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Balancing on and offline brands

Lynne Rawlinson


Getting the balance right for online and offline brands can sometimes prove difficult. Consumers now have countless channels and ways of accessing brands which makes it harder for businesses to know how to reach and appeal to their target market.

Throughout this blog, key questions and answers are given to help those businesses in need of advice.

What are the benefits of omnichannel retailing for SMEs?

Over recent years, consumers have become more tech savvy and spoilt for choice in how/where they shop. Small businesses that have noticed this shift have begun to embrace omnichannel retailing and are seeking to provide the customer with a smooth and efficient shopping experience.

With so many choices now available to consumers and the way they shop its key that small businesses deliver enhanced customer service that is superior to gain a competitive edge on other businesses within that industry.

What are some of the challenges associated with omnichannel retailing for SEM?

The key challenge for most businesses in omnichannel retailing is a lack of technology and organisational culture to tie data together.

Where data is siloed in various legacy systems it is potentially cost prohibitive to integrate these. Theoretically a small business is likely to have less data, and fewer silos than a larger business, but often their software is far more simple.

The same goes for technology. There are new software systems arriving on the market everyday with far more integrated options as standard, but to adopt those, an established business has to take the strategic/cultural leap of faith to move on from their legacy systems.

What can small omnichannel retailers do to balance their online and offline brands, build brand awareness and deliver a seamless shopping experience for customers?

Establishing balance in service across all of the channels that a customer might use is a crucial strategic aim that all businesses should be actively working on at all times.

A business that has historically delivered great customer service through its shop will lose market share when its services can’t be accessed efficiently through web or mobile platforms. All retailers, regardless of how traditional they see their brand as being, should be focused on the needs of their customers. To increase sales it’s important to meet those needs.

It’s also important to remember that introducing technology driven solutions that heavily focus on achieving sales and not on the customer’s perception of the brand can lead to the opposite result.

How can small omnichannel retailers use technology to leverage their brand both on and offline?

Apps are becoming increasingly popular with retailers and their fulfilment partners to both support their omnichannel presence and reinforce their brand. To go down this channel it’s key that you have got the basics of quality/price/value and good customer service right.

Once all of those boxes are ticked an app created and then downloaded by a customer to their mobile device gives a brand that personal connection in which a consumer is constantly reminded of the brand, purchases, and new offers.

From that a retailer can use its CRM and shopping habits data to personalise the entire experience, which in turn, creates a very satisfied and loyal customer base that feels understood by the brand.

What advice do you have for small omnichannel retailers who want to ensure they benefit from both online and traditional offline / in store retailing?

Primarily focus on identifying what values omnichannel solutions can add to your customer’s experience. Once you know which channels will work for your brand and consumers replicate those brand values across your selected channels and stay consistent. Increase the customer’s exposure to your brand through those channels, and allow them to move seamlessly from channel to channel and be ‘wowed’ by the resultant experience or service.