A business that lags in offering an interwoven customer experience across multiple touchpoints is likely to sever ties with its audience. A successful omnichannel strategy is not just about maneuvering a customer through the stages of the sales funnel anymore. It is much more than that! Businesses are expected to be available to the customers in their desired manner, anywhere, and anytime. This is exactly what an omnichannel strategy strives to achieve.
Here are some key parameters that work in collaboration to create a successful omnichannel strategy.
An omnichannel solution gives users the freedom to choose a variety of touchpoints. No matter what medium of purchase they choose, a successful omnichannel strategy eliminates silos to maintain a continuous and seamless experience that, in turn, helps optimize the customer journey.
73 percent of customers shop across multiple channels – Harvard Business Review
What is Omnichannel Strategy — Omnichannel vs. Multichannel
There is another term that people often confuse with omnichannel strategy – a multichannel strategy. There’s a thin line difference between the two.
Let’s say your brand has specific channels in place for communicating with the respective customers through an app, a desktop website, and a brick and mortar store. Now, if a customer buys a commodity from the app and the other channels are unaware of it, shopping on the app is independent of other available touchpoints – it is a multichannel strategy.
In the omnichannel approach, however, all the channels are interlinked. All the channels involved ensure that the data is freely exchanged to communicate with the customer through every medium seamlessly.
Importance of a Good Omnichannel Strategy
“Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans.” –Ken Blanchard
Customers buy based on the experience they have with your brand. In today’s dynamic world of eCommerce, where brands and marketplaces are racing to grab consumer attention, building brand loyalty, and making the brand stand out is a persistent exercise for eCommerce players.
CxOs acknowledge the fact that offering a seamless experience steers customer expectations, builds brand perceptions, and can make or break a business.
89% of customers will switch to a competitor if your brand doesn’t provide the customer experience they expect.
5 Effective Omnichannel Strategies for your Business
In today’s world, the omnichannel retail strategy is a norm among organizations. But, sadly not everyone is getting it right. This eMarketer report is proof.
So, what stops them from getting the right omnichannel strategy off the ground? Clearly, it is the lack of a fool-proof strategy that will help create the difference.
1. Figure out Your Effective Communication Channels
Companies use a long list of communication channels, but not all resonate with the target audience. Your omnichannel analytics will play a definitive role here. Do not waste your time and resources on some random channel that has never interested your customers. Instead, shortlist channels that your potential customers spend the most time on, to move with the purchase.
Online was preferred for customer reviews (70%) and saving time (69%) whereas getting the product quickly (79%) and getting questions answered (51%) were considered in-store strengths – BookingBug
This finding makes it clear that knowing your effective channels will help drive an omnichannel strategy in the right direction. Tools like Google Analytics can help improve digital customer experience by giving you insights on your audiences, and the channels they use.
Thus, it becomes easy to figure out which channels deserve the most attention for driving sales.
2. Embed Voice Channels Across Touchpoints
Being able to communicate with your customers, 24/7 is an important sales, omnichannel strategy to bring revenues in the times to come. Where designing chatbots or virtual assistants play an essential role, indulging your customers with a real person should be given priority too. If your business fails to connect a customer to an executive in less than two minutes, you will likely lose big time.
75% of customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent – Harris Interactive
Having an interaction with a real person across all the sales channels creates a sense of trust and confidence in the brand. That is not enough, though! You need to train your customer executives to aim for first contact resolution, which, in turn, makes for an effective omnichannel retail solution.
3. Embrace BOPIS for an Improved Experience
Buy Online, Pick-up in Store (BOPIS) is the new omnichannel strategy that should be implemented for an overall better experience. The following Forrester stats reveal the difference between customer expectations and the corresponding retail strategy.
