Businesses in an Omnichannel World: All for One and One for All
The prefix "omni-" means all, so omnichannel retail would refer to all channels being potentially used in the purchase process. However, it should go further than that with the retailer adopting the concept that all of these touchpoints are NOT multiple, separate channels, but rather ONE CHANNEL. A customer's journey shouldn't be looked at through, let's say, three separate instances of laptop, then smartphone, then in-store. They should all be part of the same instance.
In the same light, omnichannel marketing would assume that the customer will consider all of these channels to be part of the same shopping experience. Therefore, present promotions to them accordingly, not multiple, separate promotions as if you're meeting the customer for the first time in each channel.
When considering that the all of omnichannel is a unified all, what are the factors that go into making omnichannel mean one experience?
Omni- Means SMOOTH
We should define the omnichannel retail shopping experience as the ability for consumers to effortlessly go from one channel (e.g., smartphone) to the next (e.g., retail store) without having to interrupt their buying journey. For example, they research the product at home on their tablet or desktop, then go to the store to see it in person, get additional information (from the store clerk or via additional smartphone research), be able to apply digital coupons in-store and complete the purchase in-store, on smartphone, tablet or desktop — all integrated and all effortless.
Retailers should be able to move along with the customer from one touchpoint to another, digital or physical, without losing their information and search and interaction history. Customers expect you to pick up where they left off, without them having to repeat themselves. Likewise, marketing efforts should be made according to where the customer is in their journey — i.e., the right content at the right time.