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Today, all commerce is digital — even when a consumer buys a product in-store. Whether it’s Amazon, your direct-to-consumer (D2C) site, or a brick-and-mortar retail partner, the boundaries of ecommerce have disintegrated and merged into one seemingly endless customer journey.
Yet, 78% of brands say they don’t provide a unified experience across channels, according to Periscope by McKinsey.
A robust omnichannel strategy isn’t a nice-to-have in today’s competitive landscape. It’s just table stakes for brand manufacturers who want to deliver a consistent message and product experience.
However, your brand also needs tools to support your strategy, specifically an omnichannel commerce experience management (CommerceXM) solution. As you search the market and compare platforms, here are four things to look for in an omnichannel solution.
Every online and offline retail partner has different channel requirements. Ensuring your product pages meet these requirements is often a manual, fragmented process that slows your time to market — and, in turn, potential sales.
An effective omnichannel solution should automate and streamline the compliance process and allow you to see images, naming conventions, product descriptions, and other requirements for each of your channel partners in one place.
It should provide a central hub for all product data, allow you to connect your retailer network to this system easily, and automatically update retailers’ schemas so you can validate your product content and ensure it meets each channel’s requirements.
To execute a successful omnichannel strategy, your brand also needs to optimize the content management lifecycle. Sharing spreadsheets between different cross-functional teams or making manual updates to product pages increases the risk of inaccurate product information.
As you compare omnichannel solutions, look for one that simplifies the content syndication process and makes it easier to map your entire catalog of products to different sales channels.
The right solution should combine automated product information management and digital asset management (DAM) capabilities into a single integrated platform. You should easily be able to repurpose and reformat assets for every channel you sell into and customize your product information for each of these channels.
The solution also should improve your brand’s storytelling by allowing you to leverage enhanced content — including 360-degree image spins, graphics, videos, and other rich media — that move customers further down the funnel. The solution should offer capabilities that automate and scale this process, allowing your team to use rules-based templates to create content for multiple product pages simultaneously.
It’s even more important that the omnichannel ecommerce platform you choose not to reinforce existing silos within your organization. It should integrate seamlessly with your ecommerce team’s existing workflows and optimize them to improve your organization’s efficiency.
Extensibility and interoperability are two critical attributes of a robust omnichannel solution.The right platform should let you connect diverse data sources from other systems to create a single source of truth for all your organizational data.
It also should integrate with your existing backend systems such as your enterprise resound planning (ERP), distributor and retailer portals, industry-standard tools like Salesforce and ZenDesk, and current and emerging customer experience solutions like LiveChat and Instagram Checkout.
With access to a range of integrations, your organization can modernize its tech stack, extend its digital capabilities and experiment with new channels — with much less risk.
While product data is the foundation of an effective omnichannel strategy, it’s crucial to invest in a solution that can convert this data into analytics and actionable insights that improve customer engagement.
For example, real-time inventory and pricing data can help you decide how much of your inventory to make available on Amazon and where to price it to increase the likelihood of conversions.
Understanding up-and-down fluctuations in your buy box win rate can help you make the right tactical decisions to adjust your ecommerce strategy. This approach could include addressing ongoing stock availability issues or increasing minimum advertised price (MAP) enforcement to crack down on non-compliant resellers.
A report of unused search terms relevant to your product categories can help you identify which keywords to add to your product descriptions to improve search performance and discoverability. Product review data can help you address customers’ concerns in a timely way, market to them more effectively, and protect your brand’s reputation.
A comprehensive omnichannel solution will offer all these capabilities and buy box, content, and review insights that allow you to uncover new ways to reach, engage and convert your target audience over and over again.
The ecommerce tech ecosystem seemingly grows larger by the day, making it more challenging to ensure you’re making the right long-term technology investments.
However, keeping these considerations we’ve outlined in mind can help you narrow down your choices.
An integrated CommerceXM platform that brings together product information management (PIM) and DAM systems, integrates with a wide range of APIs and applications, and streamlines content management, enhanced content creation, and channel compliance can transform your omnichannel strategy from a concept on paper into tangible tactics that actually drive results.
Watch our expert-led, on-demand webinar, "Exec POV: How to Transition to a Digital-First Omnichannel Organization," to learn more about meeting the demands of modern commerce.
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