The BIG, commerce Podcast

Webinar: Expert talk - Multichannel vs Omnichannel, Conquer your e-commerce Strategy, with BigCommerce and Skyvia

September 05, 2023 Calashock Commerce
The BIG, commerce Podcast
Webinar: Expert talk - Multichannel vs Omnichannel, Conquer your e-commerce Strategy, with BigCommerce and Skyvia
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Unravel the complex world of multi-channel and omnichannel strategies in e-commerce as we venture on a thrilling exploration with industry experts Halie Adams from BigCommerce, Dmitry Alasania from Skyvia, and Luigi Moccia from Calashock. Discover the fundamental differences between these two strategic approaches. Our experts illuminate how multi-channel strategies hinge on customer engagement across diverse channels, while omnichannel strategies offer a unified, cohesive experience allowing customers to interact with a brand on their terms.

Get ready to debunk common misconceptions around multi-channel strategies and arm yourself with tips on how best to educate stakeholders. Luigi, leveraging his extensive experience, shares essential insights on resource allocation, time quantification, and the critical role of testing different channels. We delve into the importance of integrating data from various systems to optimize customer engagement and build your brand while overcoming potential roadblocks. 

Fasten your seatbelts as we navigate the dynamic terrain of e-commerce and omnichannel experience. From exploring the rising trends of buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and click and collect, to discussing the impact of customer feedback and the importance of personalizing the customer experience, it's a ride you don't want to miss! The episode concludes with an exploration of Jacob's Law of UX and its implications for your e-commerce strategies. We assure you this episode is a treasure trove of insights that will empower you to stay ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving world of e-commerce.

Speaker 1:

Hi, welcome to the BigCommerce Podcast. Hello, welcome to brand new episode of the BigCommerce Podcast. I'm Luigi, your host, and today we're doing a rerun of a recent webinar that I was on called Expert Talk Multi-Channel vs Omni-Channel. Conquer your e-commerce channel strategy with BigCommerce and SkyVir. Enjoy the audio.

Speaker 2:

As you can see, I have a slide up. We are doing a multi-versus Omni Expert Talk about conquering your e-commerce channel strategy. We have Hayley Adams from BigCommerce. She's the senior agency enablement manager. We have Dmitri Alasanya, head of product growth at SkyVir. We have Luigi Mocha, the founder and chief executive officer at CalShock. Awesome, I'll let you guys in that order, just do a quick intro while people come in. I'll go from there. I'll get things started, okay.

Speaker 3:

I think I'm first here. My name is Hayley. I work at BigCommerce. I am based in London, but I've been working at BigCommerce for over seven years in various roles across sales and marketing. Now I get the pleasure of working with our amazing agency partners on all of our things around BigCommerce and positioning, selling and all what's coming latest in e-commerce.

Speaker 2:

Awesome Thanks, hayley, okay.

Speaker 4:

I think I'm next. Hi there, my name is Dmitri. I'm head of product growth at SkyVir. Skyvir is a universal cloud data integration platform that creates seamless data integration pipelines connecting business apps and databases that don't have native connections. Today, together with CalShock and BigCommerce teams, we are going to discuss all ins and outs of multi-nominational approaches in modern e-commerce business. My goal here is to tell as much as I can about the data integration processes that come together with planning a multi-war omnichannel strategy.

Speaker 1:

Thanks, Dmitri.

Speaker 3:

Awesome.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, my name is Luigi, founder of CalShock. I'm really here from. I've seen a lot of merchants, so I hear the stories, I hear the challenges, the questions that they often have when it comes to omnium multi-sauce. Hopefully, from my experience, I can help some merchants case some clarity as well. Awesome.

Speaker 2:

Thanks, luigi, as Dmitri, I think, jumped into the most detail there, we're going to be jumping in and talking about the multi-versus omnichannel strategy for e-commerce. What is each, what are the differences, which one's right for you and when? Some of the data integration and e-commerce platforms, specific details that come along with that, as well as potentially how an agency can help and more insights as well on that whole journey. I'll jump in first. We'll jump into the definition and comparison. This one's a question for CalShock. But, luigi, can you tell us what is the difference between multi-channel and omnichannel?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, sure, fundamentally there is a lot of overlap, I guess, or gray air around it, but the way to look at it is around, I guess one is a bit more tangible and the other one's less tangible. If we're looking around multi-channel, it is pretty much working on the engagement with the customer, with the prospect, whoever it is. It is around building that community, building that brand, being able to market to that customer, maybe on different channels, whether it's on social, whether it's on email, marketing engagement or SMS, and really tailoring that part of the equation to the customer. The Omni is being omnipresent. We're seeing it a lot at the moment and obviously COVID was a massive driver where overnight pretty much the whole world had to go from being a face-to-face with retailers predominantly, but even on B2B face-to-face experiences, now saying, actually, you've got to have to buy online. They really had to harness that semi-Omni-channel perspective overnight because they're saying, right, you can now order online. We've been at bricks and mortar store for the last 10, 15, 35 years. You now have to order online.

Speaker 1:

Then we went into that phase of slowly opening up, saying, right, you can order online and you can come and pick up in store. Then obviously what that meant was that actually? You can order online and you can return in store, or you can buy in store and return online. It's offering that tangible, unified experience. To say, right, I have a relationship with brand X or retailer Y or whatever the thing is. You haven't got to say but if I buy online, I have to go and return online. If I buy in store, I have to buy in store.

Speaker 1:

It's basically right. I've got a relationship with a brand and I can choose what to do on my terms, because I can buy on social media and I can buy in store. I can buy on the website, I can maybe buy through the app, I can buy through a pop-up, if they do those kind of things. Alternatively, I can return through the various channels as well. Fundamentally, it's obviously not that simplistic. My approach is to keep things as simple as possible. I think in an age where we are just thrown with so many definitions and acronyms and everything, I think simplicity at the moment is really important. Fundamentally, that's what it is. Are you engaging or are you offering an experience? Those are the two distinctions that I would make.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, agreed, that was great. Thanks for pitching in on that, Haley. A question for you. I wanted to hear a little bit more about how specifically do multi-channel online channel differ in terms of customer experiences and engagement.

