When eCommerce sites were first developed, they were often free-standing projects that were considered to have little or no strategic importance. As eCommerce has developed, it’s disrupted the retail model so that stores are now in some cases only important because they serve as local pickup points for electronic orders placed through eCommerce. In an environment like this, it’s important that both sides of the house coordinate information about the customer.
Omnichannel Coordinates Customer Info
An omnichannel approach to coordinating this information requires that a single database be maintained on all transactions, regardless of their origin. Since point-of-sale applications do not always share data with web-based ones, you can use business intelligence tools to coordinate the information and update each system from the other one.
This allows customers to buy online and pick up in store, return items to a store that were shipped, or look at items in a store for future shipment to their home. These are just a few of the examples of information that might need to pass between the online environment and the in-store one.
Marketing With Omnichannel Data
Beyond simply managing transactions like the ones described above, the omnichannel approach can inform the company’s marketing. Analysis of the billing and shipping addresses of website visitors could influence future store location decisions. Data from both site and store about in-stock and out-of-stock status can be compared to sales numbers to see how willing customers are to wait for certain products, and information about additional online options can be provided in-store to save the sale when the customer finds the product they want but not the size or color.
Omnichannel strategies promise to integrate the benefits of both eCommerce and traditional retail. By coordinating the massive amounts of information available to a company across the entire system and their online environment, the enterprise can make the retail environment much more attractive.