Looking back at how retail has evolved over the last ten years, it seems perplexing to think of a time where manually flicking through catalogues, waiting a week for the delivery without tracking, and walking into a store with little to no knowledge of the products, was indeed the norm.
Clearly times have changed, and with it, so has customer behaviour. Even the less technologically savvy of us now have the advantage of being able to research, shop around and ultimately get the best deal with total transparency of the market. But how can retailers ensure they meet the demands of customers in a time where there are so much choice and competition? The answer: be present wherever, and whenever the customer needs with an omnichannel approach. Sounds simple, right?
What is Omnichannel Experience?
An omnichannel experience is a marketing strategy in which customers are met at every stage of their shopping journey with an end-to-end customer first approach. Whether shopping on desktop, mobile or in store, the experience should be flawless. Different from a multi-channel approach, where channels are available to the customer but are not integrated, an omnichannel approach means all the channels are connected and therefore provides a more seamless experience.
Why Create an Omnichannel Experience for Customers?
There are multiple advantages for both customers and brands in creating an omnichannel experience. The benefits include:
- Increased brand visibility
- Deliver better customer service
- Better targeted advertising
- Stronger brand loyalty
- Higher customer retention
- More robust data for measurement and evaluation
- Better understanding of audiences
- Increased savings and efficiency
- Increased sales and revenue
How to Create an Omnichannel Experience for Customers
Each brand must create an omnichannel experience that is unique to their business. Bringing in all areas of the business including those who work in product, sales and marketing, store sales and customer services. In doing so this provides a company with the tools to develop its omnichannel strategy by understanding how all areas can work towards the same goal at the same time.
Understand where your customers are spending most of their time. Think online vs in-store, mobile vs desktop, social media vs voucher code sites. Analyse your customer profiles and where you’re most likely to capture your audience’s attention. Using tools like Google Analytics indicates where traffic is coming from to your site, and therefore where your customers are spending their time and discovering your brand.
Bridging the gap between online and offline has never been so important. The risks of being solely a bricks and mortar store have been highlighted with the downfall of many big high street names. Whilst the importance of having a personalised service, such as in an ecommerce store, is a necessity for customers to feel connected and feel trust in a brand.
Make every interaction a positive and faultless experience for the customer where they can purchase products with ease, and shout about it afterward. If a customer adds something to their basket on mobile, make it available on the desktop when they login. Think about your own customer experience and what makes your journey from browsing to purchase as streamlined as possible.
The Future of Omnichannel Experiences
Where will we be 10 years from now? Self-filling pantry cupboards via voice-activated home devices. Digital dressing rooms where your experience is more of a day out than a trip down the high street. Or even quicker delivery time that rivals Amazon Now (a service delivered in a two-hour window currently available in certain postcode areas.)
It is important not to limit yourself to one or two platforms and instead think about the various touchpoints your customers interact with your brand. Create complete experiences that serve the journey from one end of the retail chain to the other.
If you want to find out how Productcaster could help you ensure an omnichannel experience for your customers, get in touch with the Productcaster team via firstname.lastname@example.org or call + 44 (0)20 3948 4696