Therefore, managing an accurate in-store inventory should take a front seat so that your retail & eCommerce customer experience falls right into place. Also, the salesperson should be aware of online and offline product availability. This is possible if they have dedicated tablets or mobile devices to cross-check inventories. All in all, try to keep processes, technologies, and salespersons synchronized, or you’ll lose out on revenue
4. Take Advantage of Social Commerce
In 2018, an estimated 2.65 billion people were using social media worldwide, a number projected to increase to almost 3.1 billion in 2021 – Statista
The above statistic shows that there is abundant data present on social media platforms. Thus importance should be given to collect this data to draw inferences about your customers with the help of the best data visualization tools. Also, make communication on social media platforms a priority as people consider friends’ reviews while making buying decisions.
Another omnichannel strategy is promotions in the form of carousel advertisements that help offer personalized user experience. Such recommendations can be offered by tracking customer behavior by linking their social media logins for websites and social media accounts such as Facebook. What next, persuade your customers to buy there and then through Facebook Messenger instead of redirecting them to your website.
5. Cashierless Checkouts Should Gain Momentum
Amazon is winning the game when it comes to implementing the omnichannel strategy. An example of one such disruption is their introduction of Amazon Go, which is one of a kind cashierless checkout system at their brick-and-mortar grocery stores.
They have simply moved one step ahead by eliminating the obligation to stand in queues for billing. This is the best omnichannel marketing solution while adding on to the digital customer experience. Have a look.
In the truest manner, this is an outstanding omnichannel retail strategy and as a business, one must identify such propositions to enhance their customer experience. And, the probability of making profits will see an upsurge too. Just like it did for Jeff Bezos.
Amazon Go just made Jeff Bezos $2.8 B richer – Investopedia
Top 9 Brands Delivering an Exceptional Omnichannel Experience
If you are wondering how to create an omnichannel strategy and seek inspiration to present your customers with an experience that is seamless across every channel, here’s some inventiveness from brands for whom omnichannel has been the holy grail of their marketing strategy.
- About the Brand: An American multinational corporation that is engaged in the design, development, manufacturing, and worldwide marketing and sales of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories, and services.
- Customer Experience USP: Bridging the online-offline gap
How Nike Delivers a Seamless Omnichannel Experience
Nike introduced the omnichannel experience back in 2006 with the launch of the Nike+ program that was executed in partnership with Apple. This collaboration allowed users to connect a pair of Nike sneakers with an iPod and track multiple things, including the running distance, time taken, and calories burned. The data was synced to Nike+’s website that also helped create and bring together a digital community of athletes.
Here’s how the brand describes Nike+
“Connecting Nike’s wealth of sports knowledge with its footwear and apparel offerings, Nike+ translates the ‘plus’ to ‘personal,’ providing members with customized guidance, support, and a host of tailored resources that unlock the best of Nike.”
A decade later, Nike+ was turned into a customized app to incorporate all types of users. Its onboarding process includes questions around the users’ favorite Nike products, their preferred sports, and so on that subsequently help the brand personalize the users’ newsfeed.
Lesson You can Learn from Nike’s Omnichannel Strategy
Offering its digital customers access to shoes and gear, events, athlete stories, and running and training programs, Nike’s omnichannel strategy successfully bridge the online-offline gap and attempts to convert a casual visitor into a potential customer.
- About the Brand: German multinational athletics brand
- Customer Experience USP: Mobile-first approach to digital commerce
How Puma Delivers a Seamless eCommerce Experience
According to the Salesforce Shopping Index Report, mobile accounts for 60% of traffic. However, in the case of Puma, mobile accounted for about 70% of traffic in a few demographics. Thus to convert this high mobile traffic, Puma decided to optimize its site so that visitors could easily create accounts and save carts for future eCommerce checkouts on mobile and tablet.
This technological overhaul reduced the friction and improved the speed, agility, and the mobile shopping experience for Puma’s customers, thereby improving the conversion from less than 1% to 1.5%.
Lesson You can Learn from Puma’s Omnichannel Strategy
Puma, in its omnichannel strategy, has put its customers in mind and optimized the channel they prefer to use with its multi-touchpoint strategy and the mobile-first approach.
