Retailers – 3 Steps For The Ultimate Omni-Channel Experience 2017
Retailers are working hard to cultivate customer loyalty. One of the defining approaches of the last few years is a focus on creating a coherent customer-centric journey, across every channel (Omni-channel).
Customers don’t want to be limited to interacting with retailers through single channels. In store, social media, m-commerce sites and apps, phone, catalogues, and email all provide methods to communicate and sell to customers. Instead of interactions taking place through one channel, customers want retailers that make it easy for them to switch seamlessly between channels.
The emergence of social media as a customer service medium and shops that act as collection points for internet orders are two examples of Omni-channel in action.
An omni-channel approach is generally for larger merchants, or at least those with the capital to offer a range of channels to customers. Despite steps in the right direction, many are still struggling to achieve the seamless transition that modern consumers need. At the same time, traditional e-commerce giants are encroaching on brick and mortar retail, as we have seen with the launch of Amazon book and food stores.
Retailers can’t wait another year before going fully Omni-channel. Especially when economic uncertainty could increase the downward pressure on brand loyalty and spending habits.
Three Steps For The Ultimate Omni-Channel Experience
#1: Capitalise on data personalisation
Another popular buzzword in recent years has centred on “big data.” Retailers can access more data than ever, thanks to email, search and social media; all of which complement and strengthen the insight that already exists within CRM’s. Only those who know what they are doing with this data can deliver fast-paced customer-centric solutions.
Find the most effective ways to deploy technology that will put relevant insights into the hands of customer service and sales staff, across every channel. Be mindful of data protection laws, of course. Think relevant and timely, not creepy. With the most relevant insights, you can personalise emails, in-store experiences and remarketing, thereby increasing turnover and profitability.
#2: Create a single view of customer interactions
Customers rarely forget interactions with brands. Whereas with brands, each interaction is one of several hundred or thousand each day. The problem is, with more channels comes more challenges. For example, customers with a complaint are forced to engage through a single channel. Switching channels means telling the same story to more staff, increasing the chance the message gets confused, and the customer will leave unhappy with the interaction.
A better solution for customers is to ensure that every interaction, across every channel, is recorded in CRM software everyone can access.
#3: Use location-based experiences
Location-based retail and augmented reality (AR) are two things we should expect more in 2017. In-store beacons, coupled with opt-in location alerts, could inform customers when there are offers in stores where they live and work. Luxury retailer, Barney’s in New York, sends push alerts when customers are nearby, which has improved in-store sales.
The most popular game of 2016 – with over 500 million downloads, Pokémon Go, has demonstrated the value of augmented reality. Forward-thinking retailers with younger customer-bases could use a similar concept to create an immersive retail experience.
Moving forward, we can expect 2017 to be the year Omni-channel consolidates the gains already made in 2016. Instead of operating in silos, or attempting to join up disconnected platforms, forward-thinking retailers will soon seamlessly converge digital and physical retail to create impactful experiences for customers.
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