Speaker 3:

Great question. For those who don't know, big commerce is an e-commerce platform. We focus fully on the e-commerce aspect and have amazing partnerships across the space too, and the Google, tiktok, meta, all, snapchat, et cetera. We work very closely with those teams as well. I've done a lot around multi-channel management and omnichannel management.

Speaker 3:

Looking further on to what Luigi said around multi-channel and omnichannel, omnichannel is that unified commerce. If we're talking about customer experience, omnichannel puts customer experience first. It's going in as a strategy, understanding every single touch point that you as a brand might have with a customer and then ensuring that your brand is consistent across each one of those touch points. Where are they at the store today? Did they then surface the appropriate ad? Whenever they're on Instagram, then when they go to Google, are they also saying that? Right, it's that whole list of you. That's the same seamless brand experience, which, in turn, is different than multi-channel, which is what we used to say all the time.

Speaker 3:

Right, when it focuses on customer experience, that's more business focus. We're omnichannel. The customer is in the center. Multi-channel is really the business. I want to open up to a new channel. I want to grow to a new channel. That is, I'm extending to Amazon, for example or I'm extending to Google, which is great to get that brand awareness right, but in that the customer really isn't at the center. It's how do I sell more on the specific channel? In terms of customer engagement, I would say that the better one is omnichannel, but if you're just trying to focus on getting started to and customers, multi-channel is another approach. That's perfect.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I love that distinction. It seems that people seem to graduate from multi to omnie, and that tends to be the case. I fully agree, and I love the distinction. Let's jump into, now that we know the definitions or what they mean. Let's jump into some of the benefits of multi and omnie which is right for you or for a specific merchant this one's for big commerce, and then I'd love you to pitch in as well, dimitri, after Haley. What are the advantages of each specific approach?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so I think originally, as Luigi said, omnie is everything. It can be very overwhelming. I know a lot when I've worked with merchants in my role here at BigCommerce. It's overwhelming to think of a different channel and every channel has a best practice strategy. Also, getting all that customer data is hard. It's hard to have that singular view of your channel, which is something that the team here can help with.

Speaker 3:

But multi-channel I would think of that as the good first step. If you're only selling on the website, which a lot of brands are, they have a single channel. The first step is going to another channel. Because if you have a multi-channel approach, we've seen a 90% increase in sales. Like if you are selling a multiple channels, your products are in more visible eyes. So it's just going to make sense. I would say open up a new channel first, test that out and see, and then after that you can see what the opportunity is to grow for omnichannel and get to that goal where you then have that unified view of your customer where I'm putting the appropriate spend to be able to grow.

Speaker 2:

Great advice. I totally agree, Dimitri. Can you put your point as well?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I would like to add on top of that that multi-channel marketing. For me it's all about being flexible and adaptable. Just like a yoga master, with multiple channels at your fingertips, you can easily switch things up and cater to different customer groups. You can speak their language, use the right channels that they love and deliver messages that truly resonate with them. It's like having a magical backup tricks and adapts to whatever your customer want. So flexibility is the name of the game here, I would say. And speaking about the omnichannel marketing, here I would say that it's all about the personalization. It's all about knowing your customers like the back of your hand. With an omnichannel strategy, you gather data from different channels websites, social media, emails, you name it and here comes the fun part you use that data to create personalized experience. You give each customer that special treatment they actually deserve. It's like having a personal shopper who knows exactly what you like and gives you recommendations that make your heart sing. So talk about feelings. Special, right, yeah?

Speaker 2:

I agree, I agree Very personalized, but you know, and that's, I think, the benefit of a lot of these channels, and as we develop more and more, you know you have more ways to connect with the customer, and that seems to be kind of at the core of it. So I'm there for that personally, haley, I wanted to ask you are you able to share some real life examples or case settings, kind of showcasing the positive impacts of each strategy?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, definitely so. I think, initially, when you're going to launch online, right, there's a lot of customers. When the first point of line, larp, is an example, it's a water bottle, a really cool water bottle. I think it's made a global presence too self-cleaning, but that's an approach that's like a digitally native brand that has these specialized water bottles and they were considering which channel can I grow on besides just my website, right? So, just starting out, launching online, they went to, you know, instagram and Twitter and Facebook. They found the right channels that would work for their business. So that's kind of the multi-channel approach is just you're starting out and you're seeing who can I target. They did an ad campaign across each of the channels Brand voice of I think it was a drink, brilliantly. So there's case study we have. If you type in Mark the commerce, you can find it through the details. But just a really great approach to have that vision initially launched and then also try to find a campaign and have that consistent voice across each.

Speaker 3:

In terms of Omni Channel, I would say we're seeing this a lot more. So there's a lot more examples in Omni Channel, because I think a lot of brands, especially in the mid-market and enterprise space, understand that this is really where the strategy is going and where they need to be. An example there is Bagley-Michka, so fashion brand, hopefully known pretty globally too. But they knew their demographic, like they really understood their customer, and they saw that their customer was on Instagram and so, when they were launching onto new channels, they did the research and they did the right campaigns and they had all this viewpoint right. So they used data so that they could track where their customers were at, targeting their appropriate campaigns at the right time to have a lot of success too. I can share to the case study as well. You could literally Google to Bagley-Michka big commerce. You can see the results. But just another great example that talks about finding the right channel and then maximizing that channel and looking to see where your customers are to then tailoring your app.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I totally agree, and it seems like for those types of endeavors, you definitely have to be very proactive about all of those efforts and really kind of look at the data and iterate on that, which is, I think, where the world in e-commerce is headed anyway, awesome. I wanted to jump into some misconceptions about Multi and Omni channel. Hey, this will be another one for you, but what are some common misconceptions about Multi and Omni and how can they hinder effective channel strategy implementation for merchants?

