Article by Sana Commerce
With single, multi and cross prefixes as predecessors, the term omnichannel has come a long way since its emergence as a retail buzzword in 2013. More than just an enhanced online shopping strategy, omnichannel is now trending, and it means business.
Omnichannel is a model that engages customers across all online and offline platforms using a transparent and integrated process. It focuses on one seamless experience across all channels, contributing a substantial boost to the ultimate high-quality customer experience.
Retail around the world is adopting an omnichannel strategy, not just to enhance their sales, but also to improve their customer relationships. A shopping experience in which customers can use a web store, mobile phone, tablet, or even go to a brick-and-mortar shop and get a consistent service is valuable. Customers are familiar with it, have experienced it, and are downright demanding it.
Embracing the Omnichannel Strategy
Why should a company adopt the omnichannel business model? Because it understands the buyer. Omnichannel is a way of thinking and acting. It’s engaging, and it provides consistent shopping interaction everywhere, all the time. It begins where the typical buyer now usually begins their quest: online. It helps them find information, communicate efficiently, and make a purchase as effortlessly as possible. For the customer and for the business, this is without doubt added value.
There are several trends that can be observed, leading to the adoption of omnichannel behaviour:
1. Enhanced technological infrastructure: Businesses can transform customer relationships by providing more networking and communication tools to make it easier to collaborate with co-workers and access salespeople or service centres.
2. Growing customer expectations: Customer demands have crossed the Rubicon of expectations. They’re only becoming more and more sophisticated in both B2C and B2B worlds, and this won’t change any time soon. The only way to meet and hopefully surpass those expectations is by connecting online and office channels with systems that not only use information efficiently, but with systems that engage customers the way they want to be engaged.
3. Retailer readiness: Businesses are recognising that the online and offline worlds must be one and the same when it comes to customer experience. The retail world is willing to adopt new business models, and a new form of digital marketing strategy.
May the Best Shopping Experience Win!
These trends are true for B2B businesses as much as for B2C. As consumers are now buying personal and business-related goods through the same online shopping sites, their once separate worlds are now merging. B2B customers are experiencing what it’s like to shop online on B2C web stores and are enjoying the functionality that comes with them. They expect nothing less from B2B stores.
But B2B omnichannel challenges are particular to the industry. Transparency across all channels, for example. Issues like procurement, supply chain redundancies, ERP requirements, field sales: all these need to connect seamlessly and provide real-time, up-to-date information. Adobe Marketing Cloud is now using a B2B provider that will support them in meeting customers’ constantly growing demands and high expectations with new digital capabilities. A unique e-commerce experience backed by omnichannel power is a business driver.
3M has also taken a major step toward extending omnichannel functionality to both its B2C and B2B online shopping platforms. They understand that the customer experience must be flawless, regardless of who’s buying. It’s the only way to achieve sustainable e-commerce success. Enhanced fulfilment capabilities, inventory visibility, rich content, fast and efficient service in a desired timeframe and transparency. All in all, companies – both B2C and B2B – need to go the extra mile and work to toward delivering a superior customer experience. After all, only the best shopping experience will eventually be left standing.
An Omnichannel Strategy - The Key to Success
B2B sellers understand the risks of not adapting their sales channels and entire businesses to an omnichannel way of thinking. The B2C ultimate shopping experience is migrating to the B2B world. How can the challenge of adopting omnichannel in B2B transactions be met? What are the current shortcomings of the B2B shopping world? And how can they not only be eliminated, but turned into added value for both businesses and customers?
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