A lot of online companies are looking into omnichannel. If you consider, or if you have already decided to expand to offline sales, you should make sure that your systems can support the new offline part of the business in the best possible way.
As an online company, you are a part of a highly competitive field with a constant battle for customers. When the competition is just a single click away, you are, in effect, fighting the whole world.
Because of this, many online companies are looking into offline sales. It provides the opportunity to attract a new customer group and meet the customers where they are while gaining a competitive advantage in the field.
However, expanding your online business with an offline component is not always straightforward. Therefore, you should start with a thorough analysis of whether it makes sense to market and sell your products in physical stores and how much system development is required to support offline sales.
If the estimated business value is greater than the investment you put into the project, then you should just go ahead and get started.
When talking about sales across channels, it is crucial to distinguish between omnichannel- and multichannel shops. An omnichannel shop has multiple sales channels where the same order can use all channels simultaneously. However, in a multichannel shop, the customer must choose a single channel, and stay on that channel throughout the entire purchase flow. While a multichannel solution often is easier to set up technically, it will not create the same customer experience and synergies as if you choose to invest in omnichannel.
There are many ways to go omnichannel. For a lot of companies, it means an expansion of their own retail space, while other brands rely on showrooms, pop-ups, and stock sales, among other, while several are collaborating with existing retail shops or chains. The latter can be a clever shortcut to the offline market - this shortcut will often be a cheaper and less extensive solution than investing in own shop premises.
If you consider or have already decided to expand to offline sales, you should always make sure your systems support the new offline part of your business in the best possible way. At Novataris, we have experienced that many of our customers achieve a great value by having high synchronisation between all systems and ideally only having one system that has different granulations of information and options. It makes it possible to initiate the customers' order in one channel and complete the order in another channel, fulfilling the omnichannel experience.
To achieve this, your system must be able to handle and synchronise the following processes as a minimum:
Synchronization or use of the same products is necessary to create a good overall experience and for orders to be split across channels. This does not imply that all products must be able to be sold across all channels
Orders must be shared between systems to create a connection and synergy across channels
Not all channels need to have access to the same products and information. For example, customer service must be able to access more information about products and customers than a business partner would.
Synchronization of stock must include offline channels, so a customer does not go to a store in vain. At the same time, this provides new synergies, for instance can a customer buy and reserve a product online without the store selling the product to another.
There will often be more legal requirements for online shops compared to physical stores. For example, 14 days return policies only apply to online sales.
Of course, there may be exceptions to whether your system should be able to support the synchronization of all processes. But no matter what, these processes are crucial to consider before embarking on offline sales so that gaps and deficiencies in the system are closed ahead of time.
At Novataris, we have extensive experience in developing and maintaining omnichannel systems. If you consider or have already decided to expand to omnichannel, do not hesitate to contact us for a chat. We will help you analyze your situation and provide an overview to you, free of charge.