Speaker 3:

I think from this one. Honestly, what we see most whenever we're having a conversation with a merchant that's just considering their whole strategy for growth, first off, they say, well, I need to be on, for example, I need to be on Amazon, right, this global marketplace, I have to be there. But for some brands maybe you don't Like, maybe it's expensive to be there, right, and your profit margin is not great, so is that the right channel for you? So I think people see these big brand channels like I need to be this, I need to be Google, and Google probably, yes, obviously, but maybe Amazon. What is a more relevant marketplace for you, right?

Speaker 3:

And where are your customers at so they might think of everything and turning on everything at once, or turning on just the big ones that are just globally large, and I think that's a big misconception in the strategy is be smart research where your customers are at, have those buying interviews, like, get that real profile of the personas that are shopping for you and the personas you're looking to target and then invest in those channels, because everyone's going to have a strategy that's fit for their business and the channel strategy should always be not set it up and I've been selling now here for a year and that's how it is. But test it continuously and be free to say that didn't work, so I'm going to invest somewhere else.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, totally. And then just kind of as well, once you check off or, let's say, feel you have grips on a channel, you can start adding other ones that, of course, are of interest where your users are shopping, once you've done again the research. So it's all kind of based on data, which again I love, and we can use that to push ourselves forward even more Awesome. Now I know I haven't asked you anything in a while, so let's pop a question over to you Can you provide some insight on how to overcome some of these misconceptions and educate stakeholders?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I just wanted to add a couple of things. I made some notes on both. Alain D'Metri mentioned which was kind of knowing your customer. I think that's where it all has to start from and I said it before. But I've done workshops where Merchant has an idea of what their customer or customers look like, because you can have two or three different types of customers and you run different target persona exercises and they leave that exercise, haven't realized. They've had misconceptions for the last five years and they've had luck, I guess, in some respects. So knowing your customer is so important and it's not too difficult but it's not really easy. It's not a well-is-supply women between the ages of 22 and 28. You've got to kind of go into deeper into the emotive elements as well, both from a B2B and a B2C perspective. So I think that's probably where you need to start from and I think we're all in agreement in that. And what feeds that also is data, and you've mentioned data and D'Metri has mentioned data as well, and I think we're living in an age where we are just bombarded by data from different systems and what a merchant needs to do is unify that data and, I think, agree on where their source of truth is going to come from. So I'll give you an example.

Speaker 1:

We sometimes get requests from merchants that maybe migrate from another platform to be commerce. They still get to learn the ropes and they'll say analytics tells me I have an X amount of visitors and X amount of orders and big commerce tells me I've got Y amount of visitors and Y amount of orders. So you know there's a bug, there's something wrong. Analytics not. That's not the case. The source of truth there has to be big commerce, because big commerce took that order. So you know, it might be that they've got a cookie blocker, it might be that they actually didn't make it to the order confirmation page because they were going into a tunnel because of a train. So all these what ifs? And you have to say right, my source of truth is big commerce. And big commerce is telling me that this person has spent 5,000 pounds a year with me. Now you can then go onto another level and say but actually this person also buys from us on Amazon, potentially.

Speaker 1:

So that source of truth now becomes, potentially becomes outdated, that data from big commerce should feed into another system that says right, I'm pulling in data from Amazon, from eBay, from other marketplaces, social media, whatever. So that data piece you need somewhere. You need to approach it holistically but just also be quite diligent and say these are the metrics we're going to follow and that's not changing for the next three months until we review it. Because otherwise you can just go in and you're really excited day one to be like look, we've got like 1000 different KPIs and I guarantee you, by Friday you just want to chuck that system out the window. So there are ways to go about that. But you really need to be realistic with what data you can track and where you're going to track it from Going to Halley's point, around kind of marketplaces and testing. I think it also comes down to resources. It's great, like you said, I have to be on Amazon, I have to be on eBay, I have to be on this marketplace or whatever.

Speaker 1:

The most important thing is understanding, a that we all have the same 24 hours a day and, b, that the problem with time is that it's really difficult to quantify. So you might think Amazon is. We're bringing in an extra 100K a quarter on Amazon. Well, first of all, the fees are quite high, like you said. But B, how much is that 100K costing you in terms of time to service. Is it causing any problems within the business? Yeah, actually, if we work it out, it's not worth our while because we're earning a lot less per person maybe, or per hour, than just doing it on our website or maybe doing it in another marketplace. So all these kind of things that maybe not so clear, because if you buy a pen for 10p and you sell it for five, it's there that you've sold it below cost.

Speaker 1:

But with time it's different, because we're all you know, we're all well, I'll do, I'll work late.

Speaker 1:

No, we need to be more diligent and say actually, with those 24 hours a day, take away how much we sleep, whatever, maybe the eight hours a day don't work in the nine hours, 10 hours, what can I achieve and what's going to give me the most output?

Speaker 1:

And that's when you start testing different channels and saying do you know what? Maybe that pop-up isn't worth it because I've got to get up at five in the morning to set up, to do all these things, and maybe online is the way forward, vice versa. So I think it's really been honest with yourselves and just trying to manage your expectations and saying I would love to be on 16 different channels on TikTok, on Instagram, on Facebook but the reality is I'm better off doing one, doing it well, making mistakes, correcting the course, learning and then applying those lessons to channel number two and again, kind of iterating, because it is you know, if you see someone spinning plates, the guy doesn't get like or the girl doesn't get six, you know bowls and start spinning all at once. It's one and then another, and that's the way you need to approach it with the omnichannel as well.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I totally agree. Thanks for pitching in, luigi. I want everyone to pitch in. This is a panel discussion, so if you ever have points on other people's points, please add them. So, yeah, thank you for that. But yeah, it kind of resonates with what Haley said really being diligent, researching, having it based on data, which channels you're going out to first, not putting too much on your plate, making sure that you kind of get to grips with one and it is the right investment before you go into other ones. And I think that just kind of pretty much answered the next question I had on which strategy should merchants choose to start their channel strategy? If you have anything to add to that, absolutely, but I think it's the name of the game is basing on data and kind of getting started off really diligently in terms of knowing where to go and not putting too much on your plate.

