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7 Ways to Create Retail Synergy Between Online & Offline Operations

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It’s almost a foregone conclusion that today’s brick-and-mortar retailers also have an online presence. As retail continues to evolve, many businesses are wondering how they can create synergy across all of their channels. And they’re wise to give this some serious thought because customers mostly don’t differentiate between channels. Whether they’re shopping in-person, online, or interacting with a company’s social media channels, they expect a cohesive experience.

This article explores the seven main strategies of companies that are getting it right when it comes to creating synergy between channels.

7 Strategies for Creating Cross-Channel Synergy

Most customers in 2024 regularly use at least three channels to engage with a single company, and they expect a consistent experience across all of them. Here are seven strategies you can use to help ensure that your customers are getting what they expect from your physical and digital channels.

1. Create cohesive branding

Regardless of which channels customers use to interact with your business, they should be met with a cohesive brand experience. Your visual identity is the most obvious example, but don’t overlook other important synergy-creating opportunities like your company’s brand values and tone of voice. Creating a red thread through all of your channels helps to ensure a uniform experience, which goes a long way in projecting a high-quality image that can boost your company’s presence – and build trust through familiarity.

2. Offer “click & collect”

Offering a “click & collect” service is a win all around! It’s convenient for your customers while driving foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar locations, creating the possibility of impulse purchases.

A real-time inventory management system that syncs in-store inventory to the website is key to succeeding with this strategy. Accepting an order, only to later notify the customer that the item isn’t in stock could backfire and do serious damage to customer satisfaction and your company’s reputation. But it’s also a prime opportunity to create synergy between your online and offline channels as customers who shop in person often pre-shop online to identify the items they might want to buy. Getting this strategy right could be a coup!

3. Lean into technology

Today’s customers expect personalized experiences, and current technology makes it easy and inexpensive to provide exactly that. Use data analytics to tailor online recommendations and special offers – and use that same data to create targeted in-store offers to drive foot traffic. It hardly gets more synergistic than driving sales between channels! QR codes and in-store ordering kiosks are also effective tools for joining your customers’ online and offline experiences into one cohesive event.

4. Use social media to drive traffic between channels

Social media is an effective low-cost tool that can help create synergy between your company’s online and offline presence by driving traffic back and forth. Use social media to announce and promote special “in-store only” offers and events. Then encourage your customers to share their in-store experiences and purchases using relevant hashtags. You could also offer exclusive “online only” deals via your physical locations to drive traffic the other way.

5. Provide omnichannel support

If you’re creating the right synergy between your online and offline channels, your customers should see them as extensions of each other, which they can interact with interchangeably. At a minimum, they’ll expect to be able to order something online and return it to a brick-and-mortar location. However, customers increasingly expect to be able to interact with companies on whichever channel is most convenient to them at the time.

Regardless of which channel they use to initiate a purchase or service request, customers expect seamless service from any combination of phone, email, live chat, social media, or face-to-face. As a result, omnichannel support is now the gold standard because it tracks all customer interactions in one place, regardless of channel. Don’t panic – you can buy software to sync data between multiple systems into a consolidated real-time overview of each customer’s interactions with the company.

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6. Create a cross-channel loyalty program

Repeat customers often buy more than first-time customers. A good loyalty program taps into this knowledge, incentivizing existing customers to continue their current buying habits while enticing new customers to create new buying habits. This is a great opportunity to build synergy between online and offline sales while encouraging customers to engage through various touchpoints – whether they buy in-app, in-store, or through a website, make sure your customers can earn and track their rewards all in one place.

7. Monitor and adapt

Many companies fail to evolve, providing outdated experiences that are out of sync with their customers’ current needs. Expectations around digital experiences, in particular, are rapidly evolving. Companies failing to take this into account could find themselves left in the dust while their competitors are getting it right. Pay attention to trends, ask your customers what they think of their experiences with your company, and keep an eye on what they’re saying on social media and online review sites. Keeping tabs on expectations and adapting accordingly can help to create and maintain synergy across all of your channels.

Use Reports & Dashboards

The right data makes it easier to create and maintain synergy between channels. Plecto’s automatic reports and real-time retail dashboards make it easy to track and respond to the right data.

To make data visualization as easy as possible, Plecto offers one-click integrations with more than 120 of the most widely used systems and tools – including popular retail systems like Shopify and TrustPilot.


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