Omnichannel on the shelves. What is it, which companies are it suitable for and should they follow this trend?
18.03.2024 953

Omnichannel on the shelves. What is it, which companies are it suitable for and should they follow this trend?

The technologies we use in life and business are developing rapidly: in the last 10 years alone, many new sales channels and communication with audiences have appeared. This progress influences consumer behavior and cannot be stopped.

Maria Gerasimenko Maria Gerasimenko -

General Director of Fashion Advisers, business coach, expert in the field of management and development of fashion business. Main areas of activity: building business processes in the fashion industry, assortment matrix management, visual merchandising, sales and service management, development and implementation of loyalty programs.

Website: fashion-advisers.ru

Online school: school.fashion-advisers.ru

Telegram: @fashionadvisers

Today, being a customer-oriented company means being present in communication and sales channels that are convenient for the target audience, quickly responding to requests, and also striving to make the purchasing experience comfortable at all points of contact with the brand.

Customer journey map (CJM)

It is impossible to imagine the shopping experience as a funnel of stages through which the buyer predictably moves. Not only does the number of communication channels suitable for each stage of the funnel increase every year, but buyers also began to chaotically move from one stage to another: sometimes getting stuck at one of the stages, sometimes temporarily leaving for competitors, sometimes returning to the very beginning of the journey .

The term “buying journey” refers to all the touchpoints a customer has with a brand and the experiences a customer experiences during their “journey.” This path begins long before the actual sale and continues after it.

The beginning of the buyer's journey

This term usually refers to the stage when the buyer has the first signs of interest in purchasing the assortment that your brand works with. At this stage, the client may not yet be familiar with your company, but the idea of ​​purchasing is already in the air.

I will give three examples:

Example # 1. Anastasia was interested in targeted advertising for a shoe store on the social network VK. She went to the brand's account to see other posts. The content was interesting and resonated with her values. She became a subscriber. She also subscribed to Instagram* (banned in the Russian Federation, as it belongs to Meta, a recognized extremist organization in the Russian Federation) and YouTube, since the content there turned out to be slightly different, but no less interesting. For about six months, she periodically looked through stories and read posts in the feed, getting inspired and strengthening her interest. During this time, she saw advertising for the brand from bloggers, publications in the media, and banner advertising. And as soon as the purchase trigger arose, she found the nearest brand store in her navigator, arrived and made a purchase.

Example #2. Sometimes the beginning of the buyer's journey begins right in the shopping center. Ivan walked past a store whose brand he had never encountered before. I saw a beautifully decorated display window, out of curiosity I went into the store and so began my shopping journey. The store is interestingly decorated, beautifully lit, pleasant music plays, and the current assortment is presented on the counters. Caring salespeople select suitable shoes for him, issue a loyalty card, tell him that the brand also has an online store and recommend subscribing to the brand’s account on social networks so as not to miss interesting information and keep up to date with brand news. So Ivan gradually becomes a loyal customer of the brand.

Example #3. Daria subscribes to a stylist’s blog, who periodically posts selections of items and puts together ready-made looks from them. She liked the boots from brand A. A couple of days later she sees these boots on a billboard, and the thought arises that she needs to find them on her usual marketplace and learn more about them. Then she goes to the marketplace and starts looking for a model of this brand, comparing it with others that are similar in quality, characteristics and price. In the recommendations she sees a similar model from brand B. And chooses to buy it. This is because the price of boots from brand A and brand B was almost the same, but the material was different. She opted for naturalness.

Channels of communication with the audience

I recently conducted a survey in our telegram channel “SECRETS OF FASHION BUSINESS” on the topic of what promotion channels are involved in the business of subscribers. And I received the following results: in first place - mailings in instant messengers and SMS (they are used by more than 23% of respondents), second place was shared by advertising in geoservices and targeting in social networks (17,81% each), in third place - cooperation with bloggers (16,44 .XNUMX%). Next come (in descending order): offline advertising, Yandex. Direct, banner advertising, email newsletters, cross-marketing.

As can be seen from the infographics, the majority of our subscribers use communication channels such as SMS and messenger messaging, targeted advertising on social networks, cooperation with bloggers and advertising in geoservices. At the same time, few people see the potential in contextual advertising, banners, and cross-marketing in these advertising channels. And 5,5% do not consider it necessary to use advertising at all.


At the same time, the more effective communication channels you cover, the more potential points of first contact you have with your target audience. By refusing to promote, you only leave yourself with the traffic passing by your store and lose out to your competitors.

Targeted advertising on social networks

Advertisements that are seen by social network users. Allows you to increase brand influence, reach your target audience, collect user data and increase their interest in your page.

Pros:

  • large, growing audience;
  • accurately reaching the target audience, thanks to the wide functionality of the advertising account;
  • the ability to promote a brand only through a page on social networks, without a website or online store.
Cons
  • high competition, and with increasing competition, the cost of advertising also increases;
  • advertising creatives are often rejected at the moderation stage for unfounded reasons;
  • Available only on the social networks VK and Odnoklassniki.

