What is omnichannel retail analytics?

Michael Poyser
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Omnichannel retail refers to the process of linking up the different pathways that customers can use to interact with a retailer. It’s also known as multi-channel retail. By improving your omnichannel approach, you can generate an accurate view of customer data and provide a better shopper experience.

Retailers who implement omnichannel strategies drive an 80% higher rate of incremental store visits, and 59% of those shoppers say that they researched online before they made a purchase. Today’s shoppers want multiple avenues to explore a retailer’s offerings before making a purchasing decision, and retailers who don't capitalize on this opportunity will miss out.

The types of retail channels

Customers will interact with a retailer in multiple ways. However, their experience might differ between channels, making it important to understand exactly how they use them. Channels can be a place where the customer can make a purchase, and also where a customer can be contacted or communicated with. Some examples of the most common retail channels include:

  • In-store
  • Online
  • Mobile app
  • Email
  • Coupon at till
  • Direct mail
  • Advertising
  • Social media

Each of these channels will generate data about customer behavior. This data can be used to improve your marketing strategies, deliver a better customer experience, and upsell or cross-sell more products.

But achieving this isn't easy without the right data systems in place. To truly harness the power of your omnichannel strategy, you also need data analytics.

Read the 4-step marketer's guide to retail data analytics. Discover how to  transform your data into targeted marketing. 

Omnichannel retail analytics

Retail analytics software lets you gather customer data and gain insights in real-time. It provides a level of detail about customer behavior and shopping habits that can't be achieved manually, especially when you're analyzing a large volume of data.

This can be across separate channels. For example, you might bring in-store customer data, from your POS systems, into your retail analytics software. Separately, your online payment systems might also collect customer data. 

The first step with omnichannel retail analytics is to consolidate these data sources. It joins the data flow together into a centralized system. This system works as a single source of truth so that you can see the multitude of ways your customers interact with your retailer. You can view a comprehensive source of in-store, online, and other related channels. 

3 benefits of omnichannel retail analytics

1. It extends your perimeter of data

If you only analyze data from isolated channels, you won't achieve a full-circle view of the customer. This means you could be missing vital pieces of information that inform your decision-making. 

For example, what is popular online vs. in-store? Or does a product have more success on a certain channel?

This is important because customers use different channels for different purchases. For example, a grocery retail customer might be more likely to increase basket size when ordering a weekly shop online, because they have the convenience of getting products delivered straight to their door.

Meanwhile, their behavior and basket size would be different when they visit in-store. Anticipating this behavior lets you cater to your customers, and omnichannel retail analytics widens your understanding of them.

2. You can use it to drive omnichannel shopping

A greater level of insight puts your retailer in a position to improve marketing. Now you have a more complete picture of customer behavior and product performance across different channels, you can optimize your marketing initiatives. 

If a customer is purchasing products from a certain category, you could implement marketing that encourages a certain behavior across channels. Some retailers offer a greater discount when a customer makes a purchase via their mobile app, for example. 

Using omnichannel retail analytics gives you a competitive edge. You can see whether your marketing is driving sales, adjust your strategy, and monitor its success. 

3. It provides greater accuracy for targeting customers

When you target customers with offers and promotions, it's important to be as relevant as possible. Today's consumers crave personalization, so the more you personalize the customer experience, the happier they'll be.

You can use omnichannel analytics to improve targeting across multiple channels. For example, if a customer purchases a certain product online, you could provide a prompt for alternative products. 

Similarly, when they visit your in-store location, they could then receive a coupon at till promotional offer, which makes them more likely to increase their spending. This is because the offer is relevant and consistent with their experience across your other channels. 

Omnichannel retail provides a comprehensive view of data

Without omnichannel retail analytics, you'll only be monitoring a snapshot of your customer's behavior. And even if you rely on descriptive or predictive analytics to anticipate their next moves, it won't be made up of comprehensive, accurate, and relevant data from multiple channels.

Omnichannel retail analytics consolidates all of your essential data into one place and permanently improves the quality of your data, so you're well-equipped to understand how customers interact with your products and more, no matter what channel they visit.

The 4-step marketer's guide to retail data analytics


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