What is omni-channel retail?

The days when retailers had just one or two channels through which to sell goods, and communicate with their customers, are long gone. While the traditional bricks-and-mortar store is often still the most prominent channel, it is rarely the only one. Retail has developed to include multiple online, as well as offline channels, and this is where omni-channel retail strategies come to the fore.

Omni-channel retail is about creating a seamless customer experience across all of a retailer’s channels. Customers do not really think in terms of channels though; customers think in terms of brands or retailers. They want information about brands, and access to their purchase gateways, in a way, and at a time, that is convenient for them.

Of course, it makes no difference to the retailer through which channel the purchase is made; what matters is that the purchase is made. It is therefore essential that shopping, and the overall retail experience, are convenient, seamless and consistent as the shopper moves between channels. The digital and physical spheres should complement each other, not compete. The ultimate goal is to cater to as many customers as possible, in as many situations as possible, without the barriers of location and time.

Benefits of omni-channel retail

Research shows that omni-channel shoppers spend 15-30% more than multi-channel shoppers, who themselves spend 15-30% more than single channel shoppers. By engaging with consumers in “their” world, greater loyalty and a greater sense of attachment to a brand can be fostered. Omni-channel shoppers also make purchases across more categories and shop more frequently than other shoppers. Creating a seamless, omni-channel approach is a complex task, especially as there are few ready-made solutions available to retailers, but a modern approach to gift card sales and redemption can be the foundation on which retailers build omni-channel strategies.

Ogloba’s truly omni-channel gift card platform

Ogloba’s comprehensive gift card solution encompasses activities that range from the cash register (ECR) activation of a plastic cards, to the automated digitalization of gift cards directly on to the mobile devices of customers; from the online purchase of virtual gift cards, to the delivery of the card to the recipient’s mobile device, e-mail inbox (print-at-home), SMS, or via their Facebook page. The Ogloba platform lets customers buy, receive, and use gift cards through the channel that is most convenient for them, whether physical, digital, or mobile.

Not only that, but many of the digital cards can be enriched with video, photo, and audio content. This is a great multi-media customer experience, as the individualization makes the cards more personal, and demonstrate that care and thought have gone into the choice of gift.

Full integration of the online and offline channels also makes setting up and managing loyalty schemes easier, and more effective. Being an omni-channel retailer means that customers send, as well as receive communication, through all the available channels – the ones that suit them. Ogloba’s solutions have the ability to feed CRM (customer relationship management) with accurate and controlled data that can be used to create engaging and relevant marketing campaigns. By having promotional and marketing coordinated through one database, the message is consistent across all channels and the process is much easier to manage, while at the same time keeping gift cards relevant to today’s customers.