Today’s customers demand information ANYWHERE & ANYTIME. And with the rapid digital advances and technological changes, marketers are scrambling trying to keep up. Most would agree that it is imperative to have a presence on multiple channels but that is not enough. Consumers expect a seamless experience, an omni-channel experience.
Omni-channel goes well beyond matching your storefront colors to your website colors. Take a time to look at our perspective on omni-channel to help reap the benefits of implementing this type of customer experience.
What is Omni-Channel?
Before implementing an omni-channel strategy, it is important to understand what it is. Tech Target defines omni-channel as “a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar store”. With the plethora of platforms available for consumers to engage with a business, shoppers expect their experience in-store, online and across devices to be complementary and fluid. Much easier said than done, but it all starts with understanding your ubiquitous customer.
Understanding the Omni-Channel Customer
Every person prefers a different way to search. With all the possible paths a consumer can take to complete a purchase, it is important that you can reach them on all devices. Marketo researched the shoppers multi-device buying path and here is what they found:
Knowing this information can effectively guide how you are going to connect and market to your customer according to their progression. Since most tend to start a search on a mobile device, you can assume they are on the go while searching and might have seen something in a store that prompted their search. Part of an omni-channel experience is creating convenience for a customer. When a shopper continues their search on a computer, it is important to recognize their previous interests and help fill in any information gaps that they weren’t available to find during a mobile search.
Tips for Omni-Channel Success
Gather consumer data transparently to build trust as well as to show the customer a valuable return for providing informative data. Use the data built thorough profiles on each of your valuable customers to learn how they behave online and in store through their buying journey. This will allow you to market them the most appropriate lines of communication and offers in each channel.
According to Google, one in four consumers steer clear of stores because they lack information on stock availability. Local inventory ads (LIA’s) is a digital tool that can be used to show where products searched for online are in stock at nearby stores. Access to this information creates a coherent path for a consumer’s online to offline buying journey. Personalize communication with your customers by addressing content related to previous purchases and complementary products.
Neal Mohan, Google’s vice president of display advertising, said “90% of consumers start a task on one device and finish it on another”. It is important that a consumer’s items remain in their cart while they toggle back and forth between their mobile device and their desktop. It is also important that your online website is adaptable on mobile devices and apps. Having a similar appearance and features across multiple devices will ensure easy usability.