Complexity of managing omnichannel retail

Navigating the Complexities of Omnichannel Management

Business executives must stay ahead of the curve in this ever-changing digital landscape to ensure their success. Brands that don’t leverage the power of omnichannel commerce are missing out on up to 30% in potential sales. To keep their customers happy and gain a competitive edge, sellers need an effective strategy for integrating e-commerce into all channels – from websites and apps through physical stores – allowing buyers total control over when, where, and how they shop.

Unlike multichannel, the previous stage in the development of D2C trade, omnichannel implies the integration of scattered communication channels into a single system. This integration allows the brand and the buyer to continuously interact through various channels  – online and offline stores, websites, mobile apps, business accounts in messengers and social networks, customer support departments, and company services. We have written more about the differences between multichannel and omnichannel commerce here.

Managing omnichannel trade is quite difficult. Let’s look at the difficulties this business approach hides and how they can be solved.

The growing volume of data

Every year, internet user activity grows. Media content improves, information about products becomes more detailed, and connections between objects multiply. As a result, e-commerce generates an increasingly large amount of data daily.

Firstly, this process constantly increases the requirements for storing information. It needs to be physically placed somewhere, and its confidentiality and integrity must be monitored.

Secondly, information not used at the right time and in the right place is dead weight. We must know where specific information and relationships are stored at any given moment, promptly change them, and transfer them to business users who need them now. For this purpose, MDM systems are used in e-commerce, which we discussed in this article.

Quality data collection, analysis, and management are vital for the long-term success of e-commerce, and brands must follow technological progress to keep up.

Synchronization of channels

In an omnichannel system, each channel performs its function at a specific moment, following the omnichannel thinking of the consumer. That is why all sales and communication channels must be synchronized throughout the customer’s journey: during product familiarization, order placement, customer support, delivery, and further feedback. Customers are annoyed by the need to duplicate their requests in several communication channels. Omnichannel trade prevents this by creating seamless communication and shaping a unique user experience.

Matching, or correctly matching customer profiles in different online and offline channels, is of primary importance. Correct matching helps to avoid situations such as a customer picking up an order in a store but receiving trigger marketing emails for a month or a service center being unable to find an online store order in its database that the customer has a problem with.

It is not easy to implement the synchronization described. A company may not always be able to directly connect messengers, social networks, its online store, and internal communication systems. The business’s IT infrastructure becomes cluttered with its own third-party integrations, auxiliary solutions, and applications. Eventually, the brand concludes that managing omnichannel trade requires using a single information center where all information is collected and then distributed where it is needed.

Logistics and inventory visibility

As customer requirements increase each year, 35% of users for a product need to be available in an online store and ready for immediate shipping.[1] Constant product availability in warehouses requires well-established logistics chains, knowledge of the turnover of certain SKUs, timely planning, and the creation of reserve stocks. This is achieved through logistics planning systems and SCM (supply chain management).

When using various sales channels, it is vital to ensure timely updates of inventory levels in each of them. Few things can compare to the disappointment of a customer who is already waiting for their ordered product but instead receives apologies.

Returns also require attention. On the one hand, it is necessary to leave a good impression of the brand and not lose the customer or even a loyalist. On the other hand, it is essential to prevent the illegal use of goods or even attempts at fraud.

Ensuring all the processes listed requires the coordinated efforts of many people, departments, external partners, and complex software. At the same time, omnichannel commerce leaves no other option but to integrate all data received in one place in real-time; otherwise, this whole system will start to fail.

Omnichannel business analytics

Information is valuable not in and of itself but when used to analyze and make business decisions. Omnichannel commerce allows for the analysis of conversion and financial indicators and the assessment of the effectiveness of each sales channel.

But the problem is that your customers think and act non-linearly. They can interact with the brand everywhere – for example, they may encounter advertising several times on social media, research information on the company’s website, and then make a purchase through a marketplace. That is why we are discussing the future with an omnichannel strategy.

The data needs to be combined and used together. This will create an accurate map of the customer’s actions and develop a content strategy based on it, use artificial intelligence technologies to form personalized offers, and maintain continuous communication with the customer. Omnichannel analytics allows for identifying new relationships and patterns in your D2C business and turning them to your advantage.

Therefore, the key to managing omnichannel e-commerce is integrated, accurate, and timely information. It is to obtain, store, and use such information that international brands and manufacturers use MDM (Master Data Management) platforms.

Syntes MDM is part of this class of platforms, developed using innovative big data technologies. It stores all data of your business, synchronizes information from all sales channels, and combines all external and internal sources of creating and receiving information.

The Syntes MDM platform is a single data center that will make your business genuinely omnichannel and enrich it with all the advantages of modern big data technologies. Please send a request and get the opportunity to learn about all the benefits of our MDM platform.

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Syntes, an international company, develops a next-generation MDM (Master Data Management) and PIM (Product Information Management) cloud platform and provides brands and manufacturers with services for creating, managing and automating D2C (Direct-to-Customer) sales and marketing channels. Syntes solutions and services are used by the world’s leading brands and manufacturers of consumer and business products such as Razer, Scarlett, Pantone, X-Rite, AVerMedia and others. Syntes is a registered trademark of Syntes, Inc.

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