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The Importance of Omnichannel Customer Experience

Business

Feb 24, 2021 - 6 minutes read

1480 Omnichannel Customer Experience News 416X300
Melania Sulak Content Marketing Manager

She specialises in writing and overseeing a broad range of content tailored to meet the needs and interests of IT B2B sector readers.

See all Melania's posts
Retail Report Resources

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With today’s nearly boundless list of consumer touchpoints, it’s no surprise that shoppers learn about products via many different platforms, such as Google, social media, or websites. Modern shopping is about so much more than the brick-and-mortar experience.

That’s good news for you, as the more engagement channels you provide your customers with, the higher the chance they’ll spend more.

Let’s explore the importance of the omnichannel customer experience and why it’s become one of the world’s top retail trends.

What Is Omnichannel Customer Experience?

What qualifies as an omnichannel customer experience? One way to assess your company’s success in this area would be to verify whether your services delight your customers along their entire purchasing journey.

For instance, you can say that you successfully provide shoppers with an omnichannel customer experience when you enable them to seamlessly interact with your sales offering across multiple channels. No breaks in communication, no missing data — just seamless connectivity.

This means that your sales efforts should be synchronised. How does that work? Well, firstly, all your channels should provide a uniform quality of customer experience, so that your clients won’t have to hesitate when they want to contact you or make a purchase. They shouldn’t have to wonder whether you’ll be able to provide the same level of service depending on which touchpoint they choose.

For instance, let’s imagine that Robert is looking to purchase a new dining table. He begins his buyer’s journey by searching for local furniture shops on Google. As a result, he is now on a few companies’ retargeting lists and is shown furniture ads when he browses Facebook. One such ad entices him to click on it and he is redirected to the retailer’s e-store. He notices, however, that the online shop doesn’t carry the table in the colour he’s interested in, so he decides to make use of the website’s customer service live chat. The customer service representative is able to quickly inform him that the exact table he’s looking for is available in the brand’s brick-and-mortar location just a few kilometres from his house. Robert is delighted and visits the store the next day to buy his new dining table.

Along his buyer’s journey, Robert interacts with the furniture brand via 5 different — yet connected — customer touchpoints. His fictional (though quite realistic) story can serve as a descriptive definition of what a successful omnichannel customer experience entails.

Having said all of the above you may now be wondering how an omnichannel customer experience differs from a multichannel one.

The key difference between the two lies in the level of connectivity between customer touchpoints. An omnichannel customer experience renders the buying journey streamlined and synchronised, as all channels are seamlessly interlinked. Whereas, although a multichannel experience also provides customers with multiple platforms to interact with, the channels aren’t connected and don’t guide the customer along the journey in a cohesive way.

Put simply, a multichannel experience is less delightful for consumers. Why? Well, for instance, if Robert was buying from a furniture company that was only able to provide a multichannel experience, he might have been redirected from the Facebook ad to their Facebook page instead of their online shop. To make matters more disconnected, perhaps the company’s Facebook page wouldn’t even provide a link to the online shop. All this would result in Robert having to search for the brand’s website on Google, instead of being able to simply click on the URL link via the Facebook page. As you can see, this type of buying experience doesn’t offer many of the benefits of omnichannel customer experience.

Key Omnichannel Benefits

Omnichannel customer experience has the power to measurably improve your bottom line — all while ensuring your business remains customer-centric and focused on delighting your clients.

Let’s explore a few key omnichannel benefits:

1. Increased customer retention

By presenting your clients with many means to buy, you enable them to pick the form of purchase that suits them best. In doing so, you create a market advantage for yourself and provide your customers with the shopping convenience they’re after. As a result, your customers are happy to stick with your brand, which directly translates into better retention rates. 

2. Measurable revenue gains

Harvard Business Review reports that, on average, customers who used “4+ channels spent 9% more” in a given retailer’s store when compared to those who used only a single touchpoint. Moreover, the same cited study showed that conducting prior online research on a retailer’s website led to “13% greater in-store spending among omnichannel shoppers”. These types of data findings prove that the decision to go omnichannel can measurably increase your ROI.

3. Delighted customers

Omnichannel-savvy customers enjoy having many retail touchpoints at their disposal. Today’s shopping experience is significantly more varied and complex than it was just a few years ago. Even more so as a result of the adjustments that retailers have had to make amidst the coronavirus pandemic. As such, by providing consumers with the opportunity to shop online, use apps, ‘Click&Collect’ their purchases, etc., you multiply the channels through which they can engage with your brand — which is great, because that’s exactly what delights them.

4. Better brand visibility

By ensuring your customers can benefit from an omnichannel customer experience you also boost your brand’s visibility and help spread your message across multiple channels in a timely and consistent manner. Once you’re able to communicate the same personalised message via all your touchpoints every time someone engages with your brand, you’ll likely have made a loyal customer out of that someone. And, loyal customers can significantly boost your company’s visibility, as they’re likely to naturally become brand ambassadors.

5. Seamless synchronisation

It’s no longer enough to simply sell your offering both in-store and online. You must put touchpoint connectivity at the forefront of your customer-centric endeavours to guarantee a successful omnichannel customer experience. And, as all of the benefits listed above have shown, putting in the effort to ensure that your channels are synchronised is well worth it. Create an ecosystem in which purchases can be made seamlessly regardless of which channels your customers choose.

Future Omnichannel Retail Trends

The idea of creating omnichannel customer experiences has already been around for a couple of years — yet this retail trend continues to grow and evolve. And now that the pandemic has had its say, new and unexpected turns have made their way into the retail industry’s modus operandi.

When faced with lengthy lockdowns, people have had little choice other than to go online to purchase the products they need. These retailing changes not only introduced many new buyers to online shopping, but they have also likely begun to affect their purchasing preferences and habits.

If consumers have no means to enter a store and physically interact with what they’re planning to purchase, it makes it imperative to substitute this lack with a seamless omnichannel customer experience. This is even more crucial as an increasing number of buyers are choosing to not return to physical stores, even when lockdowns are lifted, because they have safety concerns.

In light of these tectonic changes in buying behaviour, many retailers have decided to rethink their business strategies and are now looking to quickly digitise their processes and platforms. As such, it’s worth remembering that a multichannel experience isn’t going to be as well-received as an omnichannel customer experience, and that platform interconnectivity contributes to seamless shopping.

In a saturated market where so many companies have chosen the same digital path in recent months, it’s key to focus on your customers’ needs and to keep the importance of omnichannel customer experience at the forefront of your efforts. By doing so, you’ll create a win-win situation in which the customer is happy and so are you, as their loyalty works wonders for your bottom line.

Retail Report Resources
Melania Sulak Content Marketing Manager

She specialises in writing and overseeing a broad range of content tailored to meet the needs and interests of IT B2B sector readers.

See all Melania's posts

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