Understanding the Basics of Omnichannel Retail for Your Business

omnichannel retail

In today’s customer-driven retail environment, the seamlessness of a shopping experience is the primary focus of a business. Users want to be able to use multiple channels and leverage both offline and online mediums when buying a product. Omnichannel retail, therefore, is imperative to enable that experience.

Companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement.

What does omnichannel mean and how can an e-commerce store offer it to its customers? This article explains the concept and talks about the key steps to building a successful omnichannel retail strategy.

What is omnichannel retail?

Omnichannel retail allows a business to enable a unified shopping experience for their customer with access to several touchpoints such as online marketplaces, website, social channels and brick-and-mortar.

It is an integrated approach to e-commerce, making the user’s shopping journey seamless and convenient. 

What is the difference between omnichannel and multichannel?

Multichannel retail offers the users a number of communication options to assist with their purchase but they are not interlinked with each other and act as separate sources of information.

Omnichannel connects these channels to help the customer easily shift between them during the buying process.

For instance, every business today has several social media handles, blog, website and presence on other online platforms which can be accessed through a range of devices. All of them engage the buyers and offer them information and avenues to buy the product. 

However, if the organisation does not follow an omnichannel strategy these mediums do not operate together or are not connected with each other to offer a seamless experience.

Here’s a comparison between multichannel and omnichannel to observe the difference in results:

Each channel works with independent goalsSeveral channels collaborate toward a shared goal
Customer information is managed individually for each channelCustomer data is interlinked across channels
Analytics is chanel specificAnalytics offers a complete view across all touchpoints
Messaging on every channel variesUniform messaging across all channels
Helps a brand extend its reachHelps a brand offer personalised communication
Customer experience is incoherentSeamless customer experience
Sales team is not able to access inclusive customer dataSales team can have a 360-degree view of customer interaction

Also read: How Businesses Can Manage Customer Acquisition Cost With Paytm Subscriptions

Why is omnichannel retail valuable for businesses?

Consumers will always prefer shopping at places that offer them greater convenience and an omnichannel strategy significantly helps achieve that. Here are some of the points that make it so important.

1. Customer mapping

Customers today are discovering brands through various ways – ads on social media, marketplaces, product reviews, articles, in-store and the website.

Customer mapping includes defining all the interactions that a consumer has had with your brand across channels to identify the steps in the buyer journey.

An omnichannel strategy will help you analyse their journey and understand the action they are performing on each channel. This data is important to create personalised communication.

Availability of the data also helps the business ensure consistency across all touchpoints for a seamless experience. Alternatively, if they are abandoning the interaction at any point you will be able to examine the loopholes in the flow of communication and accordingly rectify them.

2. Competitive edge

Businesses that adopt the omnichannel strategy are instantly able to differentiate themselves from the competition. Their communication is clearer and well-aligned since all the channels are in sync with each other and interact with the customer in a uniform manner.

The other results of omnichannel retail are that the brand resonates better, the shopping experience is holistic and the customer service is consistent. These outcomes in themselves offer a competitive edge especially over those brands that despite being present across channels are unable to offer a similar experience.

Companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue, compared to 3.4% for weak omnichannel companies.

3. Data and analytics

An all-inclusive omnichannel strategy consolidates the results from all sources and offers insightful data that is the foundation for all marketing and sales decisions.

Since the details and statistics include each and every touchpoint, it is easier for a business to collectively inspect its efforts and optimise them for better performance. 

It’s also extremely crucial to know consumer behaviour and why they interact in a certain way or take a specific action, and the statistics effectively help with answers to these questions.

Consequently, the sales channel can be modified to include the inferences drawn from the data and analytics for better business results.

4. Communication channels

Businesses need to employ multiple communication channels so that they can meet their potential customers wherever they are. However, some channels are often more effective than others and need better attention.

You could probably be dedicating your time and resources towards a channel that does not appeal to your target audience. 

Since omnichannel retail integrates all the platforms, it is easier to identify which ones resonate better with the audience and accordingly invest in them.

5. Personalisation

Personalisation is one of the most beneficial approaches that a business can use upon applying an omnichannel strategy. Companies can leverage the findings to gain a better understanding of the specifics of what individual customers are looking at. 

83% of consumers are willing to share their data to enable a personalised experience. 

The marketing plans and messaging can be modified for individuals along with curating experiences wherever possible. Personalisation makes the user feel recognised by the brand and hence helps develop trust and loyalty towards it.

How to build an omnichannel retail strategy?

Here’s a look at the steps that cover the basics of building an omnichannel strategy.

Customer segmentation: From your target audience base, identify varied groups of users based on parameters such as age, geography, income, online behaviour etc to approach each segment differently.

Build a more personalised strategy apt for each segment and promote your brand based on what can appeal best to that user base.

Channel of communication: Once you have segmented the customers, identify which channel of communication is best suited for them. For instance, if you are targeting Gen Z, platforms such as Instagram and Tik Tok can be the most ideal ones.

Additionally, also use data and insights to further determine the right medium that can be used to communicate with the audience.

Journey mapping: After inferring where your customers shop, the next step is to know how they shop. Customer journey mapping helps understand the manner in which the user is interacting with your brand.

Once you are able to predict the possible actions a user is likely to take while interacting or moving from one channel to another, it is easier to make that journey smooth and seamless.

Cross-channel support: While being present on multiple channels, ensure that you are reachable to consumers on each one of them. A user need not come to your website to be able to connect with you when they are discovering you on Facebook, for example.

Consistent support across channels makes shopping highly convenient for a consumer and accelerates their buying decision.

Tech integration: Leverage technology and its advanced solutions to set up superior infrastructure that eventually reflects in the retail experience.

Integrate tools that assist with inventory management, marketing, customer service and last-mile execution. 

For instance, Paytm Payment Gateway is a robust and reliable solution that helps with safe and secure online transactions with industry-best success rates.

Also read: Tips to Find The Best Payment Gateway For E-commerce in India

Automation: Automation is necessary in omnichannel retail because it can further enhance the customer experience or at times even motivate the user to get close to making a purchase.

Some of the tasks that can be carried out with automation include follow-ups in case of cart abandonment, and chatbots to answer general queries and calls related to feedback and other questions.

Repeated testing: Testing is a crucial step to gauge if the omnichannel efforts are yielding results. It should be a continuous process and cover every aspect of omnichannel retail.

From the marketing content to browser testing and customer service to the checkout process, testing will help you channelise your efforts better in every category based on the performance reports.


Omnichannel retailing entails a huge opportunity for businesses to elevate their presence both offline and online. Its holistic approach is its biggest advantage allowing enterprises to understand their product and business with a 360-degree view.

Organisations must move to omnichannel retail to efficiently comprehend customer preferences and priorities. If you are missing on offering this interwoven experience through omnichannel retail, your business is not paying enough attention to its customers.


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