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    October 29, 2020
    6 minute read

    4 Steps to Create an Effective Omnichannel Strategy

    by: Barb Mosher Zinck

    The demand for an omnichannel commerce experience is driving brands to rethink their commerce strategies.

    To not only survive but thrive, brands must embrace digital transformation and adopt an omnichannel commerce strategy that aligns with changing buying behaviors and marketing trends.

    You must be prepared to meet customers wherever they find your products. There are four foundational steps to help your brand build out your omnichannel strategy.

    Step 1: Know Your Customers

    Understanding your customers is the first step to building an effective omnichannel strategy, and gaining insights into their buying behavior can help you understand more about their wants and needs to inform your goal-planning.

    An ecommerce analytics tool can give you a holistic view of your product detail page (PDP) performance, as it helps teams monitor product content quality, pricing, ranking, and availability across a wide selection of products without time-consuming processes.

    Several questions could help you gain insights into your customer base:

    • Which sales channels are you currently using?
    • Which sales channels have the most impact?
    • What are the primary actions customers take on these channels?
    • What questions are customers asking on these channels
    • Do any key themes emerge within product reviews?
    • How much time do customers spend on these channels
    • What are your primary sources for traffic?
    • How do your customers browse these channels (i.e., mobile or desktop)?
    • Which products are the most popular?

    After researching your existing customers, use your personas or ideal customer profile (ICP) to analyze where your potential customers are spending their time to see if there are channels you need to add to your mix. Leverage social media and any statistics marketplaces and distributors provide to understand if your customers are using them.

    Step 2: Define Your Channel Strategy

    When you understand your customers and their shopping behaviors, it's straightforward to map out the sales channels that align with their needs and behaviors.

    Your website will be a priority, but including relevant channels, such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, Lowe's, The Home Depot, or others, are also important for meeting your customers where they spend their time.

    Social commerce is also a growing sales channel that offers test-and-learn opportunities. If your customers spend a lot of time on Instagram, for example, you should consider providing an Instagram Shopping experience or working with influencers to help drive engagement.

    Knowing what channels you need is only part of your channel strategy, though. You need to understand each channel's specific requirements, including data models and any back-office integrations. You must also understand the processes required to work with each channel and integrate them to create a consistent omnichannel experience.

    You also need to map out the experience you will provide on each channel, including:

    • Product Offerings
    • PDP Content
    • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Keywords

    Step 3: Prepare and Align Your Team

    There are several critical roles for an effective omnichannel team, each with a clear set of responsibilities. For example, the director of ecommerce is responsible for orchestrating the complete omnichannel commerce strategy. This person is highly experienced and skilled in understanding the data and knowing how to build great experiences.

    Other roles include an ecommerce program manager and the ecommerce business analyst who monitors, analyzes, and reports on key metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). Effective teams also have content creators responsible for developing product content, such as text-based content, images, videos, and other content types.

    Technical team members are also essential to manage the ecommerce environment, including your brand website and mobile applications, as well as the other software you implement to manage your omnichannel commerce experience.

    It's critical that the entire team understands your commerce strategy and implementation plans and works together to ensure each channel has the right content and experience that meets the strategy's overall objectives.

    Step 4: Implement the Right Tools for Omnichannel Success

    The last essential piece of an omnichannel commerce strategy is technology. Once you have your plan fully defined, you will need the right tools to ensure its success.

    Your team needs tools to manage, deliver, measure, and monitor product content. A Commerce Experience Management (CommerceXM) platform is beneficial because it provides a centralized location for the ecommerce team to manage and monitor product content and experiences across channels. Because your team can manage all of your channels in one place, it’s much easier to consistently improve those channels through updates to product information and additional value-added content.

    Without the proper tools, your team will find it challenging and, in some cases, impossible to create and manage an omnichannel content experience.

    Get Started on Your Omnichannel Commerce Strategy

    Today, consumers are much more demanding and expect a consistent brand experience, regardless of where they engage. Implementing an omnichannel commerce strategy takes a lot of effort. It requires the right approach — from understanding customers to defining the proper channels and aligning your team and technology to make it all work together.

    But the good news is that it can be done, and now is the perfect time to start.

    Learn more about how CommerceXM powers the experiences shoppers demand at every stage of the buying journey.

    LEARN MORE

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