Technology has wholly disrupted the retail industry. With that said, it is becoming more and more important for retailers and wholesalers to be creative in their selling approach. Utilizing the method of omnichannel selling can help with that. Omnichannel is a multichannel approach that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience, whether they are shopping online on a computer, on a mobile device or in a physical store.
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This year, we expect to see more and more B2B businesses embracing omnichannel selling to meet customers’ demands for a personalized service by offering a fully streamlined and connected experience across all platforms. In this blog, we will discuss the difference between omnichannel and multichannel, why creating an exceptional customer experience is so important, and what is expected to come with the Internet of Things (IoT).
2018 will be focused firstly on omnichannel selling. Whether a customer is shopping online on a mobile device or offline at a physical store, omnichannel is about providing both continuity and consistency of the customer experience.
Quote from Yi-Wei Ang, Director of Product at TradeGecko and speaker on the 5 Trends in Wholesale Distribution 2018 webinar.
Omnichannel vs. Multichannel: What’s the Difference?
Multichannel selling is the process of selling through multiple online platforms, which is nothing new to the eCommerce world. In 2018, however, omnichannel selling is set to take multichannel selling a step further by offering buyers a complete streamlined and connected buying experience across all online and offline platforms. The key difference between multichannel and omnichannel is that the former focuses on the different eCommerce channels, whereas the latter is much more customer-centric. Omnichannel selling focuses on enhancing the customer experience by offering more flexibility to buyers in engaging with brands however they like.
In 2017, the vast number of online businesses that began to offer offline services, as well as brick-and-mortar businesses going digital, have highlighted the growing need for an omnichannel transition. Online retail giants Amazon and Alibaba expanding their offline footprint, they have also paved the way for omnichannel as the standard sales experience.
Customer experience is everything
Looking forward, personalized customer experience will be expected by buyers. Businesses will need to give their customers the most convenient and flexible experience to stay at the forefront of a competitive market. A “one-size-fits-all” customer service approach simply won’t cut it anymore. Businesses need to tailored their customer service tactics to meet the needs of each individual buyer. While this may seem like a daunting task, mastering omnichannel selling means being able to provide a personalized experience across all integrated channels and touchpoints. Think of the selling opportunities when being able to connect with buyers in real-time whether it through your website, online store, live chat, email, social media, and in-person.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
It’s predicted that by 2020, more than 50 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the internet (also known as the Internet of Things). For businesses, this will mean being able to proactively connect with customers when there’s a problem or need before the customer even knows about it. This approach will result in exceptional customer service if done right.
As you can now see, omnichannel isn’t a tactic it is an evolution. It’s the coming together of many different factors that advance the way buyers shop and as well as their overall customer experience. Companies are no longer bound to just online retail or constricted brick-and-mortar locations. Instead eCommerce businesses have the opportunity to reach more people, faster, and easier than ever before. In order for a business to be truly omnichannel, every sales channel and device needs to be connected so that the customer experience is seamless.
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