Omnichannel commerce is a marketing strategy that allows you to sell in many online marketplaces at the same time, in addition to continuing to sell in-person, at the store. Thus, the consumer is left with a uniform and transparent shopping experience.
Find out below the many benefits of developing an omnichannel commerce strategy, along with some of the biggest issues and their solutions.
1. Multiply Your Presence Across The Web
In 2018, we noticed that 46% of consumers started their online research on Amazon. This platform is not your enemy. On the contrary, Amazon is transforming itself into a search engine that allows international consumers, who are not your current customers, to discover your products and make purchases directly from your store.
The Problem: Multiple Stock Management
Online sales combined with in-store sales created a new challenge for the merchant, that of maintaining centralized inventory and activities management.
When a merchant decides to sell in multiple online marketplaces, such as Amazon and eBay, or even their own site, this results in multiple inventory management. This task can be onerous for the manager responsible for updating the inventory. For example, as soon as a product is sold in-store, the manager has to update inventory quantities as quickly as possible, on all the platforms where the product is available for sale.
The Solution: Centralized Inventory Management
Omnichannel commerce allows you to increase your web presence without having to increase the time spent manually updating your inventory. By centralizing inventory management and synchronizing online sales with in-store sales, it reduces or even eliminates the high costs and time required for stock quantity management.
At the heart of this is the point of sale software. Merchants using an omnichannel solution can control and manage their inventory from a single location and make it automatically available on multiple online marketplaces. Alice POS is the first point of sale system dedicated to in-store sales management that is now integrated with LesPac.com and can easily connect with Amazon, eBay, and the merchant’s e-commerce site through the Ecwid platform.
Did you know that you can sell via your social media business pages on some social networks? This feature has been available on Facebook for several years now and many others have recently joined the wave allowing you to sell directly to your social followers.
The Problem: Little Known Functionality
Knowing that the possibility of selling through social networks is a little-known option for most merchants, it represents a wonderful business opportunity. Some web agencies charge merchants a substantial amount to allow them to take advantage of this option, which exists by default in some e-commerce solutions.
The Solution: Jump At The Opportunity
By using Ecwid eCommerce, merchants who use Alice POS can tag their products in their Facebook and Instagram business posts. This means that someone that follows or discovers your content can simply click on the image and buy your product directly from your Facebook or Instagram page, this is an excellent business opportunity! Indeed, among American consumers, 78% have discovered new products on Facebook and 80% of Instagram users follow a company page (that is 800M users!).
Web marketing is constantly evolving. What worked perfectly well two years ago will not necessarily work today. In other words, the past is not a guarantee for the future of internet marketing. Many digital companies have gone public and changed their priorities afterward.
For example, Facebook has changed its algorithm many times over the past few years, and it has been shown that posts made by businesses are reaching fewer and fewer audiences. It is now necessary to set aside an advertising budget to reach as many people as possible.
The Problem: Web Marketing Is Expensive
Digital marketing is still a little-known strategy for some marketers. Managers are always a little hesitant to integrate this tactic to acquire new customers because the industry is constantly evolving, the time investment is sometimes important and technical knowledge is, in most cases, necessary.
The Solution: Artificial Intelligence
Today, managing social networks and implementing web marketing strategies no longer have to go through an agency. Some tech startups have developed tools that integrate e-commerce activities and advertising platforms like Google Ads.
Thanks to the SAAS (Software As A Service) model, the costs of developing, hosting, and updating these tools are shared between customers, in the form of a monthly or annual subscription. Thus, AI (artificial intelligence) manages to automatically optimize the ads and becomes more competent over time, and costs less than if it had been developed for a single business by a local agency.
Some merchants who have integrated Ecwid with their Alice POS point-of-sale software can automate the management of their Google or Facebook ads. Because these companies reduced their costs by switching to a centralized inventory management system, their budget now allows them to advertise digitally. In addition, they will only have one platform to master and manage.
This allows merchants to advertise directly in Google without having to pay an agency to do so. The merchant only has to choose the products to be promoted, the geographic location where the ads will be displayed, and the desired language.
Therefore, this eliminates the need to hire an agency that would do much of the same actions in a more complex interface. The same goes for advertising on Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Google Ads.
4. Harmonize Web And Physical Purchases
Compare your in-store branding with the image your website projects. If you see consistency in the messaging, visuals, content, value proposition, and customer experience, then you have done a great job. On the other hand, if you notice any obvious discrepancies, you may need to review the image of your online store.
The Problem: The In-Store Customer vs. The Web Customer
Unlike the in-store customer, the online customer expects to receive a very specific user experience. They expect to see your unique value proposition, an up-to-date inventory, a site that is mobile-responsive on phones or tablets, photos that represent your actual products, an easy checkout process, and clear privacy and return policy, to name a few. This is also the case for your brand’s image on social networks and other places where your company is displayed on the web. Be aware that if your website does not work properly on mobile platforms, you are blocking 48% of your web traffic.
The Solution: Omnichannel Commerce
Harmonizing web and physical sales can be achieved through omnichannel commerce. It is essential to offer a harmonized customer experience with your brand across all channels, both on the web and in stores.
