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9 minutes read

Why And How Brands Must Go Omni-Channel, The Future of Ecommerce

By Robert Kazmi
By Robert Kazmi
9 minutes read

Shoppers today are empowered shoppers. Mobile technologies have given them more knowledge prior to purchase than ever before.

Always being connected, shoppers today use mobile to make informed purchase decisions, and as a result, new marketing methods are being employed by retailers worldwide.

It was not planned. It was born from necessity. Ecommerce and shopping via Mobile Apps is what has given birth to this new shopper profile. These new consumers are called omni channel shoppers.

Omni Channel shoppers are a derivative of multi channel shoppers. In the past, multi channel shopping was the most advanced and retail shops would make sure to be able to reach customers through various outlets like Ecommerce, online marketplaces, social media, etc.

But Omni Channel marketing refers to the transition between each of these multiple channels; it brings them all together, and focuses on engaging with the customer and providing a seamless customer experience regardless of how they shop with you.

Let’s look at where this shopping trend is headed, how apps are fueling the changes and how retail is capitalizing on new marketing opportunities as a result.

Future Shoppers. Where Omni Channel Shopping Trends Are Headed

Omni-Channel shopping uses offline and online technologies to shop. An omni-channel presence means that your brand has infused online strategies and technologies with the offline shopping experience.

You constantly engage customers through all means available such as email marketing, online and offline ads, social media, physical ads, coupons and more. The conversation is all one.

There is a big difference between multi-channel shopping and omni-channel shopping.

Multi Channel shopping is using both offline and online Ecommerce, but to use these together along with other marketing tools to one large marketing machine, that is considered omni channel marketing.

To put it in perspective, here’s an excerpt from MyTotalRetail that clearly shows you the difference between multichannel and omnichannel shoppers:

“Unlike traditional multichannel shoppers, this consumer uses all channels — store, catalog, call center, web and mobile — simultaneously…omnichannel shoppers outspend multichannel shoppers by over 20 percent.”

All the best brands create one continuous shopping journey for consumers. In the average omni channel shoppers world; tablets, smartphones, laptops and email are all tools used to shop smart and efficient.

Imagine going online to find a bike light available at the local sports and outdoors store. You find a nice LED handlebar light, add it to your cart, but before you commit you decide to wait to drive to the store to see it first hand.

The next day you get an email about that bike light along with a discount coupon that makes the deal almost too good to be true. You go to the shop to see it first anyways, and upon telling them about your online discount you get that same discount in-store as well.

This is omni channel shopping. Online and offline marketing come together to build a brand together. To engage customers fluidly between the internet and in-store.

The future of shopping is omni channel shopping.

The Omni-Channel Mindset

In the below quote, marketing automation company Marketo explains in their blog how omni channel shopping works. They give a glimpse into the omni channel mindset and how brands need to start thinking in order to evolve with these new shopping trends:

“Marketers now need to provide a seamless experience, regardless of channel or device. Consumers can now engage with a company in a physical store, on an online website or mobile app, through a catalog, or through social media.

They can access products and services by calling a company on the phone, by using an app on their mobile smartphone, or with a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop computer. Each piece of the consumer’s experience should be consistent and complementary.”

Today’s shoppers are empowered with information. They research as they shop, and are often far more knowledgeable about a store’s products than the actual staff themselves due to their omni channel tendencies.

The Wise Marketer shows us a few percentages that show what omni channels are researching online while searching offline, today:

  • “39% of respondents report using a wireless device while in a store…
  • 56% are comparing prices against other retailers.
  • 51% are comparing prices against the same store’s online price.
  • 51% are browsing reviews and recommendations.”

Hyper aware omni channel shoppers use mobile technology to research purchases in-store while shopping. From price comparisons to product and brand reviews, omni channel shoppers use mobile features to mold their decisions. In order to stay ahead of the curve, and competent in your customers’ eyes, retail stores need to infuse all marketing strategies together into one singular fluid shopping journey for their omni channel customers.

