Why an omnichannel experience is important for you?

Omnichannel shopping experience is the latest buzzword in retail and there are many ways to define it:

  • Hubspot defines it as: “the ability to deliver a seamless and consistent experience across channels, while factoring in the different devices that consumers are using to interact with your business”.
  • Google defines it as: “ensuring [retailer] marketing strategies are geared toward enabling customers to convert on any channel”.
  • Forbes defines it as: “The ability of your customer to be in contact with your company via a variety of channels and to essentially be able to pick up where they left off on one channel and continue the conversation on another.”

In a nutshell, omnichannel customer experience is about removing barriers and making all different channels transparent for the consumer, providing consistent experience and freedom in all possible touchpoints. This goes way beyond the “shop online and deliver offline” and of course it does not have much to do with “I use a mobile app to show offers to my customers”.

To make it more clear, imagine Maria, a millennial walking down a busy street full of stores. Her phone buzzes, inviting her into a nearby store to enjoy her favorite ice cream flavor she’s enjoyed there before. Having just eaten breakfast (the most important meals of the day), she keeps walking, but mentally files the Viber message for later (after sending it to her best friend saying “these guys are perfect!”). Half a block later, a fashion store catches her eye and she steps in. As she enters the store, her phone buzzes again with a coupon for 20% off for the next two hours on dresses. Maria likes the offer and works with a salesperson to find the right dress but the store doesn’t have it in her size. No worries: The salesperson locates it in another store of the chain and offers to drop-ship it to her house. Maria feels like she really got a bargain and asks for one more dress for Anna, her best friend, to discover that other location only has one. The salesperson locates one dress in that store and one in a store in another city, coordinates the drop-shipping for both, and gives her the BOGO (buy one, get one 50%) discount she deserves (better, after all, than the 20% off that tempted her initially), even though both dresses come from different stores, and neither from the store in which she’s standing. That afternoon, back at home, Maria finds that three shoe boxes from her favorite shoe store have arrived. Two of the pairs fit her perfectly; the third is too wide. She finds the shoes in a better-fitting size and orders them for in-store pickup the next morning, as the store is close to her friends house that she will visit. The pickup is ready when she comes in, and with the proximity functionality on her phone, the store’s employees are able to recognize her arrival, stop folding clothes and other low-value tasks, and hurry to meet her at the front door where they hand her the package and accept her exchange, wishing her well with an e-coupon to return.

Why omnichannel is important for customer experience?

  • Companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement.
  • 72% of digital shoppers consider in-store experience as the most important channel when making a purchase.
  • Shoppers who buy from a business both in-store and online have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel.
  • 47% of digital shoppers claim that consistent personalized shopping experience from one channel to next is one of the top omnichannel retail capabilities.

Sources: Business2Community & IDC

Whether the purchase experience starts online or offline consumers have a plethora of options as to how they may want to move through their buyer journey. As a result, consumers are found to engage with a brand in several different channels and they are expecting a consistent, complementary and aligned customer experience in every channel they choose to start, continue, stop or restart their journey.

The example provided above maybe look challenging to be implemented, but this is what customers want. Start interacting with you anywhere they want, move across channels anyway they feel and finish their interactions where and when they want to. You can control this process not just by enabling them to move, but by guiding them through all different channels, making this interaction more frequent and knowing them better every day, to provide them better experience.

Are you still wondering why you should focus your strategic plan in building a personalized omnichannel experience? Read more here and you will be totally convinced!

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Also published on Medium.