Retailers and merchants, not to their fault, are ingrained to treat every channel separately- web store, social store, retail outlet, mobile store, etc. In doing so, they implement procedures to delight customers one channel at a time. But that is not how today’s omnichannel ecosystem functions.
Customers today enjoy multiple ways to engage with brands ranging from traditional channels to the proliferating digital modes. And in doing so, they don’t necessarily care about the channel of their communication. All they want is a single, unified, cohesive and omnichannel customer experience that feels the same, irrespective of the channel. Your customers want the luxury to pick from anywhere, shop anywhere, buy from any channel, and return anywhere. In addition, they want the same product experience from information and images to reviews, shipping information and ‘See Similar’ tabs. They also want information about their orders at all times, accessible through all interaction points.
From product pages to shipping and return experience, brands failing to accomplish these customer expectations and offering omnichannel customer experience will have disastrous consequences. Research reveals that unsupportive omnichannel journeys and customer experiences result in 51% brand abandonment post one or two visits. 80% won’t ever place an order with you post a poor product experience. And 84% won’t initiate any more purchases after a poor delivery experience. That is the rage behind omnichannel customer experience and its necessity in today’s competitive digital ecosystem.
Long story short, the only way you can delight your customers, engage them in a memorable experience that leads to purchases in the near future, address rising market complexities and manage operational costs is via an omnichannel customer experience transformation.
When a customer can interact with a brand through a set of a seamlessly integrated channels that caters to their buying journeys, and syncs up marketing, in-store, and customer support so that a customer can go from one channel to the other to complete their purchase or return and truly feel channel-less, it is called an omnichannel customer experience.
Regardless of the number of channels your brand employs to attract, engage, delight and retain customers, every touchpoint should be seamlessly connected to the next throughout the sales funnel and a buyer’s journey, from awareness to purchase, in perfect unison. It means customers can browse products in one store, buy them in the other, purchase them in the third and return them using the other channel, yet, feel no difference in the website, product, checkout, shipping and return experience.
With more than half of customers switching between 3-5 channels before making a purchase or resolving a request, brands need to be consistent to truly deliver omnichannel customer experiences. However, the truth is, companies, while trying to unify and improve customer experience, are unable to build a comprehensive omnichannel commerce platform.
In the absence of an omnichannel digital commerce system, your customers are fragmented and inconsistent. They are hesitant to close purchases as they believe that they can find a better deal online, maybe in-store or via a different distributor. All of such factors lead to more carts being abandoned, depleting profit margins, and decreasing customer loyalty. Therefore, to succeed, you need a fully integrated omnichannel customer experience that is clear, consistent, scalable and greater than the sum of its parts.
Now that you’re well-oiled as to the imperativeness and necessity of an omnichannel customer experience, the next step is delivering it across every interaction point. But how can you know whether your customers love your current omnichannel commerce platform or if you need to improve customer experience?
In order to truly go channel-less and deliver a consistent, cohesive, and consolidated experience, you need to evaluate your current omnichannel customer experience and prioritize opportunities to make it more memorable.
Your products should be available at every interaction point, including both physical and digital touchpoints. However, when you’re selling on multiple platforms, managing a centralized inventory can be tedious more so if you store order and inventory data in multiple systems. Not only will that lead to conflicting datasets in different systems but an unsynchronized inventory data might lead to overselling or underselling.
To counter the situation, ensure that you display accurate product availability information across all channels- web, app, mobile, and in-store. Manage your platforms in such a way that a customer can browse a product on the social store, find the same on the website, browse consistent product information on the mobile store, and if need be, try it out in a local store.
Blur the lines between digital and physical storefronts by connecting all your platforms to a cohesive inventory management system that gives you a unified 360-view of your inventory, provides insights on best-selling products and top-performing channels, and makes product pages localized for customers from different regions.
Today’s customers don’t just check your products at one channel, but several, which is why inconsistent product descriptions, prices, policies, and imagery might confuse them. Customers find it highly frustrating when the return policies are different on digital and physical channels. Or when they find something different when visiting one of the physical stores than on the digital platforms.
Therefore, delight your customers with the same product descriptions, high-quality images, price and discounts available, applicable checkout codes, shipping and return policies on all the channels. Moreover, regularly audit your channels to see if you’re offering a consistent omnichannel customer experience.
Customers don’t just want to wait around, they want an experience that is flexible, seamless, and well-integrated across multiple channels. Remember, you don’t sell products, you sell experiences, which is why you need to make them as flexible, reliable and engaging as possible. Flexibility in an omnichannel commerce platform include:
Personalization is another imperative wheel to your omnichannel customer experience with over 63% of customers demanding more personalized recommendations. Therefore, personalization should be a part of your entire digital commerce strategy. From sales emails to promotions, all activities must be based on your customer’s behavior, preferences, interests and demographics. Every stage of a buyer’s journey must be personalized so that it feels unique and distinctive. Even while creating ultra-personalized campaigns, it should only cater to a customer and not the entire population.
Before you feel overwhelmed, remember personalized omnichannel journeys and customer experiences are 10 times more appealing and valuable than generic ones.
Your customers are no longer satisfied with half-cooked information. They want clear and unambiguous product and order details before and after checkout. Empowering your customers with a 360-degree view allows them to view and track their orders, buying history, personal details, buying trends, overall spend, etc., at all times, across all touchpoints. They also want transparent and immediately available customer service to update them regarding their deliveries on mobile and desktop systems. In terms of data, they need details as to what you’re doing to keep their payment, order, shipping, etc., information secure. And they want all of this now.
Such a holistic product view across all channels assists customers to visualize their interactions with your brand, improving loyalty and trust quotients.
As an online retailer, you don’t prepare for short-term goals, you prepare for long-term successes. And the trick to achieving it is by taking the omnichannel way. Omnichannel customer experience is what your customers desire. It is the only way you can connect with your customers throughout their buying journeys, unify all your channels for consistency, and a lifetime’s worth of value to your customer’s purchases.
Our experts have vast experience in connecting the disjointed experiences of iconic brands and they can check the health of your eCommerce platform to evaluate whether you’re truly omnichannel or not. Book a free consultation and get ready to provide experiences that your customers will surely love.