Speaker 1:

Well, I mean, let's look at this then. If I can chime in so fundamentally, there's different types of markets. There's B2B, b2c, d2c as well. So, depending on what approach you're taking, you've got different channels as well. So if you are a B2C merchant, you will invariably say, right, our website. Maybe we have a brick and mortar store. Maybe you look at marketplaces.

Speaker 1:

Now, the reason why you've got to be careful with marketplaces and this is where the multi channel element comes in is if I decide to start selling on Amazon tomorrow, amazon's customer is buying my product, but that's not my customer, it's Amazon's customer. Because if Amazon tomorrow decide, hey, look, you know we're going to take a product and make it better, or you've not been. You know hitting your metrics, you're too slow, you've lost the amount of customers that I speak to that are over leveraged on marketplaces, saying, I see, you know my customers love me on Amazon, it's like right wrong, they're not your customer, but you need to try and bring them on to your website. Maybe you know staying within the guidelines of Amazon, but, as in, like you know, trying to build that community where the multi channel comes in. So having a social media presence, engaging with those customers, that's that element there. But the marketplace, the people that buy from marketplaces, are not your customers. So, and now the marketplaces are really taking off, you know, with the likes of Kingfisher Group as well Launch your Market. You've got to be really careful with this because do not assume that that's your customer Number one.

Speaker 1:

If you're in a B2B market, then your channels are going to be different. Yes, you will have a website, but maybe you'll have a distributor channel. So, again, maybe those customers that are buying your product through your distributor are not your customer. And so that's where, again, the multi channel comes in, where you say, right, you know my brand of pen, micron. You know I distribute through stationery shops, but actually I'm going to work on a multi channel strategy to have the end users, you know, kind of engage with me on. I mean, I don't know how you know you would do that on a social media, but you know, so that you've got that communication, that relationship with that customer and you may not want to sell to them directly, but that's the multi channel approach. So those are kind of things to add in.

Speaker 1:

Again on how to approach it is you really and it goes down to like, like we've all said, knowing your customers, like, where are those eyeballs, where are those people buying? You know there's no point in me as a, you know as a B2B. You know if I sell, you know, hypothetically, you know if I sell a product being really kind of ludicrous here but maybe kind of incontinence pants just to put it out there my target market may not want to buy those products on social media. I may be on social media, which is the multi channel, but I may not want to sell on social media, which is the omnichannel. It may be that I just want to kind of, you know, bring visibility and reduce the stigma and all this kind of stuff, but actually my omnichannel is going to be my website or potentially the marketplace.

Speaker 1:

So again, it's understanding where are those customers, you know, likely to buy from? And it goes back to Hallie's point about iterating and making sure you understand. Don't just assume that because you're on there it'll stick and if it's not working there's nothing wrong with saying we tried. You know, let's put our efforts somewhere else, because you may find that the next place you go to hits gold and you'll be eternally grateful that you didn't continue wasting your time on that previous channel. So yeah, I do want to add that in to kind of clarify.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, no I think really complex.

Speaker 3:

I think that's good we do to it. On that, it made me think it's you have like the right approach or the right strategy for who you are as well. So, for example, I was talking to a coffee brand and they sell distribute coffee beans like they have their own store. They had a distribute coffee beans to other areas right, but then they also do like a breeze to training. So it's like a combined business approach and one channel that was really successful for them, or it's really successful in each area, is like TicToc and Instagram reels, like why is this relevant? Because people that, like I love coffee, I like to play around with the V 60 and chemics and brew my own cup, so I'm looking for this content. So, if I'm going on Instagram or or a TicToc, I'm searching like best practices to use a chemax, like how can I grow a good cup of coffee If this person then, you know, is that thought leader there? They're using that channel and learning from them. They're also promoting their school. They're also promoting their products.

Speaker 3:

So, again, it's just another way of like thinking of your brand and getting that out there and being creative like where, where could my target buyers be? And also another thought in a different area is like a big building supply of merchants. You know that you might not think where you know they're probably not selling online at all. You can find, like unique areas that then took their business online and they're focusing where other customers at. Maybe they have like DIY builders during the pandemic. How are they targeting to them?

Speaker 3:

Maybe TicToc is the cool too, because someone's shifting through of how do I do this home repair, oh, and then how do I buy the product that I can then do my home repair without having to go to a store, you know. So think of those approaches in those unique channels that your buyers might be on that you might have thought I don't think this is a channel at all for me, because it might be. Or LinkedIn, right, that's another channel that's very relevant for B2B, facebook, creating Facebook groups and targeting those and our channels too. So just other approaches right for you know, if you're like oh yeah, fashion, I get it. You should be on these channels, but there's many other verticals and segments that an omnichannel approach will really help you with all your sales.

Speaker 2:

Totally agreed. Thank you both for pitching in. I know now I haven't asked Dimitri anything for a while, and this one's more on the importance of system integration and data flow, so I think perfect time. Why is data integration crucial for successful multi-ourmney channel strategies?

Speaker 4:

Sure, I would like to pitch over this. It's you know the topic that I know the best, actually. So data integration in general and ETL and ULT processes in specific play a very important role in both omnichannel and multi-channel marketing. I would like to give you a brief overview of how companies configured these processes for both approaches.

