure that your online and offline platforms are connected and enable you to accept returns from any store — even if the purchase was made online or at a different shop.
Grain & Vine sells and fulfills orders on multiple channels
Grain & Vine, a New York-based wine and spirits shop is doing an amazing job with omnichannel sales and fulfillment.
In addition to letting shoppers buy online and in-store, Grain & Vine, offers several fulfillment options, including in-store pickup and same-day delivery.
It’s a great initiative particular at a time when consumers are mandated to stay home. Grain & Vine’s convenient fulfillment options certainly set it apart from other retailers.
Ready to level up your omnichannel retailing game?
Hopefully, these examples of omnichannel retailing have inspired you to uplevel your retail platforms and experiences. Remember going omnichannel isn’t optional these days — it’s a must.
So, get your retail ducks (channels) in a row, and start delighting your customers.
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.