8 Brands with Excellent Omnichannel Experiences
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Technological rise-up is lifting up the bar for the marketers, sales and customer support in expectations towards seamless user experience. A recent McKinsey study found that 42% of Americans use the internet each day, while 21% reports being online ‘almost constantly’. Above the fact that this number is growing each day, Google research shows that 90% of the Americans who are a part of the digitally advanced society, own up to 3 smart devices.
What once was a one-stop-shop now spans to a customer journey of locations, devices, platforms and sometimes even days. The line between what our customers do online and offline is beginning to blur with the rise of the omnichannel strategies. Instead of thinking of a mobile, desktop, tablet and a Samsung watch experience – everything is going back to one – seamless user experience.
Companies that can help their customers complete their customer journey, when and where they want to, stand to gain a piece of the $1.8 trillion that cross-channel sales are predicted to reach this year. This brings us to the ultimate request from our users – seamless user experience!
Omni-Channel Brands and What to Learn from Them
Timberland spotted people’s tendency to handle the experience on their own so they created something valuable for them – a digitally connected store. The idea behind it is to connect consumers’ online shopping habits with the in-store experience.
They put a tag on the products in the store which, when tapped with one of three mini tablets, brings up product specifics. This way customers get insight into products’ specifics as if they were searching for it on an online product page.
They made it even simpler by not requiring any commitment from the visitor — no need to download the app or leave an email to be able to use it.
Not only this strategy is very inspiring, but also it tends to be adjustable for any other business.
What can you learn from Timberland?
When offering a more personalized experience, you can better attribute your purchases. The principle is simple yet enough to keep customers’ attention. Thus it could result in getting more people to download the app than in some other retail apps.
Likewise, when people use their own devices, they are able to tie in their own social feeds and personal shopping history. By getting insight into their preferences, you can send people content related to items they’re browsing and remember what products shoppers browsed online before visiting in store.
It’s very obvious that digital and physical worlds have become more integrated than ever. Disney is a pioneer brand in this space and worth taking note. They wanted to stand out from the crowd by crafting a truly seamless experience for their customers both online and in the real world. That’s when they created My Disney Experience — the ultimate planning tool for your Walt Disney World vacation.
My Disney Experience is a combined website and mobile application that helps you manage your vacation from start to finish. It combines all of your planning into one convenient location that’s accessible from multiple electronic devices. The tool’s mobile app is integrated with GPS, so it can give you current wait times at attractions and information on character meet-and-greets in the park.
What can you learn from Disney?
Disney’s app is a great example when it comes to omnichannel practices worth following. The main significance is its proximity-based targeting which provides customers with seamless experiences no matter where they go or which device they use.
For instance, with an understanding of how consumers move around their physical environments, you can serve digital ads that make sense based on your consumer’s exact location. If we imagine you’re a restaurant owner, this makes it possible to suggest consumers stop by when they are in your neighborhood.
After all, Disney could apparently harness some of the World’s magic to deliver effective omnichannel experiences and inspire other brands.
Crate and Barrel
To keep pace with consumer changes and deliver continuous experiences, Crate and Barrel, the specialty retailer, introduced in-store tablets to create a simpler, more continuous experience and drive sales. They extended the modern shopping experience beyond the aisle four by allowing the customers to browse, discover, compare and buy across a variety of touchpoints.
It turned out to be a win-win-win situation. It benefits the customers by allowing them to have a continuous experience between the digital and physical realms; it benefits the store associates by allowing them to take credit for assisting customers; and it benefits Crate and Barrel by providing insights into how customers are behaving in-store—a “big black hole” for many retailers.
What can you learn from Crate and Barrel?
Even if you can find similarities between your business and Crate and Barrel’s, the fact is you can’t copy paste it. There is no formula to succeed. However, what will probably work is to do a lot of tests to understand what your customers value. So the point is to do whatever makes shopping with your brand easier. Customers value anything that will make the in-store shopping experience more seamless.
Another great example of omnichannel practice is Topshop’s London Fashion Week Campaign. Motivated by the perplexity that building hype during the fashion week season brings, Topshop launched Twitter-supported billboards.
Each billboard displayed a small selection of current stock available in-store that complement the new trends being seen. The content was updated in real-time featuring new fashion trends as they emerge at the event. Passers-by had an option to tweet one of the trending words to Topshop’s Twitter account and receive a link which was leading them to make a purchase.
What can you learn from Topshop?