Speaker 4:

In multi-channel marketing, companies gather data from various channels, such as websites, social media, mobile apps, emails, etc. This involves using different tools and platforms, like analytics tools, crm, erp systems, api integrations and other. Then the collected data may be unstructured and require transformation for further analysis and usage, and this station involves data cleansing, transformation and emerging data from different sources. And then, of course, process data is loaded into data warehouse or centralized platform for further analysis and usage, and here the data can be consolidated and linked with other information systems, such as CRM, dmp and other marketing automation tools, for example. And in omnichannel marketing, actually similar to multi-channel marketing, companies collect data from various channels, but in this case, in case of omnichannel, the focus is on identifying customers and their cross-channel relationships, and this may involve using unique identifiers such as email addresses, phone numbers, social media accounts, etc. And, again similar to multi-channel marketing, data undergoes transformation to ensure consistency and linkage across channels, and the main goal here is to create consistent and accurate customer profiles across all these channels. And then data is loaded into a centralized platform or system that allows the company to manage all communication channels and provide a seamless and connected experience for customers.

Speaker 4:

That we mentioned at the beginning of our conversation today. This can be a marketing and automation platform, crm, european system or specialized data management system. So it's important to note that in omnichannel marketing, there is a greater emphasis on data consistency and creating unified customer experience across channels. Data integration in a non-michannel strategy can be more complex, as it requires accounting for and managing the relationships between different data sources and communication channels.

Speaker 2:

Cool Louie. Yeah, that one's much more involved. Louie, can you just discuss some of the challenges and then as well the benefits of integrating various systems and data sources?

Speaker 1:

Sure. So I think the first one is probably around. Well, I guess the first one is a misconception of cost. So it's not as expensive as you think it is. It's not cheap. But I think at the end of the day, if you look at the systems that are being built, they're an investment. So you don't go in saying, well, this is a cost, the fact that I'm getting this data is a cost. No, that money you're spending with the provider, the money you're spending with the integration between, like Dimitri said, the CRM and the ECON platform, should help you make better decisions, maybe feed out to systems. Hypothetically, if you're setting out email marketing campaigns and you know that customer behavior, maybe you can start tailoring and personalizing that experience. So probably say, is the cost, is the misconception? The second one I think has to be around just that paralysis by analysis. It's kind of like there's just too much data. So again it goes back to my point about saying, right, just choose the data and stick to it. Don't go for that shiny object syndrome, which is kind of well, actually got a new piece of data now. So like, look, that could make everything full. Just make sure you scope it out properly.

Speaker 1:

One of the things that we hear in certain territories and jurisdictions and others is around the privacy for data. So make sure that you're not being ignorant privacy laws, because at the end of the day, all this trickles down to kind of knowing your customer and having a data on them, trickles down to kind of having a piece of information that could identify that person. So make sure that you are doing things the right way. Don't just Google it. It's worth spending the thousand dollars or euros or pounds with a lawyer and just say, look again, it's an investment, because being sued is a lot more expensive. Or even if you're not being sued, just kind of having to get involved. It's just not worth the headache. So make sure that kind of you get that understood, because I'm not a lawyer and I still get confused sometimes, and there are especially in North America. There are a lot of laws now coming into place on a state level. We're all familiar with kind of the California privacy laws, but now we're looking at Virginia and other states as well that have come in. So from that perspective, just make sure that you're really on top of that. And then finally, it comes down to resources. Just be realistic with what you can and cannot achieve. It's better to do two things really well than try to do five things, and we see it a lot with merchants.

Speaker 1:

There's a lot of excitement around this new thing, but the reality is that, again, we all have the same 24 hours a day.

Speaker 1:

We're not going to work 24 hours a day and the automation element is really critical. Realistically, are you going to want to export a CSV from big commerce and export a CSV from HubSpot or whatever CRM, your system and gorgeous and everything, and put it all together or just say, right, let's connect them up and let's get the data, and if you can automate that, you reduce human error, you reduce the value. Even when that person was ill or was on holiday or whatever, the data didn't get pulled. Because if you make a commitment to being driven by the data, it will help you, but you need to make that commitment to be driven by the data. It can't just be a nice to have, you need to make sure that that commands the way that you run your business. So yeah, nowadays, with systems that connect to that, with APIs, when we scope out systems, the first thing we do is what are the APIs like? And again going back to different territories and jurisdiction. There are some countries in Southern Europe that we work with that are still talking about CSI.

Speaker 4:

Why is it so? Actually, because we really see a lot of cases when companies import data from CCIs to be commerce and vice versa. It's just because their ERP systems are old or legacy. They implemented the ERP system like a few thousands years ago and implementation of a new one, of a fresh, new one that supports APIs and all the stuff, requires a lot of investments and they are just looking for some cost-effective solutions. They are just configure data integration pipelines where they automatically export data from their old ERP systems to some file storage that we support and then they automatically detect these files and import data meaning write data to be commerce upon the technical or business need of merchants.

Speaker 1:

Just on that, dmitry, it's exactly that. I'm aware that there's a cost. It's not that it's going to cost you, you know, 5,000 pounds. We've got a merchant in Ireland that we're working with and they migrated for ERPs and this is a big investment you know six figures.

Speaker 1:

The reality is it's like, how much return are you going to get from investing in that? You've got to think, you must be sometimes held back from the fact that you've got two or three people managing the system because it's so antiquated, because you're running, you know, csvs or whatever, or XMLs. It's just sometimes you need to, you know, have a really good-looking mirror and just say you know, are we doing things like you said earlier, the way we're doing it, just because it's always been like that, or are we actually at the forefront in innovating? And any business that doesn't innovate at the end of the day disappears. We, you know, we did an internal presentation about strategy for this year and it's you know what the blockbuster and BlackBerry and Xerox and Kodak all got in common they didn't innovate. Now that's on a slightly different level, but the point being, you constantly have to innovate and if the new technology, which you know, the cost of which is fundamentally is going down, you know, allows you to harness those APIs and plug them into different systems PLS, erp, wms, it just it makes sense. So the point being kind of, you know, with technology these days and the APIs that are available and we're really happy that API, that BigCommerce is really investing in the APIs, like they were good anyway, but now they're really granular V3s and that's helping us to develop things for our merchants. But fundamentally it's helping the merchants be able to run a more automated, more efficient, more data-driven business.

