Revolutionising Retail: The Age Of Omnichannel

Richard Collier


In the ever-evolving landscape of retail, brands across the globe are redefining their strategies to stay relevant to customers whose priorities have shifted since the pandemic. 

What started as a multichannel approach years ago has now matured into an ‘omnichannel’ era – a holistic approach to retail that delivers a seamless and consistent shopping experience across multiple touchpoints. 

A recent report found that brands with top omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5% yearly increase in revenue, compared with 3.4% for poor omnichannel brand strategies. 

Brands like Nike and Sports Direct have paved the way, demonstrating that a successful omnichannel strategy involves leveraging technology, understanding customer behaviour, and delivering a consistent, personalised experience across all platforms.

The Rise of Omnichannel Retail

An omnichannel approach to retail means aligning the physical experience in-store with any digital channels to deliver a cohesive shopping experience. 

Today's consumers are digital natives, constantly switching between different channels - online, mobile, physical stores - during their shopping journey, and they expect a consistent experience throughout.

Ensuring all these parts of a shopper’s journey are interconnected is key to make it possible for customers to research a product online, try it in-store, and eventually purchase it via a mobile app, all while maintaining the same level of service and product knowledge. 

In this hyper-connected era, the lines between in-store and digital shopping have blurred, creating an environment where retailers need to be omnipresent and adaptable.

Harnessing ‘Omni-awareness’: 

Enthusiasts of the iconic sportswear brand Nike, will find a whole new level of personalised shopping when they visit the brand's innovative 'Rise' stores in London and Miami.

Upon entering, these stores automatically identify app users and serve them bespoke product suggestions based on the available in-store selection.

The shopping experience is further elevated with the implementation of digital comparison tables in these stores. Customers have the ability to juxtapose different footwear styles, allowing them to discern variations based on distinct locales, climates, terrains, and running styles.

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While the digital tables offer a unique experience to all customers, Nike app users enjoy an additional layer of personalisation. Once they sync their digital profiles with the table, the platform generates comparison data rooted in their individual preferences. 

These preferences are meticulously tracked, considering factors like previous purchases, attended events, club memberships, and more.

The innovative blend of technology and personalisation these retail environments embody enhances the customer experience by integrating a fun and immersive element to the shopper journey. 

Sports Direct’s Seamless Strategy 

As an agency we have collaborated with Sports Direct to assist the brand in pursuing an omni-channel approach as part of their wider elevation strategy to enhance their in-store, and online customer experience. 

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Scannable QR codes in-store for example direct customers through to product guides, or more information on the website empowers consumers with added expertise, supporting them in their journey from shelf to purchase. 

An omni-channel approach enhances the store’s accessibility, which allows the experiential element of the stores to be layered, creating a new springboard for inspiration.

Since seamlessly connecting the offline and online experience, Sports Direct have experienced significantly improved engagement through digital in-store offerings, resulting in 82% of users finding Sports Direct products on social media and 450k more followers on Tik Tok.

With a total increase of over 18 million followers across social platforms, the proof is in the pudding when it comes to the visible results stemming from an omni-channel strategy. 

The future of omnichannel

As we move further into 2023 and enter 2024 we can expect the omnichannel trend to continue shaping the future of retail. The demand for a seamless, personalised shopping experience is here to stay, and it's more important than ever for retailers to embrace this shift.

NRF, Retail’s Big Show 2023 (New York City, January 15-17) welcomed 35,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors. One of the strongest themes to come from this show focused on the increasing digital fatigue and information overload consumers are currently experiencing. 

Numerous brands are leaning into what has been dubbed ‘shy’ or ‘calm’ technology, which supports, guides, and informs without demanding excess attention.

With this in mind, brands pursuing an Omnichannel strategy must not only ensure their offline and online touchpoints are harmonised, but should experiment with more fluid, ambient, and gestural technology that offers subtle interactions and reactions – for creating retail spaces inspire, rather than fatigue consumers. 

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