- By Dave Handelman
Omnichannel marketing for retailers is here to stay. The desktop, the phone, the watch, the tablet, the email, the app and the store have the potential to combine into one seamless experience for the customer. In 2016, we witnessed mobile search outperform desktop, urging marketers to capitalize on consumer behaviors accordingly, and start to seriously consider incorporating the omnichannel paradigm. We predict that omnichannel will soon be the standard for any enterprise that wishes to measure up to its competitors, by offering consumers a cohesive brand experience across every platform.
If you are still hesitant about the omnichannel concept, here are 3 reasons that are sure to change your heart (and your 2017 strategy.)
1. End-to-end Customer satisfaction
Most businesses have implemented a multi-channel approach, wherein channels and solutions are presented to the customer, but operate in tandem, rather than cohesively. For example: A customer finds a product online and is directed to a physical location. They travel to the store only to find the item they wanted is no longer available. The store calls other stores, finds the product and tells the customer to either return at a later date when the item is shipped to them or to go to the other location themselves.
An omnichannel approach is optimal. Each consumer touchpoint is connected and in constant communication with one another. In the above example, if the item would not be in stock, which would be relatively unlikely seeing as the store and the online information would be in unison with one another, the item could be shipped to the right location that day, and ready for the consumer when they come through the door. Ideally, AI would generate intelligent data showing that a certain customer nearby searched for an item, allowing in-store staff to prepare accordingly — even to the point of alerting staff when the individual walked through the store’s doors. How’s that for service?
2. Increased customer loyalty
A 2015 study by IDC highlights the difference between a typical shopper and an omnichannel shopper. Usually, a typical shopper will use one or two channels to shop. Typical shoppers are not necessarily looking for a certain experience, they are only interested in obtaining the product they set out to purchase.
Omnichannel shoppers, on the other hand, are highly valued by businesses as their loyalty increases by 30% when they are presented with an expected level of customer service. Omnichannel shoppers do not have the “brand loyalty” mentality; instead, they are loyal to an experience. As the retailing landscape expands dramatically, consumers expect to be enticed with deals, bargains and rewards, all of which Omnichannel retailers have been able to incorporate successfully.
3. Better ROI
A key philosophy behind omnichannel retailing is the transparency of information. While this often refers to inventory, the transparency of data from all departments is where the omnichannel strategy helps retailers the most. Savvy retailers employ a data to inform all advertising and digital marketing, and many brands are getting close to determining which local searches lead to in-store purchases. Omnichannel retailing allows enterprises to centralize all business data, which then helps determine where visibility is adequate and where it needs attention, ensuring your business makes data-driven marketing and advertising decisions. Furthermore, this data can also aid with sales forecasts, minimizing unpurchased inventory and overproduction costs.
Inevitably, any business not conforming to this new standard will crumble under the might of the consumer. The businesses that choose to implement this dynamic form of retailing (and soon) will reap the profits.