The traditional retail model, single-channel, as opposed to omnichannel e-commerce, utilises one sole channel of distribution. Although this method can be extremely cost-effective, limiting marketing investments, for example, there are some concerns over scalability and missing out on sales opportunities.
It is undeniable that we are living through a digital era of commerce and marketing, where neglecting eCommerce opportunities look more like an oversight than a purposeful business decision.
Thus, multi-channel retailing was born. As the name suggests, sellers venture out and utilise multiple sales streams that go beyond their online stores or offline brick-and-mortars, e.g. social media and online marketplaces.
Proponents see this strategy as a more flexible alternative to traditional retailing in that customers enjoy 24/7 access and greater choice and autonomy.
However, a common concern amongst retailers who employ multi-channel retailing is that they have not achieved a streamlined customer experience across each sales channel.
Those who move over to omnichannel eCommerce seek to improve their brand recognition, their customer satisfaction rates, and their overall credibility as a retailer.
During your research, you may have witnessed the terms ‘multi-channel’ and ‘omnichannel’ used interchangeably. It is very important to recognise the differences between the two, and they do exist.
A major difference between the two is that omnichannel eCommerce retailers provide a more integrated, seamless and reliable customer experience across all sales channels.
It’s one thing to use as many platforms available to you as a seller, it’s another to create a stable, consistent brand identity across each of them. The term ‘quality over quantity’ comes to mind when discussing omnichannel retailing.
Most all omnichannel eCommerce software platforms offer a holistic analytic database. This means that your entire brand’s analytics are in one convenient place.
They allow you to analyse individual customer behaviours, such as the likelihood of them making a sale versus dropping out at the order phase.
This makes understanding and engaging with your customers more efficient and opens up the possibility of using targeted marketing strategies such as personalised offers and recommendations.
Overall, the key difference between omnichannel and multichannel retailing is the level of personalisation that comes with the omnichannel method. Your customers should know that your brand is consistent, credible and cohesive.
This will ensure increased customer loyalty, the likelihood of referrals to friends and families, and repeat purchases. Omnichannel retailing is customer-focused, multi-channel retailing is channel-focused.
Top Omnichannel eCommerce Platforms
So, you’re deciding to go down the omnichannel eCommerce route, good choice! Now, where to begin? Let’s start by choosing the right platform to suit you.
This is the king of omnichannel eCommerce solution platforms. This platform is designed with mid-level and enterprise e-commerce businesses in mind with B2B and B2C customer bases. Its membership plans start at $23,000 a year.
- 4,600+ third-party extensions
- Detailed inventory and multi-store management and optimisation
- URL, HTML and CSS customisability
- Optimal UX
- Integrated SEO
- Simple installation and fast download speeds
- Integrated SEO
- Shopify runs your site’s backend for you
- Wide range of extensions
- Maintenance and security overheads covered
This one is for beginners. Big Commerce Enterprise is designed for those looking for an all-in-one solution for their business’s initial growth period. Prices start at $29.95 a month but plans can be a little bit complex. Cost depends on multiple factors including your yearly revenue.
- Ready-made themes and templates for quick set up
- No transaction fees
- Faster software response times than the industry standard
- Payment gateway integration
- Ability to sell on Amazon, eBay, Pinterest and Facebook.
- Integrated drop-shipping
Top Omnichannel eCommerce Software
Contalog offers a centralised, SaaS-based, all-in-one omnichannel eCommerce software solution. Using Contalog is a sure-fire way to simplify and unify your management tasks.
- Adjust stock levels for multiple products at a time
- Real-time, centralised tracking of stock through cloud stock management software
- Channelize your customer’s preference and replenish stock based on a consumer needs forecast
- Automated invoices, payments, shipping and refunds
- Use Contalog’s B2B order management app to create special quotations for selling in bulk
- Orders are centralised across all sales channels, meaning the backend is updated the moment they are placed
- Customer-focused sales tracking software
Centralized Product Information Management
- Bulk upload products with all relevant product information including barcodes
- Unlimited, customisable product variants, each with different prices, discounts, etc.
Voted one of the best omnichannel eCommerce software solutions of 2020 by The Software Report, Radial is one to try out!
- SaaS distributed
- Streamlined and automated dropship automation
- Ship from store, in-store pickup and ship to store order fulfilment
- Personalised customer engagement tools for cross-channel returns, minimal stock shortages and multiple delivery options
- Freight solutions which ensure fast delivery times
- B2C fulfilment
- Comprehensive handling of payments, tax, duties and fees
- Radial does not take a cut of your profits until the customer’s payment geos through
NetSuite is an omnichannel eCommerce software which allows users to fully design the experience they want to offer to their customers across multiple channels and devices. NetSuite meets both B2C and B2B business needs.
- Enjoy a single view of all customer interactions across all sales channels
- Use the central communications hub to deliver intelligent digital marketing in a personalised way to increase customer loyalty and make sales
- Centralised order management system with a single view of all cross-channel inventory and stock
- Real-time stock information sharing with your global supply and distribution chains
- Expand globally by running your business around the world from one sole eCommerce platform which supports multiple languages, currencies and tax rates
- Create and manage multiple websites for your brand all from one convenient location
- B2B and B2C
Intershop, a digital commerce pioneer, provides an omnichannel eCommerce software solution in 2020 for predominantly large-scale or enterprise-level businesses. This cloud-based service provides a seamless omnichannel eCommerce experience across multiple touchpoints.
- Allows you to give customers and staff an overview of available inventory across all sales channels, in real time.
- Partial or full automation of orders, payment, billing and returns
- Synaptic Commerce API for inventory synchronisation and for integrated order processing with suppliers, ERPs etc., as well as for a centralised collection of returns and orders from multiple channels.
- Import and export formats: XML, CSV, and API
- Unlimited variants
- Product syndication through search and allocation rules
- Omnichannel continuity with unlimited touchpoints, custom layouts and templates, and promotions
- Multiple promotion types available as well as a combination of promotions with customisable rules and set ups
- Multiple international currencies per price list
As with Intershop, SAP Hybris is tailor-made for enterprise-scale businesses which utilise many different sales channels. Omnichannel eCommerce software solutions such as SAP Hybris provide more targeted content to customers to boost both sales and brand loyalty
- SAP Customer Data Cloud allows you to grow your audience, build trust and maintain customer relationships based on preferences and consent settings.
- SAP Marketing Cloud allows you to access insight from one convenient point, driving revenue and growth through personalised customer marketing.
- Allows customer profile management which includes their preferences, consent data and real-time predictions and scoring.
- Combines merchandising and marketing into one to create a streamlined view of supply and demand
- Solve customer issues in one interaction with service request management
Digital Supply Chain
- Streamlined transport management to reduce costs and improve efficiency
- Optimised and automated warehouse processes
- Data-driven stock replenishment plans available
This article aimed to give readers a complete guide to omnichannel retailing. First, we looked at the differences between multichannel and omnichannel retailing, and remember, they exist!
Then we gave an overview of some of the best omnichannel eCommerce platforms on which to use your omnichannel eCommerce software, before looking at the omnichannel eCommerce software solutions themselves.
Whether you’re a start-up or an enterprise, omnichannel eCommerce retailing is quickly becoming the most popular option, of both sellers and customers. Congratulations on taking your first step towards revolutionising your business.