2.Collaboration with bloggers

Native advertising has the greatest potential for micro-influencer bloggers (bloggers from 1 to 100 thousand subscribers) who have established trusting contact with subscribers and a high rate of coverage and involvement.

Pros:

  • a large selection of bloggers from different niches and regions;
  • low cost;
  • high audience involvement.
Cons:
  • relatively low coverage;
  • In some cases, micro-influencers do not have advertising experience, which can affect the quality of publications.

3.  Contextual advertising (Yandex.Direct)

Provides priority placement of your site in search results. One of the most effective ways to attract traffic to your website. Suitable for companies that have a website or online store.

Pros:

  •  shows high efficiency almost immediately after launch;
  •  convenient advertising account and measurable indicators;
  •  the opportunity to interest people who are looking not only for your brand, but also for your competitors’ brand;
  •  you only pay if someone clicks on your ad.

Cons:

  • some users deliberately skip the first 3 lines in search results due to the “advertising” marking;
  • the cost depends on the choice of keywords: the more popular the words, the higher the cost;
  • the need to train in contextual advertising or attract competent specialists.

4.  Banner advertising

Dynamic advertising banners and text and graphic blocks on websites. The main task of banner advertising is to attract an audience to the site. Just like contextual advertising, it is suitable for companies that have a website or online store.

Pros:

  • shows results immediately, like contextual advertising;
  • wide coverage;
  • memorability, visual appeal;
  • strengthens your brand image.

Cons:

  • low click-through rate;
  • user mistrust;
  • the need to regularly update advertising creatives.

 

5.Advertising in geoservices

Your company card in Yandex and 2GIS navigators and maps. Allows you to find retail outlets both by name and category.

Pros:

  • There are both paid and free formats for publishing cards;
  • the card in the navigator contains basic information about the company: phone number, website, links to social networks, operating hours;
  • rating and reviews about the company. When potential buyers see good reviews and high ratings, they initially have a higher level of trust;
  • opportunity to get included in recommendations. A client can go to your company’s card, even if he was looking for a competitor. At the bottom of each card, Yandex publishes “Similar organizations.”

Cons:

  • not suitable for online businesses that do not have a store, corner or pickup point.

6.    E-mail mailings

Sending letters to clients' emails. An important nuance - we are talking only about mailings to the “warm” databases of your company, or the company of your partners. We strongly do not recommend sending mail to “cold” databases.

Pros:

  • low advertising budget;
  • the ability to create a mini-landing page with the required number of links in the html template;
  • collecting statistics on opening letters and clicking on links.

Cons:

  • low performance;
  • In order for your audience to subscribe to your email newsletter and read these letters with pleasure, you have to carefully think through their content;
  • active mailing and complaints from subscribers may cause blocking by mail services.

7 Newsletters via SMS and messengers

The newsletter comes directly to your clients’ phones: in messages or in messenger applications.

Pros:

  • high conversion of opens;
  • you can configure the robot and send messages automatically directly from the CRM system;
  • People always have their phone at hand, so there is a high chance that your message will be read.

Cons:

  • For mailing, you need to connect special third-party services or applications in CRM.

8 Cross marketing

In essence, cross-marketing is not a separate communication channel, but rather a joint advertising campaign with brands from related niches with a similar target audience. However, he also ended up on the list so that you don’t forget about him. The main goal of cross-marketing is the exchange between two or more companies with a target audience.

Cross-marketing can be carried out both with and without the use of an advertising budget: mutual publications, stories, mailings in messengers and e-mail, providing bonuses to partner clients, etc.

How to choose communication channels

1. Conduct an analysis of the target audience. You can do this using an online survey for your subscribers or focus groups with current customers. 2. Divide your target audience into segments. You should have at least 5-6 segments. 3. Determine the communication channels in which your target audience lives. 4. Start by introducing those channels through which you can reach priority segments of your target audience. 5. Analyze the result. If necessary, change the presentation of advertising, change communication channels.

To get the most out of your chosen communication channels, it is important to connect web analytics and UTM tags from the very beginning. They will allow you to analyze the effectiveness of each channel.

Also, in order to track customer requests, actual sales, exchanges and returns of goods, you will need a CRM - a program for automating and monitoring the company’s interaction with customers. Today there are many solutions for retail business. You can choose a finished product or modify it for your purposes.

Omnichannel provides that the company provides its customers with the opportunity to purchase goods in any convenient way: offline, online, or even study offers in the online space and come to buy in an offline store. There is even a separate term for the latter option - ROPO (research online purchase offline).

So, first things first. Let's look at the main retail sales channels, and also analyze their advantages and disadvantages.

