THE RISE OF OMNICHANNEL COMMERCE
Retail, Strategy

The horrific experience of Covid 19 which has left a lot of businesses incapacitated has many major retailers and some manufacturers opting to Omnichannel marketing, buying and selling to curb what could have been a complete global economic meltdown. According to the International Labor Organization projections 200 Million people will still be unemployed in 2022 due to the pandemic despite the post pandemic economic growth and the global economy will only recover in 2023. Channels have to be created to enforce personal communication channels which can be advocate channels, expert channels or social channels to communicate information and transform appeals to enable businesses.

Many shops in Zambia packed up without understanding or venturing into Omnichannel or growth strategies and growth opportunities that could have been utilized as a form of continuing method to adapt and meet the demands that could arise. Perhaps it is a Silo Mentality in many structures, but mobile companies, travel industry and banking showed a remarkable and visible presence in digital technology.

The rest of Africa has not entirely been asleep; Kenya and South Africa are just two examples answering to this type of marketing very well because it not only gives employment opportunities, but it centers on humans too  because the customer is at the center of it all. Africa and the rest of the globe are experiencing Omnichannel Marketing in the Airline business, healthcare, telecom, banking and retail. Trends are studied, which may be global or regional and they are adjusted after analysis and interpretation for current and future use. The relationship between the business and the customer is closely studied and after that, it is a series of contact of getting information, adjusting it and providing goods and services according to personal needs.

Business is business and it must go on Omnichannel is one of the supporting strategies that is diversifying not just imports and exports, but manufacturing. Manufacturers opted to open warehouses that would act as distribution points in affordable locations of warehouses and enabled distribution hubs.

Retailers are opting for ‘Live streaming’ and subscriptions, at the same time acting as distribution and fulfillment centers. Their manager is ecommerce where data is stored, studied, determined and interpreted. The present and future earnings are easily determined as well as the efficiency of the business and the solvency.

The history of Omnichannel is from customer centricity, that is putting the customer first and in 2003 in the USA Best Buy has been accredited with the genesis of Omnichannel who at the time had Walmart as their biggest competition, had to rise above the low sales, level up and surpass and 2004 Best Buy was recognized by Forbes as a success and won the ‘Company of the year.’ Best Buy is a story of survival triumph after struggling and they had to improve their online presence, this customer centric approach is what brought about the revolution of customer centric approach and gave birth to Omnichannel initiatives and today Best Buy is the largest multi channel consumer electronics retailer in the world. This was with the knowledge that the customer would be willing to pay extra for better service and the success story continues.

Wendy Chibesakunda

Walmart not to be left behind used a similar method and is rated as one of the best in customer service with online sales and remains one of the biggest retailers, this added technology was to avoid customers from being poached, this was done by door deliveries to customers on the same day, drive through pick up orders and mobile phone check outs at their stores, the digital impressions are linked to store visits. The story of Walmart still remains a success.

This example of Walmart is a good indicator on how well a business can perform once it centers the customer with absolute data on the money value of the customer to increase business.

The internet is the best option for most businesses because it is location free and time free and a transaction can be started, paused and completed with no pressure other than prompts and reminders to enable a completion and the marketing objectives are achieved.

Omnichannel denotes or relates to a type of retail which integrates the different methods available to a consumer. At the center of it all is the customer, who must be answered at their individual life cycle and purchasing available whenever and wherever, no boundaries are observed in Omnichannel commerce with the main anchor being personalized messages, personalized products and personalized offers. Omnichannel Commerce sells on all channels targeting on timing the delivery of content this requires display advertising, websites, social media, mobile marketing and emails

Omnichannel Commerce is undoubtedly expensive and requires an investment in the technology needed to constantly personalize and check on the customer. Content Management and Product Information Management will require expertise because of selective attention, selective distribution and selective retention.

Brands and Suppliers have to control all across and need to be constantly updated, software that is used to manage information, inventory and orders. This helps in the collection of quantitative data which is easily analyzed, interpreted and usually accurate. The current assets and current liabilities are segregated respectively, making it easy to know where to stock up or in case of services to measure the magnitude and extent of the services that are required.

Go back to your Vision and Mission because the Vision Statement will remind you of your current and future objectives that your business goals are supposed to align to. The Mission Statement will also remind you as to why your business exists and the goals that your product and services need to achieve.

The initial plan must be followed and the objectives have to be derived from that plan, since that is the very core and essence of the business in the first place, this is what leads to a gap analysis that will ascertain the current state of the business and where it hopes to go.