Speaker 1:

Because, again, when you've got all these pillars, when you've got all these different systems, you need to start centralizing them. Whether it's through a WMS, you know inventory when you're adding products, do you? You know, do you go in and add it to a website and then go into your marketplaces and if you're selling on different countries, do you go in? No, you kind of need those efficiencies in the back and so, yes, cost comes into it. But I think integration is something that merchants need to look at really carefully and just say, right, what can we connect to? Does it not have a connection? Right, let's evaluate whether there's a better alternative, because otherwise you are just holding yourself back, and I can have little sympathy for companies that are just plainly refusing to invest and innovate, because I see that with certain clients that they just don't want others at the forefront. It's like we're aware we want to build others. We've always added this way it works for us. That's why you're not growing, because you're doing the same thing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I love that kind of quote. You know change is constant, so it's always there. We do have to adapt as things roll. So really, Haley, wanted to get your thoughts, since you've been quiet for a bit so I haven't asked you anything. Let's say that way how can merchants evolve their multi-channel approach into an omni-channel strategy?

Speaker 3:

Great question. I know we've touched quite a bit on this, but I would say just to make it simple here one is five areas. Think of five steps to go from multi to omni. The first thing we said the main difference is customer. Omni is customer centric. The first step that I would do is ensure that you have a really great view of your customers and your customer touchpoints. Have you looked back at your strategy? Do you know all of your customer touchpoints? Have you done that? Experience yourself of your brand.

Speaker 3:

Gone to your Facebook then go and browse as if you were a first user. Recommend that first. Understand each customer touchpoint. After that, come up with a strategy for each touchpoint. As Luigi said, I get rabies. I start brands like maybe if you're selling in-comments products, maybe someone isn't going to buy that on TikTok or Instagram and then share it with their friends probably not, but it might be something that maybe that's where the ad comes up, because that's when they're browsing late at night. Maybe that's a good ad to talk for it, but then the purchase maybe is then on the website, because that seems more confidential. Who?

Speaker 1:

knows.

Speaker 3:

Understand, identify the customer, the touchpoints, understand what the purpose of each touchpoint is Is it brand awareness or is it to purchase Then make sure you have the right systems in place, because if you're going on each channel right, it is all about that data being connected and having a good area of where your data is across all systems. So if you're doing an ad here, is it leading to a purchase OmniChannel? You would have that view to be able to answer that question. So even to make sure all of your systems are working and talking and that's where Luigi mentioned APIs is critical. If you don't have it open, there's no way that there can be talking between systems.

Speaker 3:

So, right systems in place. You know the customer, you know the strategy, you have the systems, execute, test it out, put it in the market and then sure you have everything set right. So if you are going to be launching this large campaign like maybe you're opening up onto a new system, you're launching this campaign make sure that you have things allocated appropriately, like inventory, in the right spot if you're doing a big paid campaign somewhere. So make sure that that's all. And then five test and learn Consistently. Take that approach, test and learn, try something new. Give yourself a break too. Like, if you go into this first step, don't think that in a month in that one channel you're going to get a great return on your ad spend. Like, give it some time, maybe a few months, to see, because anything like it's going to take a little bit of time and then you can evaluate it after like a quarter or two quarters and evaluate was that the right strategy for me?

Speaker 2:

Sorry, I was muted. Thank you, Aileen, I really appreciate that. So, in terms of kind of looking at some of the challenges faced by merchants, luigi, can you share some common hurdles and obstacles that some merchants might face in implementing these multi-uromni-channel strategies?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think, kind of piggybacking on what Halle said, it is understanding what channel is going to serve what purpose. So not just a blanket say okay, what we do on our website we're going to do on Amazon, we're going to do on other marketplace, we're going to do in-store. Because that's not the case. I like to think I know a fair amount about e-commerce, but if you ask me to go and start merchandising a retail store like a bricks and mortar store, I haven't got a clue. So it is a different approach and you have to be aware of that. But the one thing to also remember is you've got to make it a consistent kind of experience. You can't just say in-store, everything's really nice, your package, they get a nice paper bag that's taped the gift wrap and actually when we said it online, we just chuck it in an envelope and the carrier that does what they want with it and it goes down. It's everything. You have to be consistent from that perspective. And also these days it's about choice, so making sure that it's easy for customers to be able to switch between channels. So if somebody that like, again, there are customers that are loyal to Amazon, but there are also customers that do it as a bit of a necessary even and they'll go, maybe buy from that retailer or fly whether I should be saying this or not, I don't know. So from that perspective, it's making sure that the customer has got that choice to be able to find you online but to buy on social media. And if they don't like buying on social media, for one reason or another, they don't like buying online. Maybe they can go in-store. If they're like all the vice versa if they make an effort to go into town to buy off the store but actually the service isn't there or the stock isn't always there, then to be able to buy online really easily, you unified customer account. If somebody's buying in-store and they've got points, they want to spend those online, so being able to give them and it all goes down to data and integrations as well.

Speaker 1:

So it is about not kind of blanket covering everything and saying it's the same, but at the same time trying to make it as simple as possible what we come up against slightly just on quick divergence when we do usability and UX user experience exercises. Jacob Nielsen is a usability expert and he does a Jacob's Law of UX, which is, most people spend most of the time on other people's websites. So when we're designing a website or when anyone is to be designing a website, you kind of want to stick to some rules that people are used to. So we know that if we click on the logo, which is normally in the top left-hand corner, we get taken to the home page. Most people don't have a home button anymore. So all these little things.