1. Offline store

The most familiar format for most entrepreneurs. It can be located in a shopping center or be a free-standing retail outlet. Suitable for both large and small businesses.

Advantages:

  • Personal communication increases the chances of a sale. If the buyer likes how the sellers communicate with him, then most likely he will be interested in the product itself;
  • there is an opportunity to interact with the product: touch, try on;
  • during a conversation, sellers have the opportunity to select the right words, intonation and use gestures;
  • the seller has the opportunity to observe the client’s reaction and immediately adjust the offer.

Disadvantages:

  • high rent;
  • investments in the concept, design and renovation of the premises;
  • costs of maintaining the atmosphere of the store: display windows, merchandising, lighting, music, aroma;
  • the need for regular staff training.

2. Online store

A sales channel that is suitable for medium and large companies working with a unique product. It is a mandatory part of the omnichannel strategy.

Advantages:

  • possibility of sales throughout the country and the world;
  • collection of customer data: full name, contacts, date of birth, purchase history;
  • the ability to analyze traffic sources, customer purchasing behavior (views by categories and selections of products, views of product cards, selection of sizes, adding to a wishlist, adding to cart, etc.);
  • own marketing strategy.

Disadvantages:

  • high cost of development and maintenance;
  • a large advertising budget to attract targeted traffic to the site;
  • you need your own logistics: warehouse, delivery, order processing, work with courier services

3. Marketplaces

Both small, medium and large businesses can sell on marketplaces. There are both companies that use the marketplace as their main sales channel, and brands that sell off the remnants of past collections there.

Advantages:

  • easy start (relative to other sales channels);
  • in your personal account you can track sales dynamics, maintain documentation, manage pricing and deliveries;
  • a wide audience to whom you can sell throughout Russia and abroad;
  • ready-made platform: website and mobile application;
  • the marketplace completely undertakes the storage, packaging and delivery of the ordered goods to the client, the supplier only delivers the goods to the warehouse;
  • a large network of pick-up points, the possibility of delivery to the client’s address.

Disadvantages:

  • high competition in the clothing and footwear segment
  • marketing activity is regulated by the marketplace, and not by the supplier of the goods, sometimes this can be at a loss to the supplier;
  •  Working on a marketplace, you cannot collect a customer base and work with loyalty;
  • It is difficult to maintain high ratings on marketplaces. First of all, they depend on reviews, while the supplier of the product does not have the opportunity to work with the negative before publishing the review;

  • marketplaces often change the terms of the offer unilaterally, and there is a risk of receiving fines and penalties; 
  • The marketplace commission on orders averages from 5% to 25%, depending on the category of goods.

4.Social networks

According to statistics, if users are looking for a product on a social network, in 40% of cases it will be clothing or shoes. VK, Telegram and Instagram* (banned in the Russian Federation, as it belongs to Meta, a recognized extremist organization in the Russian Federation) are a mandatory combination for a shoe brand.
Insta has become a controversial sales and promotion channel for many. It has become more difficult to promote without targeting. And yet, work on this social network brings good results to many brands. Targeting has been replaced by advertising from micro-influencers. Also, do not forget about such a shareware way of exchanging audiences as mutual PR with partners from related niches.

Advantages:

  • effectiveness in establishing contact between the target audience and your brand;
  • potential for expanding the customer base;
  • the opportunity not only to sell, but to convey brand values, strengthen loyalty, and manage the brand community;
  • you can use such effective promotion tools as advertising with bloggers, targeted advertising and content marketing.

Disadvantages:

  • the time required to create high-quality content, or outsource an SMM team;
  • costs associated with advertising and the need for a targetologist;
  • there is a risk of account blocking - this could be the machinations of competitors or a platform error. And given that not all social networks support service is prompt, you may lose access to it forever.

How to choose a sales channel

1. Analyze your competitors: in which channels is their brand represented, how do they present their product and interact with the audience, what results do they have? Notice their strengths and mistakes. 2. Select those channels where your target audience lives. 3. Calculate the economic model for the selected sales channels. In particular, take into account the costs of advertising, photo shoots, work of contractors, rental and renovation of retail space.
4. Link the selected channels into a single system using a CRM system. 5. Analyze the results for each sales channel on an ongoing basis.

The most important features

Omnichannel involves not only the use of several communication and sales channels, but also a seamless transition between them. In this matter, consistency is important: combining channels using CRM, a single tone of voice, a single corporate identity, friendly and trained employees who communicate with the client throughout the entire purchasing journey.

In conclusion, implementing an omnichannel strategy into a business is a great way to increase your reach to potential customers, make the purchasing process easier and faster, and also increase customer loyalty and increase profits.

Overall, an omnichannel strategy is necessary for every business that wants to remain competitive in today's footwear market.

Photo: GEOX SS'23

The technologies we use in life and business are developing rapidly: in the last 10 years alone, many new sales channels and communication with audiences have appeared. This progress affects...
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