Huge omnichannel potential for digital and physical stores | Startup Central
Many Danish stores have caught the trend and are already integrating their physical and digital store to a certain extent. But there is still a long way to go.

Huge potential in "reserve-and-collect"

The survey The Omnichannel Index 2022 reveals that Danish retailers have been good at giving their physical stores an online upgrade, but if the development is to be taken to the next level, we must start driving more traffic from the online efforts down to the stores. This is where the untapped potential lies.

"I especially don't understand why more people don't give customers the option to reserve and collect. You drive traffic down to the stores, and we can see that 50% of the customers buy something else when they're down there anyway," says Martin Sandvad, Omnichannel Lead at Impact, who is behind the study.

According to Martin Sandvad, there is huge potential in "reserve-and-collect", where the customer reserves an item online to buy it in the store later. Many are now used to "click-and-collect", where the customer pays digitally before the item can be picked up. But with "reserve-and-collect" the commitment is less and it opens up a completely new customer group.

Corona gave us a crash course in multichannel

It is no news that the long shutdowns were hard on the small shops. Many had the experience of being left out in new, digital sales channels and communication channels. It was probably a bit bumpy and bumpy and not always as strategically thought out as one would have liked.

On the other hand, it is also often where the magic happens. When circumstances force us out of our comfort zone and we learn something new.

The question then is, do we take our new learning into the future when the dust settles again, or do we go back to what we once knew?

Omnichannel and multichannel - what's the difference?

Briefly explained, the most important difference is that omnichannel integrates all channels with a focus on the customer, while multichannel involves many channels with a focus on products.

The slightly longer explanation goes like this:

Multichannel involves several marketing channels such as social media, e-mail and Google Ads. The channels typically work separately with individual messages. It can be an advantage if the products range widely and are aimed at different target groups. But it also has the built-in limitation that the customer himself has to find his way back to the same channel to see the same offer again.

If several of the country's thrift stores, which in the example here are just a list of physical stores, start tapping into the online thrift market, which is gaining ground, it could be the first step towards a multichannel strategy. Perhaps even in the long term an omnichannel strategy, for example with member benefits across channels.

Omnichannel also uses many channels, but the focus is turned around so that the individual customer is at the center of all channels. The efforts are typically integrated with each other across the channels to give the customer the best experience. When omnichannel works, the customer can move freely between physical and digital channels on their buying journey. The message will be the same, regardless of where the customer turns.

Examples of omnichannel marketing:

  • A customer receives a text message about a special offer while she is shopping in the store.
  • A potential customer is greeted by an ad on Instagram after an interrupted purchase in a webshop.

Is omnichannel the future?

The short and simplified answer is yes. But of course the reality looks differently nuanced. Each store finds its own way and what works for some does not necessarily work for others.

Having said that, there is probably no turning back either. The future is both physical and digital - and integration only makes more and more sense.

Let me end with a few concrete suggestions for how you can start your omnichannel strategy:

  • Set up video chat in your customer service. The customer can always switch off her own video signal if she is shopping for nightwear or simply does not want to be seen. I wonder if the customer doesn't have a better experience when she can see the employee she is talking to. Tip: Use e.g. LiveAgent or Talkative.
  • Treat your customers in a surprising way: Send an email to your customer list telling them to go out and check the mailbox where a gift is. Tip: Use "We Mail" from PostNord/Strålfors for shipments directly to the customer's physical mailbox.