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Omni-Channel Retailing

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

What is omni-channel retailing?

Omni-channel retailing is an evolution of multichannel retailing concentrated on the seamless approach to a customer experience through all available shopping platforms. So multichannel retailing is about having your website consistent across all different devices. You need to make sure that mobile, desktop, and tablet versions are all executed well.

For omni-channels, this takes things a bit broader and realizes that there are a number of different channels that people can choose to buy your product through. So they can buy through your website but they can also buy through more general websites.

Example: Royal & Awesome

So, for example, Royal & Awesome, we have our own branded website, and people can also buy our products through other golf retail websites. And then obviously, they can buy through major marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. And it’s really the growth of these major marketplaces, especially Amazon, that has spawned this real consideration of how we make sure that our brand is portrayed well across all of these different channels. And the key thing that’s driven that is that they’re almost diverging slightly that you’ve got one channel that is effectively the general website retail channel that is spearheaded by Google. So people come into that channel, go to Google, type in what they’re looking for, and a whole range of websites become available which they can then choose from.

The other channel is Amazon where people start their journey. So they never go to Google, they just start at Amazon, go to the main search bar and type in what they’re looking for, and again are shown a range of products. So because those two paths have split and there are certain retailers that are starting their buying journey in each one of those paths are not crossing over, it is important for lots of brands to consider how we are showing up in each of those channels, and whether that represents our brand well and maximizes our chance of sales.

There are certain brands that choose not to play in Amazon channels because they believe that it is heavily price-driven and a heavily traded category, and that doesn’t align with their brand credentials. However, there’s another school of thought that it’s just another retail channel, and if you choose to do certain things, you can display your product in a way in that channel that does align with your brand values.

If you are only selling through your own marketplace store, there is not price competition led by competing with other retailers, so that gives you the opportunity to sell a product at the recommended retail price. Amazon also offers, and so does eBay offer, branded storefronts, so this gives you the opportunity to display your product with branded imagery, without other competition products on that page. This gets very close to recreating the look and feel of your overall website. Amazon also offers a range of paid advertising opportunities just like Google do.

This can be another way of showing your product and your offering to a whole new audience of shoppers who weren’t previously buying your product or even previously aware of your product. To bring this to life, Royal & Awesome has seen significant growth over the last couple of years by focusing more on Amazon marketplace, and being one of the first people in to start using some of their paid advertising in the golf channel. So now when people are searching for things like bright golf pants, loud golf pants in the USA, we’ve got advertising running, which means our product shows up with a good picture, a good product description, at the right price point, and as a result, we sell large quantities of products. Two people might be searching for those types of terms and we can tell from those types of terms that they weren’t previously aware of Royal & Awesome as a business. We understood that there’s lots of people shopping in Amazon and we knew what type of products that they would be searching for, and that they would be tempted to buy our product. By making sure that we are present and visible and well represented in those channels, we’re increasing our sales.

Of course, it might not be right for all businesses, but it’s certainly an important distinction to understand that as the Amazon marketplace and eBay grows, it’s important to have a retail strategy for that. And it’s important to understand how that channel works in a way that complements your more traditional retail channel through standard websites.  

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Graeme Smeaton

Graeme Smeaton is the founder of Royal & Awesome. Along with a proven track record in defining and delivering marketing strategies that drive significant growth and create real shareholder value, Graeme is highly commercial. He has extensive experience managing PLs and other key financial statements, while being an operational board director of AFG Media Ltd, and has experience negotiating with suppliers, distributors and licensing partners.

By the end of this topic, you should be able to:

  • Identify the channels and formats used to generate e-commerce customer interest including e-commerce websites
  • Analyse user behaviour on an e-commerce platform
  • Critically assess opportunities for creating e-commerce conversions

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    You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

    You will not be assessed on this content in your final exam.


      Applied E-Commerce
      Graeme Smeaton
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      Marketing strategist Graeme Smeaton will introduce the key concepts of effective e-commerce and will teach you how analytics allows for refinement of the model. You will become familiar with the elements of a successful e-commerce website and the process of traffic generation. Graeme will also introduce you to various sales tactics, including channel selling. Finally, you will recognize how the e-commerce Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems can help you maximize user experiences.