The Brand presence is definitely felt when the marketing steps are taken, most of the brands will lead to self service apps by constantly engaging with the customer with reminders of pending bills, notifications and best deal offers

Understand or own the channels that will be used whether it is an App, email, Whatsapp, Website or Call line so that the goods and services that are being marketed are followed up in the manner and form that answers the greater expectations of the business.

Work with everyone in your team for the purpose of determining profits very well, to ascertain the cost of production or distribution, for the replacement of assets and meeting all legal requirements. The principle of conservation is also very easy to ascertain because it demands that no anticipated profit is taken into account, but that losses likely to arise from transactions already entered into should be taken into account while ascertaining profit and loss, the cost and market price are always vital. The marketing activities and the actual value that is brought to the business have to be controlled and measured well.

Distribute quality Products and services because the customer response is what builds a business, the market offerings must satisfy the needs and wants of the customer. Value creation is very important for the customer.

Build a good and solid relationship with trust and the Know Your Customer guidelines are always very helpful. Know all you can about your customers, but bear in mind, customers always change, but always bear in mind that the experience is created for the customer.

Most of all have the best marketing strategies, therefore you need to improve your web presence and maximum potential, it fun, easy and the new trend. Know your audience and engage them constantly to attract them to your products and services, collect their numbers, email addresses and ask for further information so that you understand your client list well and put them with other clients with similar interests. It is important to know the most frequented platforms that your customer uses and their behavior.  This is what will lead to Marketing Automation software that you can create through email automation engines that take your data exactly where it needs to be to segment the customer and categorize them with customers with similar behavior.

Government policies on Omnichannel  for institutions and businesses is mainly focused in security, the legal framework of the country, the compliance requirements that have to be implemented and observed in individual businesses and institutions and of course their guidelines.  You will see Omnichannel presence in  Apps, Websites, social media, SMS, Whatsapp and email for online and  for offline it is through Call lines, events and retails available to citizens since there must be an availability of data for better service delivery and to satisfy the needs and wants of citizens by making the most of content continuously regardless of the location and the government that intends to achieve and gain a service must be fully engaged in interactive data and you can always pick up from where you left off because Omnichannel is continuous, if you started an order and stopped halfway, prompts will be sent to you until the entire transaction is completed on any device on any channel because the system already knows who you are and how far you have gone until the transaction is complete. The revenue collectors and road safety agencies also use Omnichannel, making it easy to interact and engage with those they provide a service to.  The businesses that use Omnichannel have all recorded growth because of this interactive strategy.

The Future is in Omnichannel and it is global since Omnichannel is consistent and there is no miscommunication and most of all, it is continuous no matter what the channel is between the marketer and the customer. What is at the core is access to information and integration through personalized messages in Omnichannel and brand consistency is evident no matter the channel used. Brand consistency is what leads to loyalty from customers and appreciation and the customer is connected on all channels and they are engaged and updated by the brand constantly meaning that there are less expenses involved for the customer and no time wasting at all. That ease is surely coming into Africa through eCommerce presence mostly used by telecommunication service providers and banks and some retail shops that allow eCommerce purchases. With the presence of Electronic Bank Transfers and Mobile Money OR any other form of payment that generates receipts, that is open and transparent, making it easy for brand interaction and brand purchases because they already have the names of their clients in their data base and interact with customers when called upon to do so, they also target their clients and send them messages. Omnichannel retailing is warming up in Africa and since the goal is always to advertize and get profits, big brands are not missing out or losing out because it leads to better and an increase in sales.

Whether it is appreciated, or even valued as a means to an end or not, the value of eCommerce is taking over personal touch and digital business is rising each and every day making growth opportunities where they were none and getting in touch with people even in the most remote locations and it is with great pleasure for those who are interested in the global economy, that indeed Omnichannel is making Globalization a sure reality because it acquires, engages and retains customers.

 

References

  1. Ankita Kaushik (2021) Omnichannel Marketing: A Complete Guide for 2021and beyond.moengage.com
  2. John Waldron (2016) The Heroic Rise of Best Buy’s Omnichannel Customer- Centric Model.etaileast.wbresearch.com
  3. Jordan Hirsch (2016) Omnichannel for government: better delivery through data. Slideshare.net
  4. Martin Koehring( ) Walmart shows how physical stores remain a core pillar of an Omnichannel strategy. The Economist.
  5. Teresa Rivers (2021) More Store Closures Are Ahead. The Retailers are looking past Covid to shift Strategies.barrons.com
  6. Nick Winkler (2019) Omnichannel vs Multichannel: What is the Difference and Why does it matter?.shopfy.com
  7. TNS Experts (2020) the Survival Guide to the Omnichannel Era. Thenextscoop.com

 

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