Speaker 1:

Don't think that I'm going to make it really unique and start confusing. And it's the same when it comes to kind of an omni-channel experience. Don't make it unique, but don't make them think and don't make them kind of wonder why everything's so different. It was so much easier to buy in-store or in the app or whatever it is. Because, also, if those customers are buying on marketplaces or on channels whether it's an additional cost to you, and they're refusing to buy three-year-old channels because the experience isn't that good, again you just throw money, leave money on the table by saying, well, we don't want to invest in an improved experience, so don't make them all the same, but try to maintain some commonalities so they can switch quite easily. Bouchers points all the like. They'll have to create an online account and an offline account and so on.

Speaker 1:

But then also, like we said before, personalization is a big one, so don't just assume that the marketing should be the same for everyone. With email marketing, it's so easy nowadays to personalize the experience. With platforms like BigCommerce, it's really easy to personalize the experience with things like Customer Group. If you're creating like a VIP, if somebody is spending your top 10% of customers, maybe they go into a VIP group so they still get that kind of omni-channel experience. It's to go onto WebSense, but maybe they get access to some new products where they get some better pricing. That's where that kind of multi-channel approach because you're engaging with them, you let them know about these different programs and incentives.

Speaker 1:

So sometimes it can be a bit daunting, saying it's way too much for me. Other times it's kind of like, well, I can do it all, let's just go, because platforms make it really easy to go on TikTok, facebook, instagram marketplaces and within 10 minutes you can be selling on seven or eight different channels. The problem is when that management kicks in is where it becomes really, really difficult. So the heart of it all has to be who are you serving? Is my dad likely to be going to TikTok buying, I don't know, baking products, pasta unlikely. But if that's your target demographic fashion, coffee if that's where you're at your customers' eyeballs are then 100% do it. But just really really understand.

Speaker 1:

What I see a lot of merchants not doing is real life feedback from merchants. You can use NPS scores, net Promoter scores, so we've all had them, from zero to 10, how would you rate us an Esq? Anyone that rates your nine to 10 is a promoter. So they'll actively go out and say you've got to try this coffee. Whether you drink coffee or not, you've got to try this coffee. I think it's seven and eight, which is passive, and then one to six of detractors. I think that's the way it works. So basically, those people are saying do not buy that product from that brand. They'll actively go.

Speaker 1:

Now the problem with NPS is you'll get the ones that really don't like you and the ones that love you, but they'll give you feedback. The delivery was slow, the website was buggy, it costs too much, it arrived damaged. All this feedback that you wouldn't actually get because you assume when the package leaves your warehouse it's nice and clean and tidy and it doesn't matter how it arrives. So NPS is a really easy thing to do, but also send out when you're email marketing like a notice, to say look, we want to collect some feedback. Would you mind doing a 10-minute survey, whether it's online or whether it's face-to-face with Zoom, and incentivizing with a voucher or some cash or some product? Whatever it is that is so important? And one of the things that is not related to this, but is related more to usability.

Speaker 1:

But this is the reason why real life feedback is important. There was a system that was being developed and they did usability testing in person at people's houses, and one of the reasons this is really important was that the users could not find the login and register area, and the reason is the demographic was slightly older people who wrote their passwords on post-it notes and put them in the top right-hand corner of their screen covering the login and registering button. Now, if you told somebody on a Zoom call or if you interviewed someone on a Zoom call, you wouldn't have the data. Actually, I can see that you can't see it because I'm sitting there. So this is why you can't assume and the amount of merchants that I speak to who assume that that's the way it's always been done.

Speaker 1:

You can't assume that your customers haven't got other problems that you're not aware of. So just get in touch. People will either want to help you or they won't, and the ones that won't you can leave alone. The ones that do will gladly tell you how can I make your life easier, how can I make things better. I mean, who wouldn't want to contribute to that? So, again, it goes down to knowing your customer. But get in touch with them, and people love buying from people. People are from people. So if you can put a face at a brand and say, look, we want to make it better, I'm the founder or I'm the e-commerce manager, whatever it is, they will gladly help you Totally agree.

Speaker 3:

Does that answer your question?

Speaker 1:

I think it's a bit of a concern as a Ramudong.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, totally, I totally agree. Thanks for pitching in Great tips For market trends. I wanted to ask Kaylee a question on what current trends you're observing in multi-anomni channel.

Speaker 3:

Okay, a couple here. So I think one is just a buzz trend everywhere, right, like AI is just like the buzzword of the year. You know you have to go here always anywhere in e-commerce and just generally tech space. So that's one thing is people are adopting AI or thinking of how would I use this to help simplify processes, like help simplify writing descriptions or putting you know the titles in there. I don't think that's the best. My goal here, right, I don't know that that's the best use, like, maybe if you have tons of products, that is okay, if you're having tens of thousands of products and you don't have the time to do this. But as we go back to personalization, I would say, is that human element of understanding your customers and like truly focusing on what might be best. So that's one trend that I haven't fully bought into yet in terms of writing descriptions and, coming from marketing as well, I think it's really important to know your customers and then also craft that.

Speaker 3:

Another trend, I'll say I haven't seen it as much here, but it's the buy online, pick up and store, click and collect, and also whenever you're purchasing online and returning in store too. So I see that with a lot of like big box retailers here in the UK, where they do have a really amazing experience on when I'm buying. I think I can buy and pick up and return anywhere and it's awesome. I don't see that much for merchants outside of just those really big brand names here, right. So like a Liberty, you know, or like an M&S, you know I could, you could do that. So that's another thing, and I know it's hard to implement that approach too, because you have to have a really good connected system that tracks your local inventory. But that's another area I would focus on as well.

