In recent years, the omnichannel approach has gained strength, reshaping the retail industry's landscape. Despite the e-commerce sector's growth during the pandemic, traditional brick-and-mortar stores have evolved, blending with digital platforms and embracing trends like experimental retail.
Integrating diverse channels into a unified shopping experience is no longer a luxury but a necessity. To stay competitive, retailers must align with customer expectations, considering the prevalence of multichannel consumer behaviors. According to insights from Think with Google, omnichannel strategies drive an 80% higher rate of incremental store visits. A robust omnichannel retail strategy typically begins with multichannel planning and then focuses on ensuring seamless integration. These steps result in a cohesive shopping experience for end-users.
In this guest article, our partner Bluestone PIM focuses on the last phase and delves into the significance of product data integration in navigating and maximizing the potential of omnichannel retail.
How to use product data to unlock success in omnichannel?
Omnichannel revolves around customer-centricity rather than channels themselves. Maintaining a consistent tone of voice across touchpoints is crucial for shopper convenience and continuity throughout their journey with a brand.
#1 Harmonize product information
To create a seamless omnichannel experience, organizations must bridge gaps between channels and synchronize product data. Establishing a central repository of product information is essential for retail teams to ensure that customers receive consistent, detailed information about products, prices, and availability, regardless of where they engage with the brand.
At the core of any resilient multichannel or omnichannel strategy lies the crucial element of Product Information Management (PIM). PIM platforms are meticulously crafted to centralize, manage, enrich, and distribute product-related data. Furthermore, their seamless integration with various systems such as ERP, webshops, e-commerce platforms, and MDM portals positions PIM as the central hub of thriving retail enterprises.
#2 Create an immersive product experience
Customers need comprehensive information to make informed purchase decisions, especially when they shop online. Product data integration allows retailers to offer a 360-degree view of their products which comprises rich product content — media (images, video, AR files) and numerous product attributes (brand, fabric, scent, information about sustainability impact, etc.).
Do you remember a brilliant Apple claim in the iPod ad? “1,000 songs in your pocket”. You can shape product information using data-driven storytelling and narrative techniques to create this type of evocative and compelling product story that will resonate with your audience.
#3 Provide personalization and contextualization
Remarkable omnichannel experience is not only about distributing product content across all channels but also about personalizing the messages and tailoring them to the right context.
Retailers can personalize the shopping experience by offering tailored recommendations, coupons, cross-selling, and upselling. The way to do this is to effectively utilize product information and integrate data from different systems, for instance, syncing the PIM platform with the e-commerce platform or CMS.
#4 Manage real-time inventory synchronization
Nothing frustrates a customer more than finding out that a product they desire is out of stock after going through the entire shopping process. Real-time inventory synchronization is a game-changer in this regard, ensuring that the information available to staff and customers is always up-to-date, promoting trust and reliability.
Retailers can efficiently manage real-time inventory synchronization by centralizing data, enabling real-time updates, and automating workflows. Automation and alerts help maintain consistency, while scalability and integration with ERP and OMS support business growth and streamline processes.
The new trend: mixed basket
Consumers now expect a seamless transition between online and offline shopping. This leads to one of the latest key shifts in the omnichannel paradigm is the concept of the mixed basket.
An example is Universal Basket by Mercaux which can be created in one channel and accessed in another, enabling customers to switch from online to in-store or the other way around during their shopping journey.
This new face of omnichannel emphasizes the need for retailers to harmonize their systems and processes to offer a consistent and integrated shopping experience. The possibilities of the universal basket are determined by the retailer’s existing tech stack and the network of partners.
For this reason, more and more retail companies are turning towards the composable approach and modular architectures.
How can composable technology support omnichannel?
Modern tech-savvy customers expect a personalized experience and connected stores. Retailers face many challenges, and technology should be on their side. Run-of-the-mill legacy systems with siloed data hubs can be a serious obstacle in implementing omnichannel, as unifying the online and online world requires high flexibility and connectivity.
A composable approach based on architecture like MACH allows companies to design their commerce stack using best-of-breed solutions. By going in this direction, companies can move faster and gain significant business advantages.
With MACH-based, composable solutions, they can build mixed baskets, react fast to customer demand and changes in inventory, and connect product data lighting-fast. Composable PIM, built with an extensive array of APIs and headless capabilities, provides boundless flexibility to link product data seamlessly to any desired system, platform, or channel.
These functionalities can profoundly influence retailers in crafting cohesive omnichannel product experiences.
As the omnichannel trend continues to reshape the retail landscape, product data integration emerges as a critical component for success. By integrating product data on multiple levels, providing an immersive product experience, and leveraging modern technology, retailers can not only keep pace with evolving consumer expectations but also set new standards for shopping experiences.
Zuzanna Patocka is a Senior Content Writer at Bluestone PIM. She has extensive experience as a content marketer and multitasker PR specialist in diverse B2B and B2C projects.