Olympic season is here and it’s all about performance. When it comes to performance, the omnichannel retail model allows you to provide great customer experiences, when and how shoppers choose to engage with you. Omnichannel retail also does something else: It makes money.

I recently came across an Aberdeen Group study from a few years ago that found that strongest omnichannel retail players retain 89% of their customers, while their weaker counterparts retained only 33% of their customers. Not surprisingly, the strongest retail players saw an average 9.5% increase in revenue year-over-year.

Looking at those two findings together, it’s apparent that strong omnichannel retailers retain more of their customers, and those customers have a higher lifetime value. Simply put, those strong omnichannel retailers will make more money than those who don’t engage in — or aren’t good at — omnichannel.

Why It Makes Sense

The evolution giving rise to the omnichannel retail model can be traced to the increase in technology use among consumers. Once shoppers — especially North American shoppers — realized the convenience, ease of use, and personalization of online shopping, they were hooked. And it isn’t enough to only have that kind of shopping experience online. They want to be recognized, to receive personalized suggested items and offers, and to conveniently shop on every channel, including physical locations.

As more and more retailers create customer experiences tailored to these expectations, shoppers will perceive it as the norm and not settle for less.

Characteristics of an Omnichannel Winner

So if there were a Retail Olympics, what would a strong omnichannel gold medal contender look like? Based on iVend Retail research and our retail consulting experience, here are my ten winning characteristics of a gold medal omnichannel retailer:

  1. Provides consistent shopping experiences and level of service on all channels
  2. Sends personalized, relevant offers to customers
  3. Collects and uses customer data across channels to build a singular view of the customer
  4. Collects and uses business data to gauge performance, monitor trends, and refine processes
  5. Recognizes customer use of smartphones to shop and showroom and uses it to their advantage
  6. Uses mobility to arm sales associates with information (For example, iVend customers have increased sales by 10% with assisted selling using mobile point of sale.)
  7. Makes shopping convenient for customers with offers such as buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS)
  8. Manages inventory with one system across all channels to increase fulfillment rates
  9. Trains employees on the corporate omnichannel strategy and related processes
  10. Uses customer feedback through surveys, social media, and other channels to target areas in need of improvement

Based on this list, how does your business measure up? Are you in line as a competitor for the gold medal this Retail Olympic season? Maybe a better question is whether you have set these characteristics as goals for your company. Take a look at your business strategy and make sure your roadmap is taking to you toward achievement in each of these areas, which will result in the ability to meet customer expectations and in a profitable omnichannel business.

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