Is Your Business Using an Omni-Channel Approach Yet? This Is Why It Should Be
If you operate under multiple business channels, it is vital to know that your customers are looking for a seamless experience across all of them. Whether they are in your store, speaking to a representative in your call center, or browsing your website, they hope for and rightfully expect consistency.
For example, have you ever experienced the annoyance of mismatched in-store and website prices? It’s frustrating.
And, given that two-thirds of customers are likely to browse online before buying in-store (according to Retail Dive’s 2017 survey), consistency is something that every business needs to be getting right.
So, where does ‘omni-channel’ come into creating consistency?
Here, we’ll explain exactly what omni-channel means, shed light to some common misconceptions, and explain the value it will bring to your customers and your business.
What is an omni-channel approach?
Many customer-facing businesses are now using multiple customer touch points: in-store, app, web chat, WhatsApp, and more. Is this an omni-channel or multi-channel approach? Well, that depends on how these channels are being operated and managed.
Do your channels share common goals? Objectives? KPIs? Are they managed by the same team? If the answer is no to any of the questions above, then your approach can be considered multi-channel, not omni-channel.
What difference does it make, you might ask? Multi-channel focuses on the operation of each channel separately. Some of these channels may be providing excellent customer service and experiences.
However, customers using more than one channel will not be getting the consistency they need and expect, unless the experience of switching between channels is seamless.
An omni-channel approach makes a considered and applied effort to connect up all touch points for a flawless, unified customer experience.
What exactly might a customer experience using the omni-channel method?
Imagine this scenario. You run a cosmetics and fragrance store. A customer has browsed for specific perfumes on your website. They’ve placed an item in the basket but have not completed the transaction. What can you do to encourage them to make a purchase?
An omni-channel approach allows for timely, personalized and relevant engagement with your brand. The customer might get an email with related, interesting content.
They may come into your store looking for toiletries and be reminded to test the scent through a notification pushed through to their phone using the app. They will see an ad pop up on one of their social media channels.
But, and this is important; they won’t be bombarded using every channel you have at your disposal. This is because all your channels link up.
How can my business become omni-channel?
The key to moving to an omni-channel approach is the ability to link up customer data across all touch points. This will include tracking purchases, social media activity, interactions with customer service, and even in-store interactions.
Choosing the right technology enables businesses to do this. The best customer data platforms can track customer journeys across multiple channels. They can even present this data as a dashboard single customer view. This means that your business can then use the tool as a personalized but automated marketing platform.
What benefits can I expect?
The first piece of good news about going omni-channel is that you get to optimize your marketing budget whilst vastly reducing the risk of irritating and alienating your valued customers.
A more targeted approach provides you with far better value. Interact with your customers only through the channels that they are likely to engage with, reducing your spend on marketing but benefitting from a much higher conversion rate.
The second is that you should experience a significant increase in customer lifetime value.
Using the omni-channel approach builds customer loyalty by improving the customer experience, something that is now as important as pricing and products. By using a customer data platform to understand your customers, you can give them what they want, expect and need through a personalized approach.
To get ahead of your competitors, you must consider how you could transform your business by investing in technology that supports the omni-channel approach today.
Salam Saadeh is Co-Founder of UrbanBuz, a Customer Journey Management Platform that enables businesses to connect, unify, and unlock their customer data to optimize their customer engagement and marketing budget, while delivering personalized connected customer experiences at scale.