With the Alice POS and Ecwid integration, you can now have a professional online store, including a suitable mobile version and even an iOS and Android app. The store displayed on your website can thus be the same as the one visible on your Facebook and Instagram business page or the Amazon and eBay marketplaces. So the customer can get a great experience without you even having to worry about inventory or standardizing your brand image across multiple platforms.
Note: Is the customer who physically shops in your store the same as the one who shops on your website? If you don’t have the answer, you can check your statistics in Google Analytics to compare your two customer types. You will find information on the gender, age, and interests of your active customers on your website (if you have enabled this feature). This information allows you to adapt your web marketing strategy, notably if your in-store and online customers differ.
If you decide now to dive into an omnichannel commerce strategy and are looking for a transactional website development agency, beware! Some agencies still charge SMBs the cost of developing a real-time inventory synchronization feature. Be aware that this option already exists on several e-commerce platforms! Companies no longer have to pay for custom development, or updates, to an API feature or a bridge.
The Problem: It Is Expensive To Develop And Maintain
Developing an API connection (or a bridge) between two software platforms to allow real-time synchronization of your sales and inventory is expensive. Custom APIs or bridges can be not only an expensive initial expense but also a significant long-term expense due to the need for secure and functional upgrades.
The Solution: Existing API (SAAS)
Why pay to have a custom bridge developed when several companies also need to make the same connections? Thanks to Software as a Service (SAAS), low and fixed fees, paid annually or monthly, cover the costs of updating and constantly developing an existing bridge.
Imagine that you want to sell on Amazon and you already have an e-commerce website and a physical store. Thanks to the existing bridge between the AlicePOS point of sale, the Ecwid platform, and the Amazon marketplace, you can synchronize your inventory and sales automatically after each activity is carried out in either location. It’s the same thing for Facebook, Instagram, eBay, and more.
There is no initial development cost to pay when a bridge already exists. In addition, the API is continuously evolving, new features are being added frequently, and updates are regular to maintain a high level of security. A SAAS formula reduces the financial stress for merchants who can thus benefit from the management of the omnichannel activities of their business from anywhere (mobile and cloud-based) without worrying about unexpected costs.
6. Centralize The Management Of The Retail Experience
Retail is struggling to modernize despite new consumer expectations that would normally force retailers to adapt. While the Retail Apocalypse is only an allegory, the need for retail transformation and modernization is very real.
The Problem: Centralize The Management Of Physical And Virtual Operations
We have analyzed various advantages, on the retail side, as well as the technical issues encountered to meet more adequately the current needs of consumers:
Having an online shop
Promoting the online shop
Synchronizing physical and virtual inventory
Making inventory visible to customers (social networks)
Multiplying online presence (sell on international marketplaces)
Harmonizing customer experience in-store and on the web
Centralizing, real-time inventory management
Omnichannel commerce is an excellent solution to these issues.
The Solution: An Omnichannel Point Of Sale
Alice POS is a very powerful point-of-sale system designed for multi-site store networks such as franchises, buying groups, corporate networks, and single-store owners. This all-in-one system centralizes all business operations. For example, Alice POS can take care of the management of the website and all the stores in the chain at the same time.
Indeed, you can manage the availability of products on your transactional site and your physical store thanks to the exclusive connections between Alice POS and Shopify, WooCommerce, Ecwid, Wix, and many others. These solutions also allow connection to eBay and Amazon. Bottom line is, you can harmonize the stocks of your physical store, your own website, and various online marketplaces from all over the world.
In addition, it is also possible for you to sell on social networks like Facebook and Instagram thanks to the connection with Alice POS and Ecwid. The e-commerce platform allows you to manage your advertising through its AI application on various platforms, such as Facebook, Google Shopping, or Google Ads. Recently, advertising options were added for Pinterest and Snapchat.
Both solutions are constantly evolving for the sole purpose of meeting the changing needs of the retail business and satisfying consumers. As a result, merchants can work with state-of-the-art solutions.
Alice Answers Your Questions
We already have a website that has cost us a lot of money and we do not want to start over. Can we add an online store to our existing website?
If you have a WordPress, Wix, or Weebly website, you can easily replace your current e-commerce store in your existing site with the one I offer using Ecwid. Ecwid is a plugin and can therefore be installed in most existing website builders. You can also synchronize your current inventory with your WooCommerce or Shopify store if you already have these solutions.
My point of sale is physically located in my shop. Is that a problem?
If your current point of sale is physically installed in your store, I think you may encounter multiple problems. A locally installed point of sale presents risks of data loss (in case of fire, flood, etc.), lack of remote data access, lack of updates and security, not to mention technical assistance. I am a SAAS and cloud-based point of sale software and I make sure technical support is always available and that automatic and free updates are included.
No, because I put an outstanding onboarding team at your disposal. I have colleagues dedicated to importing your data to my servers, training your team, and providing technical support throughout your subscription. Several large chain stores trust my point of sale system and my colleagues are continually collaborating with all types of businesses.