How Digital Technologies Are Molding Offline Shopping Trends

Brick and mortar stores will rely on digital shopping tools more than ever before.

The key to a successful omni channel retail strategy is knowing your customers’ shopping tendencies, and mobile tech used as a shopping tool seems to be that tendency.

If your shoppers like to start on mobile and then move onto desktop, it is wise to know this. Having your mobile cart synced to your desktop-version cart is essential. All mobile devices should work seamlessly together.

When you know which technologies are preferred, allocating your time and resources there will create an omni channel friendly shopping environment.


The above image shows how consumers begin their shopping experience on one device and often change before the final purchase. Mobile serves as a vital tool to omni channel shoppers. Shoppers easily price shop while shopping.

The brands who provide ample amounts of information and enable customers even further, are the ones that do best. Having good amount of audience insights makes placing the best information available in the right places easiest.

Combine All Platforms To Create A Seamless Shopping Experience

Omni Channel shoppers use multiple platforms. Retailers should build a presence on each platform and then make them work together. Here’s Mike Stocker in Marketo’s blog describing this situation:

“Recently, I added a pair of shoes from Zappos to my shopping cart, using my mobile phone. Later, I viewed the same shoes on my laptop at home, but didn’t purchase.

Finally, on a weekend afternoon, I got an email from Zappos with the subject line “You snooze, You Lose”. Inside the email, the big bold header said “Don’t miss out!” There was an image of my shopping cart, the shoes, and a bright orange tag that said “Only 1 LEFT!”

If you were to guess, do you think he bought? The answer is yes. Because Zappos effectively used scarcity within an abandoned cart email, Mike was convinced into buying then and there.

They seamed online actions into email marketing. In the same way retail stores create buzz and give away coupons to get people into their buildings buying.

To accell your business in these days of omni channel shopping, you need to focus on consistent messaging across all platforms and sales channels available. Shoppers today will have nothing less.

How Retail Stores Can Capitalize On Omni Channel Marketing Opportunities in 2015 and 2016

To accell your business in these days of omni channel shopping, you need to focus on consistent messaging across all platforms and sales channels available. Shoppers today will have nothing less…

The future of retail shows the end to single location shopping centers. Your big superstore down the street will still be there, but it will be different.

Omni channel shoppers don’t have time to waste. And in order to cater to their price-shopping, time-saving needs, department stores have adopted digital and fulfilment practices to become full-service state of the art omni channel businesses.

Macy’s is an example of what companies nationwide are beginning to do to cater to the new omni channel shopper.

Macy's- My Wallet

Marketing Land describes exactly what Macy’s is doing to adapt:

“This year, Macy’s will encourage shoppers to scan products via the retailer’s mobile app while shopping in brick and mortar stores. Macy’s annual digital plan focuses heavily on mobile and seeks to “close the gap between store, desktop and mobile.”

Another example of Macy’s mobile focus is its deployment of a touchscreen shopping option within the handbag department to let consumers self-checkout. A concurrent TV campaign is running as well, in which the commercial messaging drives viewers to download the retailer’s app.

The Omni Channel Shopper is Molding the Future of Shopping

In the future you can expect to see all brands joining the omni channel movement. Online and retail brick and mortar will all be on the same page.

Consumers will need sales associate help less and less, and so we will start to see less associates in these situations.

Dynamic pricing will be integrated within pricing online and offline, fluctuating daily to maximize revenue.

You can expect to see brands partner as well because this industry is at an extreme growth period and partnering allows brands to experiment and take larger risks in the promising omni channel waters.

Another very exciting thing to look forward to is the online integration for traditional brick and mortar stores and vice versa. Even Amazon has a brick and mortar scheduled for a New York City release.

In conclusion, omni-channel commerce has taken some unique and unexpected turns. As growth continues to move at a fast pace, your business should also.

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