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What is Omnichannel Retailing?

Customer experience depends on many factors: doing research about a product on social media, shopping in-store, visiting the company’s website, choosing a delivery method, and even navigating the return process. All of these together form the basis of a customer’s judgment about a retailer’s brand and products.

The interactions between customer and retailer are made up of all these different touchpoints. Customers often choose companies they shop at based on their overall experience through all points of the customer engagement journey – not simply individual interactions with individual departments.1

As customers move through these different touchpoints to the process of delivery (and, if necessary, returns), they expect to see and experience a seamless, on-brand customer journey from start to finish.2 Enter omnichannel retailing.

What is Omni Channel Retailing?

The integration of all a retailer’s existing channels (e.g., physical store, website, social media) is known as omni channel retailing. Omnichannel retail gives customers a convenient and seamless shopping experience, regardless of whether they’re shopping in a physical store or online. And as the number of digital channels has increased, so has the need to create a more seamless shopping experience for omnichannel shoppers and other potential customers.

Omnichannel retailing helps increase brand loyalty/customer loyalty, and customer satisfaction while improving inventory visibility and providing the data analytics that enable omnichannel retailers to better understand how to improve in store experience and the online shopping experience for their omnichannel customers.3

What Makes the Omnichannel Approach Different from Other Retailing Strategies?

In the early aughts, single-channel retailing was the norm. Customers either went to the brick-and-mortar store or to the website if the seller was an online-only retailer.

As the digital revolution advanced, brick-and-mortar retailers began to adopt multichannel retailing, offering online points of sale in addition to the physical store to respond to changing customer demand. The multiple channel strategy not only provided customers with 24-hour access, building brand loyalty, it also provided multiple channel retailers with valuable analytics and customer data to better understand customer behaviour.

But retailers typically relied on one channel more than the other, with different channels sometimes competing for the same business. Most retailers using a multichannel approach tended to adopt as many channels as possible but manage them separately.4

Now, many retailers have shifted from multi-channel retailing to omnichannel retailing. Omnichannel retailing optimizes and integrates these multiple marketing, sales and delivery channels, coordinating offerings across several streams and integrating them to deliver customers a streamlined shopping experience.5 For omnichannel shoppers and consumers that means a seamless experience moving between various online and offline channels; for an omnichannel retailer, that means a single platform that offers coordinated digital and physical options, allowing channels to complement one another rather than compete.6

The Importance of Omnichannel for Retailers

Statistics show that delivering a great customer experience (rather than simply talking about it!) significantly increases customer loyalty.6 An omnichannel retail strategy not only improves the customer journey it also offers significant benefits for retailers. By improving and better integrating the physical and online shopping experience, retailers see significant benefits through:

  • Improved customer experience (CX) that results in more items being placed in the shopping cart. Statistics indicate that shoppers make a larger number of purchases and are willing to pay nearly 20% more for an omnichannel experience.7 An improved omnichannel customer experience also increases customer satisfaction and loyalty, with 75% of customers more likely to be loyal to a brand that delivers a personalized omnichannel customer experience.8
  • Increased operational efficiency that improves visibility for retailers. With an omnichannel strategy retailers have better access to stock levels by channel and location and can more easily monitor shrinkage.9 This also has a positive impact on overhead since an omnichannel strategy makes it easier for retailers to contend with increased last mile logistics costs by providing more distribution strategy options for order fulfillment (home package delivery, store pick-up, etc.).
  • Defined competitive advantage through customer-friendly options. By making buying and returning goods easier for customers, retailers are able to set themselves apart from the competition and generate a competitive advantage that helps drive conversions.

Implementing Omnichannel Best Practices as Part of Your Retail Strategy

The benefits of omnichannel retailing extend beyond the point of sale. A good omnichannel strategy should encompass the entire customer journey, including the pre-and post-purchase experience. The typical omnichannel customer is not only shopping and researching in-store, online and on social media but also conducting further research after their purchase as part of an ongoing buying cycle.10

Personalised Recommendations

Personalized recommendations are a critical part of an omnichannel approach. It is important to tailor messages to buyers by name and product (based on viewed or purchased items) to increase the chances of starting a dialogue and creating a “brand loyalty loop”. Statistics show that tailored communication results in up to 72% of customers interacting with personalised marketing efforts, which translates to 90% higher revenues per recipient. This includes increased consumer insights through customers entering chat boxes and contributing to product reviews.11

In addition to the order confirmation, tailored communication can take the form of post-purchase emails that include tips and tricks on how to use the product, bounce-back discount coupons for a repeat purchase, and a curated list of other recommended items.12

In-Store Technology

Innovative in-store technology offers several exciting and thoughtful ways of improving and personalizing the omnichannel experience. Mobile apps or in-store self-service kiosks let omnichannel customers locate items in the store, or if the item is out of stock, indicate availability at a store nearby.

