Omnichannel Guide for Digitally Advanced Brands
Head of Content
⏱ Reading Time: 12 minutes
Omnichannel experience is a holistic approach that includes sales, marketing, customer service in a way that it creates a unique customer experience no matter how, when or where a customer reaches out.
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 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 last request from our users – seamless user experience!
Omnichannel & MultiChannel Brand Communications
Can your customers reach you in the way they choose? Are your customer interactions driving your business with boosting sales, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and advocacy or are they costing you a business?
The customer experience you deliver is affecting the growth of your business in every sense. Digitally empowered customers want fast, accurate answers and flexibility in the channels they use to contact brands. But, putting multiple channels to work isn’t enough. Especially if each channel is siloed.
Few things are more frustrating for customers than the repeating need to switch from one customer care-agent to others, from one channel to the other, to get the correct information.
Picture 1. Omnichannel Complexity
Integrated omnichannel communication starts with engaging the right talent and creating a united team where information flow is seamless and updated in real-time. Brands using the omnichannel approach encourage customers to engage with them, using different channels and platforms.
Moreover, omnichannel brands are customer-centric. That means accurate answers, capabilities that support great customer experiences to increase revenue and customer lifetime value while improving the strength of your brand strategy with convenience brand visuals and messaging across all channels.
Looking at companies on the Fortune 500 list 60 years ago, 88% are now out of business. Why did they fail? Closing the gap between customer expectations and business realities is a constant struggle.
Closing the omnichannel gap can increase competitiveness and inspire the customer-centric focus that is critical to business survival. To achieve this, it’s important to have a winning omnichannel marketing strategy that provides the customer with a completely unified experience from the first touchpoint to the last.
Creating the Winning Omnichannel Commerce Experience for the OmniChannel Customer
The rise of omni-channel commerce has played a major role in the evolution of omnichannel approach.
And, while customers view seamless shopping experiences as standard, businesses are grappling with the coordination and integration required across the entire shopping ecosystem to implement an omnichannel strategy.
Target Marketing survey of more than 450 marketers reveals that lack of budget is the biggest challenge to delivering a great omnichannel experience. But lack of personnel with adequate experience, accessing data across channels, and recognizing the customer across channels are close behind.
Picture 2. Omnichannel Strategy Challenges
Today, customers are taking control over the relationship with a brand. They are the ones leading the change and brands need to follow. In order to close the gap between customer expectations and customer experience, brands need to adapt to the needs of customers.
So let’s look at what it takes to create a winning omnichannel commerce experience:
- Monitor customer interactions to cultivate real-time insights into buying preferences, purchasing history, and browsing behavior.
- Equip staff members with real-time access to inventory information, customer sentiment, service records, order history, and returns – and ensure visibility across every touchpoint.
- Roll out self-service options and technology to promote convenience, and keep customers coming back.
- Use compelling content to inform and educate customers, and build a community around the brand.
- Turn staff members into customer experience evangelists, and incentivize every employee to transform shoppers into buyers.
- Take the pain out of the purchase path by embracing technology such as one-click shopping carts, and make it as easy as possible for prospects to transact business with conveniences like subscription purchases and online subscription management.
- Establish a two-way dialogue with customers via channels such as social media and live chat, and address customer service issues as soon as they arise.
Want to find out how omnichannel customer experience can serve you as a competitive advantage? Read Paldesk article!
Amazing Omnichannel Brands: 6 Outstanding Examples 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.
Timberland 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 omnichannel example?
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 omnichannel concept area 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 omnichannel example?
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.
On the other hand, it benefits the store associates by allowing them to take credit for assisting customers. After all, 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 omnichannel example?
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.
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, the 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 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 omnichannel example?
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 omnichannel example?
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.
IKEA 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 omnichannel example?
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.
New Omnichannel Experience That Will Change the Way You Shop
Retail shopping will change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 1000 years. Everything will change, stores will behave more like websites and websites more like stores.
Find out more about omnichannel retail and how to stay on top of the innovation in online sales!
The fundamentals of what a store is its purpose and function are already changing. These are the three biggest technologies that will affect your shopping experience.
Retailers are no longer content to identify customers via the swipe of a loyalty card at the point of sale. They want to identify us as soon as we enter the store. The technology, which 16,000 reference points on your face, was originally designed to support security and events and international airports by using facial recognition system.
This way, retail staff will be able to use software that reads emotion to identify when you are frustrated and notify staff to respond properly.
Robot assistant technology already exists and can greet you in multiple languages. Technology like this is not limited to customer interaction and will also move into the supply chain. These robots are intelligent enough to navigate existing stores and move around customers. Moreover, the data that these robots gather is compiled and analyzed to provide improvement recommendations.
Traditional mirrors are out and smart displays are in. Using artificial intelligence, virtual reality and gesture recognition technology the mirrors can superimpose clothing over your on-screen image. In effect, the mirror becomes a virtual changing room where you can create complete outfits without ever getting undressed.
Essentially this brings the ease of online shopping into the tangible world of retail. Retail stores can use this technology not just to measure the average time in the fitting room, but also which items have the highest conversion rate.
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