In recent years, it has become necessary for retailers to manage and integrate a variety of channels in order to reach more customers and provide them with a seamless shopping experiences adding new opportunities and challenges to this evolving scenario. This study investigates how and why e-tailers adopt an omnichannel strategy, which roles and functions they assign to different channels and which effects derive from the adoption of an omnichannel strategy. This work seeks to contribute to the body of knowledge on omnichannel businesses thanks to an exploratory analysis based on 29 in-depth interviews with CEOs and managers of e-tailers firms. Results show that all interviewees adopt an omnichannel strategy, integrating and coordinating channels and customers’ touchpoints. It has emerged that financial and customer relationship performances are the main drivers that guide the adoption of an omnichannel strategy. Findings also reveal that e-commerce, social networks and mobile are strategic channels to engage with customers. In addition, firms synergistically integrate online and offline channels in order to achieve complementary effects and thus create additional value for customers. Two are the main challenges that arise from this scenario: marketing and organizational ones. The former involves the reconfiguration of firms marketing strategies, by harmonizing their marketing and communication mix, and their brands. The latter refers to the overcoming of the traditional silos organizational structure in favor of the omnichannel one.
Keywords: Omnichannel strategy, omnichannel drivers, online channels, customers’ touchpoints, e-tailers, omnichannel challenges