What Is Omnichannel E-commerce? A Strategy Guide for 2024

June 16, 2024 8 min read

Ken McMahon

Ken McMahon

omnichannel-ecommerce-hero
Omnichannel E-commerce Definition: Omnichannel e-commerce is a retail strategy that unifies the customer experience across all channels, online and offline, for a seamless shopping journey.

Omnichannel e-commerce is about giving customers more flexibility and control over how they shop with you. Whether they’re browsing your website on their laptop, using your mobile app, visiting your brick-and-mortar store, or engaging with you on social media, omnichannel e-commerce creates a consistent customer experience (CX)

Simply put, omnichannel e-commerce creates an effortless shopping experience that increases customer satisfaction and sales. With help from our guide, you can develop the right omnichannel e-commerce strategy — and take your omnichannel contact center and customer experiences to the next level. 

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Differences Between Traditional vs. Multichannel vs. Omnichannel E-commerce

The differences between traditional, omnichannel, and multichannel e-commerce go beyond the number of channels businesses offer to their customers.

Traditional e-commerce, also known as single-channel e-commerce, takes a straightforward, classic approach, allowing customers to browse products on your website, add them to an online shopping cart, and complete the checkout process. 

Omnichannel vs. multichannel e-commerce, however, have subtle differences that impact the customer experience differently.

Both multichannel e-commerce and omnichannel e-commerce offer multiple channels to the customer, such as your website, mobile app,  online marketplaces, or physical storefronts. The difference is that omnichannel e-commerce prioritizes the customer journey, seamlessly integrating conversations, customer data, and context into a seamless omnichannel customer experience.

A diagram shows the differences between traditional vs. multichannel vs. omnichannel e-commerce

The Benefits of Omnichannel E-commerce

With omnichannel e-commerce, you can reap a variety of benefits. Here are a few. 

Increase sales and traffic

Omnichannel e-commerce can boost sales and traffic by creating seamless shopping experiences across multiple channels and increasing brand visibility. By being where your customers already are and making it easy and convenient for them to interact and make purchases, you can drive traffic to your site and increase conversions.

Integrating data collected from different channels helps you identify cross-selling and upselling opportunities. For example, agents or chatbots can use customer data, like purchase history or browsing behavior, to recommend products or upgrades, increasing the average order value.

Provide better insights

Unified customer data provides deeper insights into your customers, allowing you to understand them better and provide more personalized experiences. With this valuable data, like customers’ purchase history, browsing habits, and previous interactions across your website, mobile app, and social media platforms, you can tailor marketing campaigns and personalize recommendations, driving higher engagement and conversion rates. 

Using omnichannel analytics software allows you to monitor conversations in one place and unearth true customer needs, sentiment, and intent in real time.

Nextiva omnichannel e-commerce software

Enhance customer experience 

Omnichannel e-commerce allows customers to easily switch between channels, access their order history, receive personalized recommendations, complete purchases, and get support. Whether the customer interacts with your brand through social media, email, live chat, text, or in-person, the customer experience remains consistent.

For example, say a potential customer sees one of your products on Instagram and follows the link to your website, where they sign up for your email newsletter. You can automate an email reply that offers customers a discount code and links them directly to the product they were browsing.

Drive repeat purchases and brand loyalty

The more effortless the shopping experience, the greater the likelihood of repeat customers. A convenient and consistent brand experience builds customer loyalty, keeping them coming back (and recommending you to their friends, family, or followers). Additionally, personalized recommendations and suggestions drive traffic back to your site, resulting in increased customer lifetime value. 

The Challenges of Omnichannel E-commerce

Along with the benefits of adopting omnichannel e-commerce, there may come a few challenges. Here are a few that could arise and how to navigate them.

Maintaining consistent customer experiences  

The success of an omnichannel e-commerce strategy depends on providing a seamless experience across all channels. Each channel, website, app, social media might have limitations in what it can display or how it can function. Ensuring not only a consistent look and feel but also uniformity in branding, messaging, and user experience requires careful communication and coordination among teams. 

How Nextiva helps: 

🤝 Nextiva’s omnichannel contact center software helps businesses provide consistent customer experiences across every touchpoint in the customer journey, including chatbots, mobile apps, text messaging, and social media — all from a unified interface. 

Tracking and managing inventory in real time 

Multiple sales channels can make inventory management a challenge. Retail and e-commerce stores that provide an omnichannel experience need to be able to track and manage stock in real time to avoid negative customer experiences.

If your systems have trouble updating inventory data in real time, a product may show as available online when it’s actually out of stock. This can lead to upset customers and extra work for support teams to process refunds and contact customers to advise them of the situation. 

How Nextiva helps: 

🔎 Nextiva integrates seamlessly with e-commerce apps to offer real-time visibility into stock levels across all channels, including physical stores and online marketplaces. This ensures customers don’t order out-of-stock items and prevents overselling.

Determining which channels are most effective 

Figuring out which channels work best for businesses looking to implement an omnichannel e-commerce strategy can be tricky. Whichever channels you choose, remember that the key to a successful omnichannel e-commerce strategy is to integrate them seamlessly and provide a consistent brand experience across all touchpoints.  

How Nextiva helps: 

📈 Nextiva offers flexible, scalable omnichannel CX software that has the right channels for your business. It grows with you and makes adding channels easy to meet changing business needs and customer expectations.

