Omnichannel Ecommerce Platforms

Omnichannel ecommerce platforms will bring a whole new level of coordination to your business. Your omnichannel solution should have the ability to bring together your marketing campaigns, product data and customer records to bring consistency to your B2B and B2C market.


What is omnichannel ecommerce management?

Omnichannel ecommerce management is the process used to create a consistent shopping experience for your customers, across all the channels you sell on. This could include your websites, social media accounts and in-store.

 

Omnichannel ecommerce management makes user experience a priority. It creates a seamless way to engage with customers whenever and however they interact with your business.  This helps you achieve a positive brand profile and consistent corporate identity.

Managing multiple traffic sources for ecommerce

When you adopt an omnichannel approach, you are putting your customers first. An omnichannel strategy helps you manage multiple traffic sources. Instead of running various campaigns across different platforms, the strategy will combine and align all of the messaging you are creating. 

It seems kind of obvious- customer interactions should not be conducted in silos. Most customers expect to be able to communicate with you across any channel and not have to repeat something from an earlier conversation.

Creating marketing that has consistent brand messages benefits your business. It simplifies what you are saying and allows you to commit to a cohesive message. It allows you to invest in serious marketing communications rather than diffusing your message in different campaigns.  Your brand may be weakened when your messages become mixed, and this ultimately results in a lower profile and fewer sales. 

 

Benefits of an ecommerce approach for your customer include:

  • confidence- in your brand
  • consistency- across your messages
  • convenience- to interact with you in a way that suits them

Customer expectations in ecommerce

Your customers see your brand as a cohesive corporate identity. If a customer purchases something from your online store, and then sends you an email related to their order, they do not expect to have to provide an order number. When they follow up an enquiry with a message on social media, they expect you to be able to link this contact with their record and history.

More than 50% of people have said they would not revisit a brand after they had the experience of having to repeat an enquiry or complaint they have already provided. 

Customers today expect to see your brand present on many channels:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Amazon
  • Google
  • Pinterest

And they expect a degree of consistency across all of these channels, as well as on your own website and in-store.

Ominchannel solutions

When you use an omnichannel strategy for your business, your customers will see that you are capable of organising your data and information.  They will be able to see you know what you are doing in the digital space.  This creates credibility in the mind of your consumer. It also makes customers feel like their data is being managed and protected, because there is a central and coordinated approach to their records. 

 

Without a suitable ecommerce platform to take care of your omnichannel marketing, you run the risk of:

  • misunderstanding customers’ needs and preferences
  • poor data management
  • being unable to personalize communications
  • losing credibility among target groups
  • being seen as inferior in the digital space

Omnichannel ecommerce platform

To help you achieve coordinated omnichannel ecommerce, you’re going to need some software. An omnichannel ecommerce platform will help you sort and manage data.  This means, all of the information related to you your products, your campaigns, your customers and your special offers.

 

By 2022, 41% of in-store sales will be influenced by the internet. It’s becoming more and more important that your communications are consistent and meet customer expectations. Today’s customers are savvy.  They will notice contradictions in your messages. An omnichannel ecommerce platform will help you get your communications consistent and strengthen your brand.

 

Other benefits for your business will include:

  • improved data collection  
  • better customer profile and metrics info
  • access to product and purchase analysis figures
  • an ability to create a sales-oriented presence
  • reduced duplication of effort
  • cost savings on conducting multiple campaigns

 

A Forbes 2015 study found that of globally polled retailers, 84% believe that a uniform consumer experience across channels is extremely important and allows them to better compete in an increasingly digitalised and rapidly changing marketplace.

Magento omnichannel ecommerce

The Magneto platform is popular for online retailers and traders around the world. It can be acquired as an open-source product.  Magento customers reported the following strengths:

  • Secure data handling and storage
  • Prompt service and support
  • Quality order processing capability

 

They also said that compatibility with adobe products was problematic, and there were some limitations regarding editing content and product descriptions. Most out of the box features need improvement and won’t suit the needs of enterprise businesses. Magento users also find that outside extensions are not compatible which is problematic when you are seeking to integrate with existing or planned systems.

Shopify omnichannel ecommerce

Another solution and big player in this space is Shopify.  Created for reliability and scale, Shopify can handle extensive product data and does help coordinate details across websites, social, marketplaces and in-store. Customers rate the following:

  • Agility and speed of product listing
  • Intuitive interface
  • Flexible payment options
  • Consistent built-in customer payment service

 

They also found it less suitable for B2B relationships, sales and transactions. This means that multiple offers or personalization deals can be hard to achieve. One reviewer reported problems when transactions needed to be refunded.

Pimcore omnichannel ecommerce

Pimcore is one of the most cohesive and integrated options for ecommerce software. The main benefit of this Austrian-  founded system is that it offers you a way to do effective omnichannel marketing, along with a host of other tech services. As well as managing your B2C interactions, it also offers extensive product information, customer experience and digital asset management tools.  If you don’t want the hassle of acquiring and operating different systems across your stores, then Pimcore is the perfect choice. 

Pimcore users love the way it: 

  • Enriches content
  • Puts customers at the centre
  • Has useful SEO and metadata management
  • Offers heaps of extension and use options

 

Other users noted that because of its extensive capabilities and other services, it did have a higher degree of complexity to establish- but that this initial challenge brings benefits in the long run. 

