What is Omnichannel
Here at Data Clarity, we define Omnichannel as: “an approach to retail operations that incorporates a holistic strategy and consistency across every touchpoint and channel (including traditional brick-and-mortar stores, online, mobile, social and more).
“This will often include the adoption of technology and analytics tools to achieve a fully holistic solution.”
How is this different to multichannel? In a multichannel environment, the user/customer has access to a variety of communication options and channels, but these are not synchronized or connected. During an omnichannel experience, these channels are both multiple and connected so users can move between them seamlessly with a connected experience.
In simple terms then, ‘Omni’ is perceiving of all things, meaning ‘all’ channels connect and work in unison to drive the customer experience.
Omnichannel is built on multiple methods of promoting & distributing products. Therefore, improving customer service by providing multiple communication options that offers more flexibility as the consumer can seamlessly switch between channels throughout an interaction, enabling them to further reach out with problems or concerns using multiple channels.
Today, the modern consumer is constantly shifting across buying channels, which means Organisations that adapt to this are able to improve their user experience and drive better relationships with their audience across various points of contact. This experience is consistent and unified for every journey the consumer chooses to take.
As people change their behaviours, retailers, marketers, salespeople and customer support reps will need to react fast, as they are likely to have multiple touchpoints with a retailer & expect their journey between each touchpoint or channel should be seamless. This means retailers will need to pursue one holistic approach – an omnichannel experience that consumers can willingly use anytime & anywhere.
How can Omni-Channel help retailers?
For certain, adopting omnichannel technology can help retailers to unlock growth, as we continue to see technology become more important to our day-to-day living. For example, a customer can begin their purchasing journey down the funnel on one channel and complete it on a different one.
Omnichannel retailing brings shoppers a consistent shopping experience when blurring all boundaries among channels. Increasingly, consumers are toggling between online & offline to research, buy products & to contact services.
82 % of customers consult their smartphone when making a purchase in a brick-and-mortar store. This fact alone provides a glimpse into the importance of omnichannel marketing & why brands need to make sure each of their own shopping channels work instantaneously with one another. This is turning into a new world of omnichannel retail culture with a new generation of ‘omnishoppers’. In order to get on board, retailers must “think like customers think” to optimise the customer experience. Already, the brands who can at best interpret omnichannel data and understand all consumers by doing so are seeing success. For example, a quick look into the rewards app will show why many consider this as one of the top omnichannel experiences as it is fully embraced and implemented through their business.
First, you get a free rewards card that you can use whenever you make a purchase. However, unlike traditional customer loyalty programs, Starbucks has made it possible to check and reload your card via phone, website, instore or on the app. Updates are made across all channels if there are any changes to the card or profile. If realising you do not have enough on your balance, reload it and the cashier will know it has been updated by the time they swipe your card.
For retailers, the best way for a customer to perceive everything is to allow them to intentionally own their data & experience. By using retail data analytics to interpret online & instore shopping patterns, retailers can keep track & stay ahead of the shopper trends and can deliver the unique brand experiences that become their unique selling proposition, to better stand out from competitors.
At Data Clarity, we have worked with retailers like Paul Smith to develop ClarityOmnivue – a full end-to-end data management and analytics solution that enables retailers to get to know their customers and offer personalised and relevant brand experiences to deliver value.
What challenges does Omni-Channel resolve?
We have come a long way since the days when you needed to find a brick-and-mortar store in order to go shopping. Nowadays, the solution is much simpler. Some things, however, may not be that simple. Organisations constantly need more & more options to fulfill the needs of what consumers want at a specific time.
For retailers, that means more options including delivery service, discounts and payment options.
A simple, yet ideal, thing any consumer is after is a seamless experience across all devices, at any point in time. Mobile apps are being developed to be downloaded, promotional emails are sent, and landing page builders are created to convert visitors. It is a fact that customers are among the biggest challenge for retailers aiming to maximise their omnichannel potential.
Overall, this is where Omnichannel comes into play.
The Challenges of Omni-Channel for Retailers
- What do the Customer’s want? The average customer always goes down their own unique path, linear funnels are not always the case, so it is not always possible to lead each customer exactly where you want them to be.
Solution – To keep your business up and running, the solution is data. You cannot know what makes your customers tick without data. This does not mean that the only place to gather data is your website alone. Analytics tools enable you to gather clues and piece them together to create an engaging omnichannel marketing strategy through all sources, such as website, app, in store sources, email campaigns, general browsing behaviour and so on. Data needs to then be segmented and grouped into categories. Once this happens, you will have a precise viewpoint of what your customer needs, what they have viewed and how to lead them to a specific purchase.
- Customer Engagement – across platforms is as important. Even though customer satisfaction is one of the most important things you could aim for, this does not ensure you their loyalty. A customer may perceive that they can find a similar product & customer experience somewhere else. Through omnichannel engagement, retailers can offer their customers an experience that encourages and drives brand loyalty.
Solution – For all retailers, understand your customer’s behaviour first to plan and create an omnichannel strategy accordingly. Consider the customer experience and provide a logical approach where customers do not have to keep entering password & instead all they will do is tap an icon to get connected through a menu that is clean, clear & tidy. To provide offers, send them an email each time you have something new and relevant to them, based on previous interactions with your brand, to keep them engaged and to keep them notified via online through the desktop or mobile app. This means maximum engagement.
- Conflicts Between Various Channels – The more channels your organisation creates, the more likely you are to encounter challenges and inconsistencies that create a negative image. The very first phase of executing an omnichannel approach, infrastructure development of a business, often fails to meet the goals and demands from the customer. Channel conflicts can also arise when inventory becomes limited, as various departments’ goals may be incompatible. All channels and departments must communicate with one another, focusing on the company strategy and the overall needs in order to provide a seamless experience. This means prioritising.
Solution – Always stay one step ahead of your customers. The answer lies in your data. By analysing your data carefully, organisations can create and predict desires and always plan accordingly. Invest in an inventory management system to make sure that every channel has access to all the other channels data to ensure everything runs smoothly – without mistakes.
Omnichannel approaches and technology enables organisations to optimise channels to the full potential and puts the customer at the centre of the strategy to drive growth. This will be the key to success now and in the future.
To discover how you can do more as a business or if you would like to discuss how you can take advantage of your data, contact us today.