How to Create an Omnichannel E-commerce Strategy

Building a successful omnichannel e-commerce strategy doesn’t have to be rocket science. Follow these steps to help you get started.

Research and understand your customer base

Conduct thorough market research, dive deep into customer data analytics, and actively seek feedback through surveys or social media interactions. This will provide invaluable insights into your ideal customer profile, their preferred shopping channels, and any pain points they might encounter along the buying journey.

By understanding your customers inside out, you can tailor your omnichannel strategy to meet their needs and preferences effectively.

Nextiva - customer feedback and managing surveys

Define your goals

Setting clear objectives is the cornerstone of any successful omnichannel strategy. Consider what you want to achieve — such as increasing sales, enhancing customer retention, or expanding brand awareness. Once you have a clear vision of your goals, you can align your channel selection, content creation, and overall approach accordingly.

Having well-defined goals not only provides focus but also serves as a roadmap for measuring the success of your omnichannel efforts and making necessary adjustments along the way.

Maintain brand consistency across channels

Make sure your brand sounds the same no matter where customers find you. That means using the same tone of voice, style of writing, and messaging on your website, app, social media pages, and even in your physical stores. Whether someone’s reading your tweets or chatting with your staff in-store, they should feel like they’re talking to the same friendly, helpful brand.

Consistent messaging and tone create a cohesive brand experience that builds trust and loyalty among your customers.

Customer retention - show customers you want their business for an effective omnichannel e-commerce strategy

Create a customer journey map

Picture all the different ways people interact with your brand, from the first time they hear about it to when they buy something and even afterward. This map shows you where you’re doing great and where you could do better to make things smoother for customers. It’s like drawing a map of the entire customer journey with your brand so you can see exactly where to add those personal touches and make every step feel just right for them.

Customer-journey-map

Integrate customer data and systems

Invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) system to consolidate data from various sales channels, marketing platforms, and customer service interactions. This centralized repository offers a comprehensive view of customer journeys, facilitating analysis of behavior and preferences across touchpoints.

Use this insight to tailor marketing campaigns, offer personalized recommendations, and ensure consistency in the customer experience, ultimately driving engagement and business growth through data-driven strategies.

Implement AI and automation

Leverage AI-powered tools to enhance your omnichannel strategy, such as AI chatbots that offer 24/7 customer support, personalized product recommendations, and automated email marketing campaigns. AI-powered workflows can automatically route incoming requests and provide agents with real-time customer insights, like customer intent and sentiment, so they can deliver more personalized assistance.

Conversational AI can help an omnichannel e-commerce strategy

Adapt to changing customer behaviors

Stay tuned in to how your customers are shopping and what’s happening in your industry. Be flexible and ready to tweak your omnichannel strategy whenever new data or innovative technology comes along. This way, you can always stay ahead of the curve and make sure your approach is spot-on for what your customers want right now — while also keeping an eye on the future.

Nextiva Helps You Enhance CX with Omnichannel E-commerce

Customers have endless shopping options, making it even more important for your business to provide a convenient and effortless experience.

With Nextiva’s AI-powered contact center, you can create an omnichannel e-commerce platform that helps you provide more personalized experiences and consistent brand messaging across every touchpoint so your businesses can make deeper connections with customers, boost sales, and outshine competitors. 

CX software service done right.

Integrate secure phone service, SMS, video, and team chat in ONE platform.

Omnichannel E-commerce FAQs

Still have questions? Check out our omnichannel e-commerce FAQs.

Is an omnichannel e-commerce strategy good for small businesses? 

Omnichannel e-commerce is great for businesses of all sizes, from small businesses to large corporations. You can provide omnichannel customer service through a user-friendly website, social media, and a mobile app for easy ordering by utilizing the right channels. This enables a convenient and personalized shopping experience for your customers, increasing sales, and customer loyalty.

Which channels should I consider for my omnichannel e-commerce strategy?

The right channels for your omnichannel e-commerce platform depend on your customer base and business type. Some common options include:

Website: This is your central hub and should offer a seamless shopping experience with clear product information, secure payment systems, and easy navigation.
Mobile app: A user-friendly mobile app allows customers to browse, purchase, and track orders conveniently from their smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
Social media: Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok offer excellent opportunities to showcase products, run targeted ad campaigns, and interact with customers directly.
Online marketplaces: Depending on your product category, marketplaces like Amazon or eBay can expand your reach and tap into a wider customer base.
Email marketing: Personalized email campaigns nurture leads, promote new products, and keep customers engaged with your brand.

What’s an example of a business with a successful omnichannel e-commerce strategy?

One of the best omnichannel e-commerce examples is Canyon Coolers. This business offers high-quality, ultra-durable coolers, ice chests, and accessories for extreme adventures in hostile environments. With a combination of online retail and 500 storefront locations, Canyon Coolers offers seamless omnichannel e-commerce experiences with help from Nextiva.

Ken McMahon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ken McMahon

Ken McMahon leads Customer Success for Nextiva. His 25 years of experience leading various aspects of the customer experience including professional services, customer success, customer care, national operations, and sales. Before Nextiva, he held senior leadership roles with TPx, Vonage, and CenturyLink. He lives in Phoenix with his wife and two children.

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