Bigcommerce omnichannel ecommerce

This platform was rated as the most popular overall in the 65 systems included in a recent G2 review.

Customers rated the following Bigcommerce attributes highly: 

  • Variety of themes and templates
  • Open architecture and app ecosystem
  • Good functionality across PC, tablet and mobile
  • Easy payment model

 

However, customers also said Bigcommerce lacked some services expected- such as back-ordering and wasn’t able to deliver the quality reporting service that is essential to be able to assess how your strategy is working. 

Ecommerce software

There has been an increase in the number of ecommerce software options over the last few years; a G2 review covers 65 options currently on the market.  The solution you select will depend on a number of variables, including your specific sales requirement, and of course your budget.

Some other software systems you might want to consider are: 

  • Catalogue
  • SAP Hybris
  • Netsuite
  • Intershop
  • Goecart
  • Kyozou
  • SQQUID

Omnichannel time to market benefits

According to recent research, the average consumer spends 8.8 hours per day engaging with content, while the guys and gals of Gen Z spend 11.4 hours. That’s almost 12 hours a day that potential customers are browsing around in online sites where they might encounter your products and brand. And apparently, the standard number of days taken to get a new product to market is around 12 days. With customer expectations for fresh content being at an all-time high, imagine the time saved not having to create individual content for three, four, or more platforms.  

Other benefits of omnichannel systems include:

  • Personalised interactions that buyers love
  • Tailored messaging
  • Smooth exchanges with your company
  • Breaking down barriers between channels

Omnichannel ecommerce management

The Omnichannel approach is relatively new, but already bringing success to those early adopters who have recognised the power that consistency brings.  One study found that companies that have an omnichannel engagement strategy reported an almost 90% customer retention rate. Shoppers who interact across multiple platforms will have a 30% higher lifetime business value than those who shop using only one. Enterprise businesses are focusing on creating a holistic approach across all channels and increasing conversions across the board.

Open-source omnichannel ecommerce

If you want to test the waters with this type of data management and marketing model, both Pimcore and Magento offer free, open-source solutions. The fact that they are created as open-source systems means if you have the smarts on side, you can customise the solutions to fit your retail needs.  Getting an omnichannel ecommerce system to try out won’t cost you a fortune. But do be advised that although it’s free to download, Magento does come along with hidden costs for support and changes to out-of- the box components such as templates. 

Integration of multichannel and omnichannel ecommerce

Multichannel businesses don’t despair!  If you are still running with a multichannel model, which has you targeting different channels with different deals and messages, you may be wondering if you have missed the boat.  The fact is that some of the solutions out there that allow you to integrate your existing platforms with a system that will help you organise to an omnichannel approach.  An omnichannel model will allow you to give you more opportunities to leverage off better data through a more sophisticated system.

Challenges associated with the integration of existing multichannel into an omnichannel approach include:

  • Enabling access to those who need it
  • Achieving a seamless profile
  • Assessing how logistics can be integrated
  • Securing investment and commitment to achieving the integration
  • Developing a process for reviewing and assessing individual channel performance
  • Changing your organisation’s mindset so it sees your channels as part of the overall brand offering 

Integration of PIM systems and omnichannel ecommerce

If integrating existing multichannel systems with an overarching omnichannel platform seems more trouble than its worth, it might be worth considering a total data management solution. Products like Pimcore will not only deliver your omnichannel tool, they seize control of other data collections and elements by providing master data control.  If you don’t want to add yet another layer of systems into your existing software mix, then a cohesive Product Information Management (PIM) system will remove the need for multiple systems. PIMs like Pimcore can are not only an ecommerce solution but also provide:

  • Customer relationship management
  • Product information management
  • Digital asset management
  • Integration of disparate systems
  • Enriched information from one platform

If you’re thinking of investing in an omnichannel ecommerce solution, take the time to consider systems that enable an omnichannel approach but can also do more. 

If you’re considering installing an overarching PIM platform, it will help you not only connect across various channels, but connect staff across different sites, and countries. Take time to consider what your long term goals are and ask yourself if a suite of separate systems is really what will work best for you in the long run. 

Take control of your digital presence – ‘Truth From One Source

Marketing managers, data analysts and sales reps are singing the praises of the omnichannel marketing approach for handling multiple channels.  It’s been proven to build brand loyalty and credibility. But some companies are still finding their feet as they try to find the best strategy for delivering on it.

By operating an omnichannel ecommerce system, you’re giving your business the best chance at fully integrating your service and product offerings. 

An omnichannel system will give your business the best chance at responding to customer expectations and need, making you agile enough to respond to tech developments and new channels as they emerge.  It’s clear that by finding the right system, and committing to consistency, you will no longer have to struggle to deal with countless variations across your channels.

Often a move towards omnichannel will require your IT team to collaborate more than ever with your:

  • marketing
  • production and
  • sales people

The systems that support omnichannel marketing need to be more closely aligned with strategy and business development than ever before.  If you want cohesion for your customers, you will need cohesion within.

Having the right system to help you deliver on your omnichannel approach will ensure your origination remains credible, current and consumer-led.