There are many possibilities to boost your sales using omnichannel practices, even if your business is brick and mortar. Topshop, apparently, found the way to bring it to the high street in an instant. The billboards were central to a broader eco-system designed to democratize high-end fashion and made it accessible to the everyday consumers when and where they wanted it.
Oasis is a fashion high street brand that fully embraces both — omnichannel strategy and consistency in their delivery.
Oasis is being very active on image-lead accounts on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. They inspire through Instagram and are selling the whole style rather than a single product. By using specific product item codes, they entice the visitor to explore more about each product and perhaps look into purchasing a full outfit rather than just one product.
Their in-store and online registration is integrated at its finest. If they don’t have the product in stock, they order it directly to the customers’ house rather than leaving the customer unsatisfied.
They also strengthen their in-store and online connection further. They enabled the customer to pick online a personal shopping slot with the stylists and the exact occasion for their personal shopping experience.
What can you learn from Oasis?
This brand is definitely a retailer you should look to for omnichannel inspiration. They really encourage exploration of their site through their social channels. They make everything as simple as possible for the user. With covering all relevant social media channels and simply displaying images across their site, they connected all essential omnichannel elements together.
Instead of building and expanding its online store, as many brands nowadays do, Amazon is investing in the brick and mortar.
They first come up with Amazon Treasure Trucks launched in 2016. These trucks were omnichannel retail and, in a way, 21st-century incarnation of the traveling market trader. Thus unique innovative Amazon omnichannel retail in action!
Later in 2017, they launched Amazon Fresh Pickups — local food and grocery warehouses. However, because of a struggle with the assortment, consumers complained that the Amazon omnichannel retail experience was not seamless.
In 2018, Pop-up Kiosks with Amazon’s own consumer technology spread around 66 locations around the US with some delays in openings and later location closures. It looks like the online giant thrives with superior online consumer experiences but continues to be rather basic in the Amazon omnichannel retail services.
What can you learn from Amazon?
Although retail trucks, delays in store openings, location closures, and other issues along the way, didn’t leave a good impression; it’s for sure that Amazon Go delivers truly innovative brick & mortar retail. None can guarantee that Amazon wasn’t only toying with the idea of omnichannel retail though.
However, you may notice that their expansion into brick & mortar looks similar to your own struggles with expanding online. If there’s a key takeaway to be had from Amazon’s retail expansion, it’s the advanced brick & mortar technology and superior consumer experience. So, you better get prepared to excel in your own omnichannel retail to convince consumers, before Amazon gets there too.
Sephora announced a new omnichannel program in China to embrace Chinese social culture and become the first comprehensive vertical beauty retailer to offer a full social shopping experience.
Its concept “My Beauty Power Turn It On” called on every consumer to search deep and realize the power of their individual and unique beauty. It incorporated its website, app, stores, and a new WeChat mini-program.
What can you learn from Sephora China?
The seamless omnichannel closed-loop retail system, as well as the fully upgraded Asian New Concept Store, gave every consumer a chance to confidently create their own beauty power.
This new perspective is a great example of innovation and subversion to the beauty retail industry that rediscovers, leads and creates a new meaning of beauty.
So, the constant exploration and leadership in trends, along with the continuous innovation of experiential sales are the best ways to fulfill the commitment to consumers.
IKEA, a famous home-furnishings retailer, embraced omnichannel shopping with new mobile functionality that allows users of its mobile catalog application to save their favorite items as a shopping list. The virtual reality app also enables consumers to visualize three differently styled home spaces.
Their catalog with videos and 3D features is available digitally for smartphones and tablets. It can be used on the Web site or in-store.
They went a little bit further by providing stock availability and inventory information based on current stock levels and forecasted shipment inventory. Thus they make it easy for customers to determine when the item is most likely to be available in her local store.
They also started opening “pick up and order points” which enable online or Ikea store shoppers to pick up their products closer to where they live.
What can you learn from IKEA?
IKEA has perfected the model of buy, pick-up in the store and wheel to the exit, and offers the opportunity to buy online and pick up in store as well. In short, their objective is to be ‘the go-to place, both offline and online’.
So the key is to find the perfect balance between lifting off a successful e-commerce strategy while maintaining popular stores as the business’ keystone. The challenge for you is to keep up with the current technology and use it as a competitive advantage.
Don’t miss the train and increase your focus on integrating physical and digital commerce to enable customers to shop in ways that suit their needs.
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