4C Associates’ Carissa Dzwonek explores how omnichannel retailers can leverage the latest solutions to become all-knowing.
Omni-channel retail is nothing new. Any business with a bricks and mortar presence, coupled with an online offer can claim to operate across multiple channels. More advanced organisations develop frictionless offers across channels, enabling them to convert customers effectively, regardless of the device or medium they choose to make their purchase from.
A smaller number of retailers are able to offer their customers a truly seamless experience while constantly refining and updating their methods. This means going beyond simply ticking the boxes and having an online, in-store and mobile channel, but providing a custom built system, which evolves alongside consumer trends. This is where most retailers fall flat and fail to make use of the latest solutions to gather and analyse customer data and use it to constantly improve and refine.
Data driven and customer centric
To be omniscient means having complete knowledge of all things. In this context, to know what customers will want before they do. In 2017, the most successful omni-channel retailers are able to link each channel and use learnings from one to improve the other.
There are examples of businesses seamlessly sewing together their omnichannel efforts. Starbucks was one of the first to see the potential offered by combining apps and in-store retail experiences. Their app gives customers the ability to check and reload their Starbucks card balance, as well as collect points in-store.
All updates are handled in real-time, giving customers the satisfaction of instant top ups and rewards, across all channels. The app works alongside a physical card, should customers prefer to use plastic, or across any connected device. The app is a one stop shop, seamlessly satisfying customer’s coffee needs.
One can only guess what valuable insights the company is able to gather from customer interactions. What does the customer drink? Where do they purchase it? Do their tastes change depending on the season? Is there a time when they might be more susceptible to promotions? Which push-notifications are most effective?
It is this type of uncomplicated and expansive approach that ensures customers keep coming back and businesses are able to evolve alongside changing tastes.
The future is connected
Omni-channel marketing is about much more than simply having different channels, it’s about bringing them together. Customers benefit from this approach as it provides a frictionless purchase journey, one where they can do what they want when they want, using the channel that most suits them at that moment.
Businesses benefit by learning from customer behaviour and optimising spend and effort accordingly. Each channel learns from the next, allowing for the analysis of invaluable data. If properly explored, the latter will help uncover opportunities for expansion, areas which should be scaled back and opportunities for new business.
Being an omniscient retailer means proving the ultimate experience to your customers and providing what they want when they want it. Few people shop through a single medium anymore. Consumers buy goods in-store and online, regardless of whether they are purchasing from an established company or a start-up. Perpetual evolution is the present not the future for businesses looking to thrive.