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Enter the ‘omnichannel’ consumer

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Multichannel shoppers are yesterday’s news. A new kind of consumer has now been identified in an IDC report: the omichannel customer.

And the omnichannel customer is a still more attractive proposition than the multichannel consumer – because they tend to spend yet more money with a single brand.

Ivano Ortis, research director at consultancy IDC Retail Insights, said: “Multichannel shoppers spend, on average, 15% to 30% more with a retailer than someone who uses only one channel. IDC Retail Insights estimates that omnichannel shoppers will spend over 20% more than multichannel consumers, will exhibit strong loyalty, and will influence others to patronize the retailer.”

But in order to get the most from this group of shoppers, IDC says retailers must provide a ‘unified, converged channel approach by supporting full technology and process integration between all of the selling channels.” In practice that means “a single logical view of the shopper, the order and the inventory, regardless of the channel.”

IDC, which wrote the Unified Retailing – Breaking Multichannel Barriers report for software vendor hybris, says the traditional focus on same-store sales, or on the acquisition of customers through ecommerce is now shifting to ‘same shopper’ sales, tracking the movement of individuals through different stores and channels.

Ortis said: “Unified retailing requires the adoption of real-time multichannel management systems with embedded analytics that can integrate disparate customer selling front-end systems with back-end platforms (supply chain, merchandise management). Mobile will (also) be a key enabler of unified retail consumer experiences.”

Ariel Lüdi, chief executive of hybris, said: “This research from IDC clearly shows how multichannel is quickly evolving in the face of increasingly sophisticated consumer buying behaviour to a more agile and dynamic environment where retailers need to provide a complete package of pricing, product information and buying experience that will draw in new customers and maintain existing customer loyalty.” Without product content management and multichannel systems he says, retailers will “struggle to provide this environment, critical to sales success in 2011.”

To download a copy of the IDC report, Unified Retailing – Breaking Multichannel Barriers, go to:

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