If you work in retail, chances are you’ve come across a pretty trendy term lately: omnichannel.

And while not everyone can agree on exactly what the term means, one thing is clear: that retail businesses need an omnichannel experience for their customers.

Defining Omnichannel

Now more than ever, people are purchasing online and from their smartphones and tablets. Whether you sell a product in a brick-and-mortar store or online, it’s important to consider where your customers are at.

According to Google, this entails having a presence on multiple platforms:

“[F]or much of the 2014 holiday season, mobile shopping clicks exceeded those on the desktop as shoppers made their purchase decisions on the go. And people are no longer discriminating between mobile and desktop when it comes to shopping—whether that’s in a store or on an e-commerce site.”

Where Should I Sell?

Before you start setting up a web application, mobile platform, Facebook ads, or other sales or marketing platforms, it’s important to make sure you have an understanding of what your customers actually want, when it comes time for them to make a purchase.

If you sell something tangible that people might want to experience in person — perfume or produce, for instance — you might want to focus more of your energy on the in-person experience at your storefront, for the customers who will undoubtedly want to smell and touch the items available.

But for the vendor selling construction materials or a restaurant supply wholesaler, the brick-and-mortar experience isn’t going to be quite as necessary. If you’re this kind of B2B business, your customers are frequently buying a larger number of items at once, and will often have recurring orders that they place on a regular basis.

That means they’ll probably just want to place their order as quickly and easily as possible, so that they can save time and get back to running their own businesses.

And because mobile purchasing has seen an increase, especially recently, you’ll want to consider what kind of platforms those customers are going to want to purchase on.

Perhaps these customers will want to see the products you sell for themselves in person, but any future purchases might be more convenient through a web or mobile application.

Do Better Business with an Omnichannel Experience

The numbers are showing that retailers who have a variety of options for these customers to place their orders actually do better business.

“The most sophisticated retailers are ensuring their marketing strategies are geared toward enabling customers to convert on any channel. Why? Because they realize that a shopper who buys from them in-store and online is their most valuable kind of customer. According to a 2015 study by IDC, these shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel,” writes Julie Krieger for Think with Google.

What you’ll want to understand, then, as a retailer or vendor, is just how your customers shop. You’ll want to know where your customer is searching for products, if they use your website to find products they need, or if they visit your mobile app to make an order.

The point of an omnichannel strategy is to have a clear understanding of the best way to get in front of your customers, which can take some time and analysis to determine. Arming yourself with the right data will help you to determine the best way to serve your customer and to keep them happy.

If you’re interested in learning more about what platforms are available for retailers and vendors, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 214.380.4184 or contact us here.