Retail shopping is conducted on phones, social platforms, tablets, interactive kiosks, and in brick-and-mortar stores. Shoppers check prices, compare products, research reviews, and consult social media before buying. 

If you’re not available everywhere, your limited presence will derail both the user experience and your bottom line.

What is an Omnichannel Retail Strategy?

An omnichannel retail strategy is an approach to sales and marketing that provides customers with a fully-integrated shopping experience by uniting user experiences from brick-and-mortar to mobile-browsing and everything in between.

Omnichannel retail focuses on every customer interaction and their overall experience of your product and brand.

Your omnichannel retail strategy should ask:

  • Can your customers browse a product in-store, scan it with your app, and then add it to their cart to purchase later from home?
  • Can they browse your online store for new styles, explore products on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook, and redeem an in-store coupon?
  • Does your business collect data on in-store purchases so that loyal customers get notified when similar styles/products are released?

These are but a few of the most basic questions you should be addressing with your strategy.

You also should be aware of the fundamental difference between an omnichannel and a multi-channel strategy:

An omnichannel experience means that every customer interaction changes their overall experience of your product and brand.

Why Create an Omnichannel Retail Strategy?

A Harvard Business Review study of 46,000 shoppers was conducted to gauge what impact (if any) omnichannel retailing had on their experience:

  • 7{d1a1694403c5660430dc420b8f142668f13097a51a1c1fc172179b975fdf78b3} shopped online exclusively
  • 20{d1a1694403c5660430dc420b8f142668f13097a51a1c1fc172179b975fdf78b3} were store-only shoppers
  • 73{d1a1694403c5660430dc420b8f142668f13097a51a1c1fc172179b975fdf78b3} used multiple channels

While another study by Business Insider found that shoppers who engaged on multiple channels made purchases more often:

“Our findings showed that omnichannel customers loved using the retailer’s touchpoints, in all sorts of combinations and places. Not only did they use smartphone apps to compare prices or download a coupon, but they were also avid users of in-store digital tools such as an interactive catalog, a price-checker, or a tablet.”

The study concluded that customers responded to having multiple channels and points of contact through an integrated omnichannel experience.

Customers interacting with an omnichannel experience spent 4{d1a1694403c5660430dc420b8f142668f13097a51a1c1fc172179b975fdf78b3} more in-store and 10{d1a1694403c5660430dc420b8f142668f13097a51a1c1fc172179b975fdf78b3} more online. A study has shown that:

  • Companies with omnichannel retail strategies retain an average of 89{d1a1694403c5660430dc420b8f142668f13097a51a1c1fc172179b975fdf78b3} of their customers from channel to channel.
  • Meanwhile, businesses with weak omnichannel integration retain 33{d1a1694403c5660430dc420b8f142668f13097a51a1c1fc172179b975fdf78b3}.
  • Creating a more seamless transition between channels improves customer retention.

How to Develop an Omnichannel Retail Strategy

Know Where Your Customers Are

The first step in creating a flawless omnichannel retail strategy lies in figuring out which platforms, mediums, and devices your customers use on a daily basis. That includes how they like to shop, sites they visit, and what experiences motivate their daily lives.

If you know that none of your customers uses Twitter, there’s no point in wasting your budget on it.

A quick way to figure out popular channels for your business is by looking at the Acquisition reports inside Google Analytics. There you can see which specific places are driving people to your site. Meaning you can see how customers are discovering your business.

Make Every Touchpoint Shoppable

One major key to designing an omnichannel retail strategy is making every touchpoint shoppable. Every time your customer has an experience with your retail brand, they have the opportunity to make a purchase.

If someone adds a product to their cart from your website, it needs to be in their mobile app too. If they land on Facebook, they need suggested products based on that previous product viewing.

Bridge the Gap Between Online and Offline

If your retail strategy involves any sales that aren’t offline, connecting the two is critical. Just being present in both channels isn’t enough. Not in today’s world where consumers don’t make a purchase instantly at your store.

Consumers want to connect with your brand on and offline. They want to know what’s in stock before they come to visit. They want to add that item to their cart on the way to the store and have it sitting at the register for pickup.


The majority of shoppers hit multiple touchpoints before making a purchase.

Limiting yourself to one or two platforms and ignoring seamless integration can be detrimental to your long-term growth.

These tips should serve as a jumping-off point for your omnichannel retail strategy.

To ensure that you are achieving maximum benefit from your platforms, you need to provide people with the ability to access your sales in an evolving retail environment.