Ask an eCommerce professional what the word omnichannel means to them and you’ll receive a noticeably different answer today compared to a few years ago, and in many cases, even last year.
That’s because fully encompassing what an omnichannel experience looks for online businesses has felt like a game of “catch up” with rapidly evolving customer behavior for the better part of the past two decades. From mobile and social, to IoT and Augmented Reality (AR), technology continues to increase possibilities and expectations for consumers — and the opportunities and challenges for businesses striving to capitalize on every customer touchpoint.
This technological evolution will only continue to broaden the scope of omnichannel online businesses — embracing this broader picture is key to building a seamless and optimal customer experience.
Getting your omnichannel strategy right needs to be tailored to the channels most important to your customers.
WHY DELIVERING A CONSISTENT OMNICHANNEL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IS CRITICAL
What distinguishes omnichannel experiences from multi-channel ones? As Hubspot aptly explains; “All omni-channel experiences will use multiple channels, but not all multi-channel experiences are omni-channel. Remember that. You can have amazing mobile marketing, engaging social media campaigns, and a well-designed website. But if they don’t work together, it’s not omni-channel.”
Therefore, an effective omnichannel retailing strategy requires integrating customer data and insights in a way that enhances their experience no matter which of your channels they happen to be on. That’s why emerging innovations that touch virtually every aspect and stage of the customer journey are key to bridging the divide between all of these platforms and delivering a unified shopping experience.
Proven Omnichannel Marketing Strategies
Magento founder Roy Rubin explained the importance of online retailers providing an integrated physical and digital shopping experience to their customers:
“As a consumer today, I need my browsing and shopping experience to be an omnichannel one — consistent anytime, anywhere, on any device. If I start browsing from my iPhone, and then on my iPad, and then move on to my web browser on my Mac, I don’t want to have to worry about starting new experiences every time I move between these devices. We’re getting better conditioned to having that ubiquity across these devices, but retailers need to continue to work to solve these challenges and create an experience that really is seamless from device to device.”
Samsonite’s VP of eCommerce Jay Nigrelli stressed the importance of channel convenience and delivering a seamless experience:
[bctt tweet=”‘Customers rarely interact with a single channel today. It is imperative we allow consumers to begin and end their journey across channels seamlessly.’ – Jay Nigrelli, VP eCommerce, Samsonite ” username=”Namogoo”]
“This includes the marketing they receive based on multiple data channels, the ability to order and deliver to and from multiple channels, and flexibility as to where they can return products.”
Enhancing the content and engagement within all of their channels on mobile is especially critical at online retailer Claire’s, whose target audience is young and almost entirely digitally native.
VP of Ecommerce Kristen Montella Taganashi explains the importance of optimizing your content and user experience around your target customers:
“70% of our traffic comes from mobile. Optimizing mobile usability and content, including for email and social channels is paramount. All of our design is done mobile-first and then adapted for desktop instead of the other way around.”
To be successful, an omnichannel approach requires buy-in from the highest levels of your organization and must trickle down to all aspects of the customer experience, from online and offline, to pre-, during, and post-sales and fulfillment.
Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy that will work for all businesses. But one priority shared by all online businesses is the need to accurately measure the impact of omnichannel efforts.
“Finding out how your customers are interacting with your total brand, from repeat business, from online to offline and vice versa, to cross-channel behavior is paramount so that you can intelligently attribute what methods are actually delivering ROI and make the right decisions with your marketing spend.”
Namogoo’s Co-founder and CEO Chemi Katz sums it up:
[bctt tweet=”‘With all of the technological strides made in recent years, customers today are expecting their online experience to match the personalized experience they’re used to offline.’ – Namogoo CEO Chemi Katz” username=”Namogoo”]
Read more omnichannel optimization insights from industry leaders in our eBook, The Customer Journey: A 360° View from Top eCommerce Executives.