Omnichannel Retail starts with a Tightly Integrated eCommerce Platform
Building an Omnichannel Retail Business
Omnichannel retail is defined as a sales and customer engagement structure where a business offers their products and services to customers on many channels, increasing the number of avenues for revenue. While omnichannel can look a little different between B2B and B2C businesses, the primary goal of reaching more prospective customers and building broader brand awareness is similar across all types of retail businesses. Omnichannel retailing can also result in higher customer satisfaction and retention rates—when done well.
There are many channels retail businesses can consider, such as brick-and-mortar stores, reseller stores, apps, digital marketplaces, and online websites. There is no set number of channels a retailer must have to be considered omnichannel, but the shift to eCommerce is a pattern that is on a sharp rise, exacerbated by the global pandemic. The proportion of customers being in-store shoppers is going downwards; some customers simply prefer to shop online, while others shop exclusively online, and if your business cannot provide a seamless digital experience, you will greatly hamper your profit. To learn more tips for eCommerce management, download the free whitepaper, The Best eCommerce Starts with Tighter Integration.
Must-Haves in a Seamless Digital Shopping Experience
As we shift to an increasingly digitally-oriented lifestyle, the standards for an attractive eCommerce website are now very high. A high-quality shopping experience is now just as important as high-quality products. Some customer expectations for an eCommerce platform include non-static landing pages, informational videos, relevant and useful blogs, and customer reviews. These elements are the appetizers to the actual shopping experience. When a customer is shopping online, they expect an easy product filtering by colour, type, size, price, and many other dimensions, such as product availability by shipping options.
Tight Integrations in Omnichannel Retail Software
Every component of your eCommerce site should be fully connected with your ERP and any third-party systems. Integrating every system with your ERP, and consequently with each other, helps you avoid duplicate data entry and data inconsistencies. Moreover, with cloud-based platforms, you can achieve real-time data visibility, so there is always an up-to-minute source of truth being viewed by everyone in the organization. Tighter integrations can boost efficiency and transparency in many ways, including:
1. Order Processing
Connecting your product information with your ERP provides detailed and actionable reporting. Integrating your eCommerce platform with order management, inventory, and fulfilment enables you to automate the entire order fulfillment process. Advanced eCommerce solutions will also have customer-facing portals and automations, such as automated email updates for when an order is accepted, processed, shipped, and delivered.
2. Marketing and Analytics
With ERP solutions like Acumatica, many integrations are pre-built or natively integrated, allowing you to mix and match as necessary. Advanced omnichannel retail ERPs that offer a built-in CRM that connects with your eCommerce platform automatically collect customer behaviour data, such as clicks, abandoned carts, order changes, and more. This data can help you make large-scale strategic business decisions, as well as personalize the marketing content and shopping experience received by different customers.
3. Financial Management
ERP financial systems, when securely connected with your eCommerce platform, help you automate credit checks, credit and debit card transactions, invoicing, and internal accounting. This data can be synced with your ERP, and shared with the customer, all in real-time. Integration between financial management and your eCommerce platform increases the accuracy of all financial data, while dramatically reducing workloads for your accountants.