Speaker 3:

And then the third thing is that buying experience too. So we've talked a lot about like getting to sale and Omni channel, but also like that connected after the sale. So when the customer gets the product, like that unboxing experience, are you encouraging them to share, like on their Instagram afterwards, or encouraging them to share because I've got this amazing experience? So that's something that was trending for a while. I haven't been, I've heard it talked about in a bit, but that's also just a very precious like way that you can control your brand and connect those branded experiences with your customer, especially for retailers that maybe are smaller and you have the time to have that individual, personalized approach. So there's a couple of areas. Maybe one of the three is a fit for you, depending on how large you are or what sector you focus on.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, totally agree. And from my point of view, those will all just become bigger and bigger.

Speaker 1:

And I just added, coming again from an agency, perspective, because we deal with merchants, obviously on a database, and have done for nearly 15 years. And what Ali kind of mentioned about you know, the, the buy online, pick up a store, the BOPIS or the clicking collectors, we call it more here in the UK. There are things that we've had to kind of work with over the years with our merchants, especially during COVID. And what really is helping us as an agency and also helping our merchants is big commerce, is kind of investment within the omnichannel space. So things like the multi-location inventory and the buy online, pick up and store which big commerce offers, makes it easier for those merchants.

Speaker 1:

So when Ali says it, obviously you know it's mainly for the bigger merchants. Well, actually big commerce can offer this to the smaller ones as well and we only work with big commerce. So you know this is not necessarily me just talking about big commerce because I want to, but it's because the only platform we work with and it's helped our merchants and it's helped differentiate the platform as well where you can now start offering this omnichannel experience out of the box, you know. So your customers can say I want to pick up five of these from this store and I'm buying online, and they will get accurate inventory. They will get you know the opening time, the location, any special information they can call.

Speaker 1:

So it makes it much easier for us as an agency to implement these things now because we don't have to build them out, but also it makes it just an option for merchants to say use it or don't use it, but it's there. You haven't got to start investing in different apps and building out different infrastructures anymore. It's there, fine. It may require some customization and it goes into a data center within big commerce because it'll tell you whether it's a collect order or a delivery order and then again, through systems like Skyvi, you can plug it into your CRM and you add that to the picture to the profile of your customer, or even if you've got, like a data, you know, a customer data platform, you're just centralizing that data and building our picture.

Speaker 1:

So, again, the reason why those native elements are so important is because it can go straight down into the data. If we build out this system that allows you to do buying online, pick up, a store or a multi-location inventory, how can we make sure that that data is going into the right systems and it's constantly being managed and updated? So all this stuff that's out of the box feeds out into different systems. So I just wanted to make that clear, because it's not all the commerce platforms are made equal, but I just wanted to kind of highlight how small things like multi-location inventory or buy online, pick up and store functionality can make a big impact in how merchants run their business. So that's why I'm going to go ahead and highlight how merchants run their business.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I totally agree. Just so everyone knows. I'm just going to share my screen with some contact details from all three organizations and all four participants here, so feel free to take those down. Reach out as needed. Also, feel free to pop in any questions that you might have. The panelists would be happy to answer them. And while you're thinking of those, I wanted to ask Dimitri as well, a question if you can highlight emerging technologies or practices or shaping the industry.

Speaker 4:

Sure, in recent years, more and more companies are hiring SaaS products in order to do their business and actually I'm more than a mature company now have like a few dozens of them sometimes SaaS platforms or products and use and this triggers actually the API integration.

Speaker 4:

So I would say the API integration is still a pretty relevant trend and actually the API enables seamless communication between different software systems, and API is a low business to connect their become a store with other applications such as inventory management, crm and marketing permission tools, facilitating data synchronization and steam lighting operations and, of course, data analytics and business intelligence. Advanced analytics tools and practices play a crucial role in harnessing data from e-commerce platforms like e-commerce and by integrating with analytics platforms, businesses can gain available insights into customer behavior, their sales patterns and marketing effectiveness, allowing them to make data-driven decisions to optimize their operational and operations and drive growth. And I would also like to mention the attribution models. There is also a trend of building custom attribution models that can give answers to businesses how effectively they are marketing campaigns perform and how they should allocate their budget to use it wisely.

Speaker 2:

Amazing, amazing. Thank you, dimitri. I had a question come in as well. I think this is a good one for Haley. Basically, they're asking do you think merchants should be getting onto threads? It's possible early to know which audience is there, so it's better to get in early or wait and observe.

Speaker 3:

That's a good question, I think. Yeah, I think if you have the time, like as Luigi mentioned earlier, you only have so many hours per day, but I think it never hurts to be an early adopter. I mean, I would say eliminate if you wanna just get on it yourself, explore it and start just interacting and engaging. Yeah, that's what I would say is a safe bet to do. But yeah, at any time going into a channel. If you are going into a brand new channel, it is super early on. Know that if you are investing in it, like investing time or money in it, there's a lot more of a risk of don't expect like a predictable return. Know that it will be a risk. So I would say, look at those like minimal investments that you can do there, Just exploring and getting to know the audience. That would be my recommendation, Unless Luigi or Tmitri have something to add there.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, great advice, great advice, Awesome. Yeah, really appreciate it. Hopefully that helped. So I wanted to let everyone know there's gonna be a winner for a pair of Skullcandy headphones. They'll be chosen at random after this and we'll reach out to you through email as well as post on LinkedIn about it, so keep an eye out for that. I wanna thank all the panelists hey, tmitri Luigi for hopping on. I wanna thank all the registrants and attendees as well. We'll keep these coming. Hopefully this was a value, but I do look forward to speaking to you all more soon.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for listening to the BigCommerce podcast. If you've enjoyed today's episode, please leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform and make sure you're following us on social media, on Instagram and on LinkedIn. If you've got ideas or suggestions for future episodes, please send us an email info at thebigcommercepodcastcom or on our social media platform.

Speaker 3:

Music.

Multi-Channel vs Omni-Channel in E-Commerce
Overcoming Misconceptions and Educating Stakeholders
Integrating Data and Systems
Multi-Channel and Omni-Channel Trends
Trends in E-Commerce and Omnichannel Experience