A point of sale (POS) terminal that accepts proof of purchase coupon from any channel using the customer‘s membership details or credit card can help streamline the returns process. Providing self-service pick-up and return options that are consistent with the overall brand experience, such as BOPIL by Parcel Pending can further streamline and enhance the omnichannel customer‘s shopping journey.

Smart Lockers for a Streamlined Omnichannel Experience

Buy Online, Pick-Up in Locker (BOPIL) by Parcel Pending provides a number of key benefits for retailers. Namely, it offers easy and secure order management since orders are stored safely and securely for pick-up at the customers’ convenience.

Using a smart electronic locker or retail lockers also increases staff efficiency: the system logs orders automatically, and then customers can retrieve their purchases with limited staff involvement. Customers can even use a smart parcel locker to facilitate their own returns! All phases of the order fulfilment and return processes are simplified and streamlined.13

The ease of use and efficiency of order pickups and returns using smart locker technology and click & collect can help retailers increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, and drive repeat purchases. It also integrates seamlessly into an omnichannel retailing strategy.

While many retailers opt to have a private locker network (lockers for pick-up and return of their merchandise only), this option may not be budget-friendly for every omnichannel retailer.

Parcel Pending by Quadient’s new Open Locker Ne allows omnichannel retailers to manage order pick-ups and returns in a way that both lowers operational costs and serves consumers with greater ease and less friction. Our flexible investment models can limit upfront costs and can even provide revenue-sharing opportunities – with many businesses realizing ROI within two years.*

To find out more about how our parcel lockers and other smart locker solutions can help you automate and improve your omnichannel retail strategy, contact a Parcel Pending representative today.

*Based on client data; your results may vary.



  1. Salesforce. How are Customer Touch Points Changing? www.salesforce.com. https://www.salesforce.com/resources/articles/customer-touch-points/
  2. Intel. What is Omnichannel Retail? www.intel.com. https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/retail/omnichannel.html
  3. Ibid
  4. Magento. What is Omnichannel Retail? www.magestore.com. https://www.magestore.com/omnichannel-retail-guide/what-is-omnichannel-retail/
  5. Ibid
  6. Isner, Brandon. What is Omnichannel Retail? www.cbre.com. May 16, 2022. https://www.cbre.com/insights/articles/omnichannel-what-is-omnichannel-retailing
  7. PwC. Experience is everything: Here’s how to get it right. www.pwc.com. pwc.com/us/en/advisory-services/publications/consumer-intelligence-series/pwc-consumer-intelligence-series-customer-experience.pdf
  8. Bretous, Martina. Consumer Behavior Statistics You Should Know in 2022 [New Data]. www.blog.hubspot.com. March 28, 2022. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/buyer-behavior-statistics.
  9. Intel. What is Omnichannel Retail? www.intel.com. https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/retail/omnichannel.html
  10. Hyken, Shep. The 2021 ACA Study: Achieving Customer Amazement. www.hyken.com. https://hyken.com/wp-content/uploads/ACA-2021-V2.pdf
  11. Parcel Pending. How to Improve the Post-Purchase Experience for Your Retail Customers. www.parcelpending.com. https://www.parcelpending.com/blog/how-to-improve-the-post-purchase-experience-for-your-retail-customers/
  12. Wright, Gabrielle. Personalized marketing in a competitive environment for brands and e-commerce retailers. www.smartinsights.com. November 18, 2020. https://www.smartinsights.com/ecommerce/web-personalisation/consumers-personalized-marketing-engagement/.
  13. Parcel Pending. How to Improve the Post-Purchase Experience for Your Retail Customers. www.parcelpending.com. https://www.parcelpending.com/blog/how-to-improve-the-post-purchase-experience-for-your-retail-customers/
  14. Parcel Pending. A Solution for Secure, On-Demand Order Pick-Ups and Returns. www.parcelpending.com. https://www.parcelpending.com/markets/distributor-parcel-lockers/