Moreover, Puma has also realized the fact that mobile is no longer the future, if you want to survive in this competitive environment, you have to serve an excellent experience to your customers on mobile now: 60% of traffic and 41% of online orders come from mobile.
- About the Brand: A French multinational chain of personal care and beauty stores
- Customer Experience USP: Cross platform channel experience
How Sephora Delivers a Seamless Omnichannel Experience
A prime example of how this cosmetic giant has seamlessly linked its online and in-store offerings is its cross platform channel initiative, Happening at Sephora, that displays all the events, launches, and activities at the physical stores onto their digital channel. Correspondingly, their in-store experience offers digital tools that draw the customers back to the digital channel.
Lesson You can Learn from Sephora’s Omnichannel Strategy
Sephora has employed the omnichannel strategy with several innovative approaches that help them capture data in the stores and use it for personalization online. This interesting method has its store staff collate the list of products tried by a client during a complimentary makeover only to digitally re-engage them later with those specific product-focused emails.
The beauty retailer has also partnered with Google to broadcast its video content on the Google Home Hub in-store to help users explore further with voice and visual assistance.
What’s more, shoppers can get 3D live experience on the Sephora Virtual Artist app by uploading an image and experimenting with their looks by virtually trying Sephora’s range of makeup products.
4. Steve Madden
- About the Brand: America’s hottest footwear brand for Men and Women
- Customer Experience USP: Cross-channel Data Analytics
How Steve Madden Delivers a Seamless eCommerce Experience
Although 80% of Steve Madden’s revenue comes from wholesale, they still find it vital to invest their time and budget on its eCommerce business.
Steve Madden’s omnichannel strategy relies heavily on ‘data’ to deliver a frictionless eCommerce experience to their potential customers. Their main aim is not just to collect data, but also act upon that data and communicate with their customers in meaningful ways.
Steve Madden has incorporated CRM in its eCommerce strategy to combine its cross-channel data and cover it with the layers of business intelligence. This enables them to segment customers and builds more meaningful, targeted communications.
Lesson You can Learn from Steve Madden’s Omnichannel Strategy
No matter where your brand stands in the race of eCommerce, in today’s phygital world, it is essential for retailers to capture information of customers and use it effectively to match up to their activity whenever they shop.
A Forrester survey reveals that 72% of brands believe they can use analytics reports to improve the customer experience.
- About the Brand: An American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate
- Customer Experience USP: Data-Informed seamless experience
How Disney Delivers a Seamless eCommerce Experience
Disney’s innovation in the omnichannel experience space is undoubtedly exceptional. It starts right from the online transaction carried out by visitors when they book a trip to Disney World. An email asking to create an account subsequently directs them to the website, which has information on the rides, stays, restaurants, and so on.
While exploring the themes and rides in the park through its website and app, a visitor can design their itinerary and pick the preferred rides well in advance. At the heart of Disney’s omnichannel program is the magic wristband that Disney mails every visitor who has booked their resort.
The RFID band acts as the ticket, payment method, and even room keys among several other functions. That’s not all. On the completion of the trip, Disney continues to engage through messages, pictures, and updates on their upcoming events.
Lesson You can Learn from Disney’s Omnichannel Strategy
The My Disney Experience mobile app assists in tracking the visitor’s plans, making reservations, and acquiring instant information on the attractions including the waiting time. And with the Disney FASTPASS+ service, visitors can select Walt Disney World theme park attractions, entertainment, and Character Greetings much in advance and at no extra cost. All of this also helps Disney collect enormous data from its customers and, in turn, improve its services.
- About the Brand: American manufacturer and retailer of footwear
- Customer Experience USP: Merging the physical and digital worlds of eCommerce
How Timberland Delivers a Seamless Omnichannel Experience
Timberland builds a connective customer experience by effectively making use of Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology to amalgamate the two worlds of eCommerce: physical and digital. NFC allows secured information to be instantly transferred between mobile devices without interference, thereby resulting in solving two of the biggest issues in retail: time and convenience.
