Omnichannel experience has become the most successful way to develop business sales. It is a strategy that allows the optimization of all channels to their full potential, allowing customers to personalize the way they shop.
Businesses that empower their buyers with an omnichannel experience that is quick and enjoyable tend to get ahead in terms of customer satisfaction real quick. A Forrester report says, in order to maximize your profit, you need to win not just your customer’s hearts, but also their minds and wallets.
What is an omnichannel experience?
Necessarily, omnichannel experience refers to a sales approach that offers customers integrated shopping experience by seamlessly connecting different devices and channels. This means that your customer must be able to migrate from shopping on a desktop or mobile device to an offline store, and the experience must be effortless.
Since customers toggle between different devices before making a purchase, an omnichannel experience will encourage a great deal of familiarity and bonding with your brand, positively impacting your customer retention rate. One must always keep in mind that omnichannel and multi-channel are two different approaches. An omnichannel experience is always multi-channel, whereas a multi-channel experience is not always omnichannel.
How to create a seamless omnichannel experience?
1. Focus on customer experience
According to eMarketer, 45% of customers prefer the integration of desktop, mobile, and brick and mortar store shopping. As a company, you need to understand that even when your customers have many interaction channels, they also have expectations. They want to be recognized by the brand or company when they address you as a single entity.
Customers want to be able to use different channels to collect information on the product, price, and other specifications regardless of the device they are using at the moment. It isn’t necessarily a journey that they have to be aware of, as long as they are able to shop in whichever medium they choose. Hence, you need to focus on your customer’s experience to be able to craft an omnichannel experience efficiently.
2. Customer engagement across channels
According to Business2Community, 51% of Facebook users and 64% of Twitter users reported a high likeliness to buy products from brands that they follow online. Upgrade your Search Engine Optimization to reach out to a wider audience. Ensure that you engage with your customers across different channels. Each channel must be integrated with the other providing your customer a smooth experience. It should be able to keep him/her hooked to your service.
Companies must keep in mind to not address every customer with the same message at all touchpoints that they come in contact with, such as email, smartphone apps, offline stores, etc. This necessarily means that before you can have a seamless omnichannel experience, you must develop optimum cross-channel capabilities to engage your customers better and retain them longer.
3. Gather user data
Big data is used by companies to access better customer insights to come up with simpler and efficient products. Big data analyses and predicts customers through data accessed from social media sites, GPS-enabled devices, and other means. You must sort and organize ‘big data’ to standardize all the collected information.
Proper gathering and sorting of user data help you target the right customer at the right time for business development.
4. Create a seamless experience on mobile
According to eMarketer, more and more customers prefer shopping online rather than going out to a brick and mortar store. Companies need to optimize the user experience on mobile. Your mobile apps must function smoothly and effortlessly, since more than half of your target audience owns a smartphone, according to Pew Research Center.
Technology integration means the unification of multiple backends, servers, and user interfaces between different devices such as mobiles and desktop for a seamless transitioning experience. This has proved to be a major challenge over the years for many companies, and according to a study by Forrester, it remains a barrier even to this day.
Technology integration is a reflection of how Information Technology is being used in the business. If your devices cannot communicate the data between them, you lose time, money, and customers. Once your business has overcome the challenges coming with technology integration, your productivity is heightened, and you will be a step ahead of your competitors.
The omnichannel challenges
- Many manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors follow outdated systems and organizational structures that are, more often than not, unable to incorporate an omnichannel strategy.
- Technology integration is a growing challenge in the omnichannel experience.
- A seamless omnichannel experience is expensive and requires effort.
Three ways to improve omnichannel experience
1. Personalize solutions for your customer
Gather information regarding the previous purchases made by your customer. This will help you understand their buying patterns and roll out personalized discounts, offers, and coupons. Such strategies compel customers to come back and buy from your business, making it a pleasurable experience for them as well.
2. Transparency in inventory
No customer wants to find out at the last stage of their purchase that the product they opted for is out of stock or is unavailable at the moment. Ensure that you offer customers transparency in terms of available products and let them know beforehand when they click on a product that if it is available or not.
3. Seamless delivery process
Regardless of the point of purchase, or location from where the order originated, you must be ready to deliver your products and services to the customer. As a business that aims at providing a seamless omnichannel experience, you must be able to anticipate what your customers desire and be up for delivering the required services by coordinating with the backend.
Examples of omnichannel brands
1. Neiman Marcus
Neiman Marcus aims at recognizing how customers interact with the brand through different channels. And to do this, the digital channels record data every time a customer interacts. For example, when a customer searches for a shoe in a particular size range, the website remembers. The next time the customer searches for these items, the site will offers suggestions for the same available in the nearest physical locations.
Disney has a standard omnichannel presence. It works well on desktop, while the mobile site is just as efficiently optimized, including the trip-planning website. When customers book a trip, they can make use of the My Disney Experience tool that will help them plan the entire trip. In the park, customers can use their mobile app to get to the attractions they want to see. Not just that, the app also shows them the estimated wait time for each of the attractions.
Overall, the entire process is hassle-free and pleasurable to the customer. No wonder Disney is one of the market leaders when it comes to the omnichannel experience.
Sephora connects its customer’s online purchases to their store visits. Customers are offered access to their “Beauty Bag” while they are in-store. The Beauty Bag allows them to access item details and try on products with the help of digital software. This also reduces the hygiene risks that come with testers in the stores. Customers can add products to their wish list and make purchases using the app.
Sephora’s Beauty Bag helps customers keep track of what they intend to buy and make smooth purchases.
Starbucks, the coffee giant, is one of the leaders in omnichannel retailing. The Starbucks Rewards app gives customers a coupon when they make a purchase. Customers can view and update their balance on their card. Any changes made get uploaded in real-time across all channels.
5. Crate and Barrel
Crate and Barrel have a partnership with CloudTags. Together they have created a program that uses tablets in the store, which customers can use as digital tote bags. Customers can scan barcodes on each product and look up the product details, reviews, and the colors it comes in. They can also create wish lists that create cookies and display banner ads when a customer has not purchased any product that is on their list.
Technology keeps improving by the day and gets integrated into daily lives quicker than it seems. Companies must understand that omnichannel presence is the future of business. They must aim at improving touchpoints and user experience across all devices and channels to be the best players in the market by coordinating with back ends and user interfaces.
An omnichannel presence gives the companies an edge over others and opens pathways leading to dynamic business development opportunities and profit maximization.
- Omnichannel experience is the future of B2B.
- It integrates various devices and channels to offer a seamless experience.
- Technology integration is a barrier that needs to be overcome for a greater omnichannel experience.
- Companies must gather user data to target the right audience.
- Improve touchpoints for a better omnichannel experience.