Integrated ecommerce explained
What does the phrase "integrated ecommerce" actually mean in practice?...
It is the buzz phrase that all retail publications are discussing – omni-channel. As the notion becomes increasingly prevalent, retail businesses are striving to create an omni-channel shopping experience in their own operations and, in turn, improve their customer service. With consumers now expecting more from retailers, and a positive buying experience essential for encouraging repeat purchases, businesses need to find new ways to drive customer loyalty. But what exactly is it that businesses should be doing to keep their customers happy?
Why do businesses strive to be more omni-channel in their sales approach? Mainly, to drive extra revenue. Offering customers a bespoke buying experience that they will not forget helps companies to remain competitive. This was highlighted in a study by Wunderman and Penn Schoen Berland, which found that “omni-channel users are often the most dedicated, spending 4% more in physical stores and 10% more online than their single channel counterparts.” These figures can represent quite a significant additional margin on a company’s bottom line. Therefore, to capitalise on this additional spending, it is important for retailers to nurture and develop relationships across multiple platforms in order to promote customer loyalty.
The core takeaway is that traders need to personalise their customer communications. In the Wunderman and Penn Schoen Berland study, results showed that “72% of UK consumers say brands have to demonstrate they understand and care about them before they consider purchasing.” This shows that the majority of consumers want to feel like their requirements are being tailored to before they commit to and invest in a brand.
Shoppers are always on the lookout for that perfect bargain. So it’s no secret that they also want to be kept in the know about promotions and special offers. However, not marketing these in the right way can cause frustrations that reduce sales rather than boost them. Statistics from Kantar Media found that 42% of shoppers feel annoyed if they receive an email regarding a promotion that is irrelevant to them. Adding to this, a further 53% said that they would be annoyed if a retailer didn’t make them aware of promotions directly. In a separate study, Collinson also found that 52% of shoppers feel frustrated when promotions aren’t aligned in-store and online.
Promotions, discounts and special offers are an essential sales tool for omni-channel retailers, and these statistics highlight the key areas businesses need to focus on within their communications. Customers don’t want to be bombarded with promotional emails that have no relevance to them, instead they want to know about the offers relating to the products they have purchased or have shown an interest in previously. They also don’t want to see a promotion regarding an offer and then walk in to store to find out it was an online exclusive. Therefore, businesses must act upon the wealth of data they have stored on their customers so that they can better target their marketing campaigns. By profiling customer sales activity, looking at abandoned baskets and analysing previously quoted/sold items, businesses can easily arm their marketing team with the information they need to successfully personalise email communications.
As consumers expect to interact with brands across multiple platforms for a seamless shopping experience, this outlook naturally blurs into the business world too. Therefore, businesses selling B2B must also adopt a personalised, more customer-centric approach when it comes to winning new sales and retaining custom.
To achieve this in a B2B world, tailored offers and sales communications become less paramount and the focus is more about simply having the information customers want to know readily available. Whether logging into their customer account online or meeting with a sales rep on the road, businesses want their suppliers to be able to deliver accurate stock figures, pricing and order updates instantly, on demand.
The key to succcess is ensuring key business data is accurately shared between departments so that a better service can be delivered. By using one single database that seamlessly links online B2B trading with sales reps and all aspects of your back office management, businesses can ensure customers always receive up-to-date information.
Working from one database and feeding key customer information out to sales reps and online platforms also offers other benefits. Using these details to their advantage, businesses can ensure their website and reps maximising sales by pushing the right products to the right customers. By promoting previously quoted/sold items and their related products to the relevant customers, businesses can easily generate greater revenue.
It is evident that both B2B and B2C customers are looking for a more personal touch from brands. From targeting the right promotions at the right people and arming sales channels with accurate data, businesses can deliver the service their customers expect. By doing this regularly and effectively, it is only a matter of time before companies begin to see the results through boosted profitability.
To find out more about how OrderWise can help your business deliver an omni-channel solution, call us on 01522 704083.
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