With “Touch Walls” implemented, along with tablets, customers do not have to seek help from a store manager to find more information about the desired product. As customers continue to look up different products, the tablets’ personalization software starts to make similar product suggestions to the customer based on their purchasing history.
Lesson You can Learn from Timberland’s Omnichannel strategy
Bringing the physical and digital worlds of eCommerce close to each other is a unique way to store customers’ profiles and use it to hone your retail and remarketing digital commerce strategy continually.
- About the Brand: A Swedish multinational group that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances and home accessories
- Customer Experience USP: Emerging technology driven application
How IKEA Delivers a Seamless Omnichannel Experience
IKEA’s Planning Studio stores are a star feature of the Swedish furniture retailer’s omnichannel experience. These stores are small appointment-based spaces specifically for the urban customers who may not be able to visit the warehouse that’s mostly located on the city outskirts.
When customers visit these stores, they are assisted by experts with tips on furnishing their homes using 3D planning tools. Products that are ordered get eventually shipped from the warehouses nearby that have stored them to ensure a quick delivery.
Lesson You can Learn from IKEA’s Omnichannel strategy
IKEA’s AR app, one of the key components of their omnichannel strategies, lets customers visualize furniture in the comfort of their homes, thus blurring the line between the online and physical store experience. IKEA offers pick-up and order points as well through which online shoppers can pick their products from centers close to where they live.
- About the Brand: French personal care company headquartered in Clichy
- Customer Experience USP: Personalized, uninterrupted journeys.
How L’Oreal Delivers a Seamless eCommerce Experience
The customer is the top priority for this global beauty leader and sits on the top position of their omnichannel strategy. L’Oreal makes use of rich data of their customers and combines it with Artificial Intelligence (AI) to engage their customers across their buying journeys, across social media and its eCommerce sites, delivering a personalized beauty experience at scale.
By engaging customers into a unique, integrated, end-to-end shopping journey, L’Oreal has managed to increase its revenue by 48.5%.
Lesson You can Learn from L’Oreal’s Omnichannel Strategy
A personalized, uninterrupted journey, irrespective of the industry, is vital to convert visitors into customers and customers into loyal customers. In the end, 84% of customers believe that being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their trust.
- About the Brand: An American multinational chain of coffeehouses and roastery
- Customer Experience USP: Customer loyalty programs
How Starbucks Delivers a Seamless Omnichannel Experience
Starbucks leads the omnichannel space at the moment with over close to 17 million active members of its loyalty program. Signing up for Starbucks’ loyalty program also assures a free drink. Customers can check their gift card balance, points, and mobile orders through phone, website, in-store, or on their app.
If you are in the queue at a Starbucks store and don’t have enough balance in your account, you can reload it right there, and it will be updated in real-time to help you make the payment conveniently.
Lesson You can Learn from Starbuck’s Omnichannel Strategy
A quick Coffee on the go is easy with Starbucks since they let you place an order and pay in advance and arrive to collect it from one of their offline stores later. The nearest Starbucks store is indicated by the app itself that also informs you of the estimated wait time to collect the items. Starbucks also gathers a lot of insights into customer preferences through this process that helps them communicate better with their audience.
Organizations aiming at an omnichannel transformation must offer their customers a consistent, personalized, and seamless experience. It is equally important to build an omnichannel strategy that best works specifically for your business model while also finding out optimum ways to keep your customers consistently engaged.
By embracing and implementing the omnichannel strategy, you will definitely be able to bridge the gap between online and offline channels. Not only will you gain brand recognition, but your revenues and the omnichannel customer experience will witness a positive impact too.
There might be challenges, whether financial or technical, but your omnichannel efforts will surely pay off in the long run. An eCommerce expert consultant can easily guide and maneuver you through the best practices for implementing omnichannel while your regular business processes stay unharmed.
Apart from developing a long-standing relationship with your customer, omnichannel experience is probably the only way for businesses to address the rising competition, provide excellent customer engagement, and ensure better revenues.