Your brand needs to be more than just a logo!
Digital marketing has created incredible opportunities for businesses to connect with potential customers. However, for many it has also allowed an overly saturated market to grow. As a creative agency, we cannot scroll on Instagram without being hit with another shiny new ‘social media expert’ popping up on our feed. The amount of choice available to customers is incredible, but how do you ensure your business not only stands out in the crowd, but also provides an incredible experience regardless of your product or service?
Table of Content:
- What is an omnichannel customer experience?
- What’s the difference between multichannel and omnichannel?
- Why is an omnichannel experience important?
- How does an omnichannel experience create more valuable customers?
- Create your own omnichannel customer experience:
What is an omnichannel customer experience?
An omnichannel customer experience means a customer can interact with your business across multiple channels as part of one seamless customer journey. Marketing, sales, customer support and even in-store experiences are synced up so a customer can easily go from one customer channel to another to complete their purchase.
Having multiple channels to interact with customers is now the norm for businesses. In fact, customers who interact with your business through more than one touchpoint, e.g. social media, company website and a physical store, are more likely to convert and become repeat customers.
Connecting all these touchpoints to create an omnichannel customer experience can improve a customer’s interaction with your organisation and improve your overall branding message.
Examples of an omnichannel experience and how to create one.
We know the word omnichannel is probably a little foreign, so the concept can be a hard one to digest.
Let’s use an electronics store as an example. A potential customer is browsing Facebook when they see an advert for a new air fryer (tell me you are in your 30s without telling me you are in your 30s). They click the ad to be taken through to the store’s Facebook page, where they find out more about the air fryer, it’s features and read customer reviews.
From here, they click through to the store’s website to order the air fryer. Unfortunately, they find that the model air fryer they wanted is not in stock, so they click the live chat option on the website to ask when it will be back on sale. The staff member informs them that the air fryer they want is actually in stock at the customer’s nearest store. The staff member reserves the air fryer for the customer at the store and, the next day, the customer goes to the store to purchase the air fryer. insert happy dance from customer
The customer had five different touch points with the company: Facebook ad; Facebook page; website; live chat; and in-store. Each touchpoint was connected to the next to give them a seamless journey through the sales funnel, from awareness right through to purchase. They had a perfect omnichannel customer experience.
What’s the difference between multichannel and omnichannel?
The difference between a multichannel and omnichannel customer experience is the level of connectivity between the different customer contact channels. In both, the customer can interact with your business across different digital and offline channels, but in a multichannel experience, these channels are NOT connected to each other.
Lots of businesses provide a multichannel experience, but that doesn’t equate to an omnichannel experience. Take the previous electronics store as an example once again. The customer sees the Facebook ad for the air fryer and clicks through to the Facebook page. Good start! However, there is no direct link from the Facebook page to the air fryer on the website, so the customer has to search for the item.
They manage to find the right web page and see that their preferred model is not in stock. There is no way to contact the company from that page, so they have to search for the contact number to get in touch with a staff member. insert frustrated sigh from customer
The staff member tells the customer that the air fryer of their dreams is in stock at their local store, but they are not able to reserve it for them. The next day the customer heads to the store and finds that the very last air fryer in the model they wanted has been sold. The customer journey ends; they are left frustrated and without a brand new air fryer, and the store lost a sale.
As we can see, whilst the customer still interacted with the store through five different touch points, they were not connected, giving more opportunities for the customer to abandon the sale.
Conversely, during an omnichannel customer experience, the different touch points are all connected. The customer moves seamlessly from one to the other, improving the customer experience and conversion rate for the business. In the most simple of forms, what we are looking for is an easy purchasing journey for our customers with minimal (read: no) barriers.
Why is an omnichannel experience important?
Giving your customers an omnichannel experience is important as it improves their encounter with your business and brand, which in itself increases sales.
A survey carried out by the Harvard Business Review (A Study of 46,000 Shoppers Shows That Omnichannel Retailing Works) found that omnichannel customers spend more than single-channel customers. They studied the shopping behaviour of just over 46,000 customers who made a purchase during a 14-month period and found 7% were online-only shoppers and 20% were store-only shoppers. The remaining majority (a massive 73%) used multiple channels during their shopping journey!
How does an omnichannel experience create more valuable customers?
1. Loyalty - The improved customer experience achieved through an omnichannel interaction also boosts brand loyalty. A study by ClickZ found that customers who connected with a brand through three or more channels were 90% more likely to buy from that brand again. Customers don’t like being frustrated - if they find a brand that gives them great customer service, they will stick with it, meaning one-time customers turn into repeat customers.
2. Personal experience - Not only can customers interact with your business through their favourite method, they can also use these methods simultaneously to meet their personal needs. For example, if a customer is shopping in-store for a product they have seen on your app, they can show an employee the product to help them find it. This personalisation improves the customer experience and increases the chance of a potential customer becoming a paying customer.
Check out the Ultimate Guide to the Omnichannel Customer Experience:
Create your own omnichannel customer experience
Understand your audience
The most important thing to remember about creating an omnichannel customer experience is that it needs to deliver what your customer wants, when they want it and how they want it. The first thing to do before setting out on any strategy is to do some deep research on your customers to truly understand the people who make up your audience (check out your Google Analytics for some deep dive insights).
Depending on the demographic you’re looking to target, the balance to strike between online and offline channels will differ considerably. Additionally, depending on the type of service or product you offer, you might have a very niche audience all looking for the same thing or you might have a mixed audience, so you’ll need to develop several customer personas to build your strategy around.
Map your customer journey
After identifying who your customers are and what channels they use to interact with you, you need to map out the journey they take to purchase a product (again, Google Analytics can definitely help here). With this map, you can highlight areas where an omnichannel experience can be implemented or enhanced.
For example, when mapping a customer journey, you might notice that you lose a lot of customers between the ‘review basket’ stage and the ‘complete purchase’ stage on your website. Perhaps customers are struggling to edit their basket so end up abandoning the purchase?
A solution could be to install a live chat option on the ‘review basket’ page. This way, if customers encounter difficulties editing their basket, they can quickly contact a staff member for assistance.
By mapping out customers’ journeys, it is easy to spot opportunities for an omnichannel experience and identify what resources you need to implement it.
Implement omnichannel support services
To create an omnichannel customer experience, customers should be able to communicate directly with a staff member on the channel they are currently interacting with. Live web chat, for example, is a popular contact channel for companies and customers to use as it enables instant communication on any page of a website. Plus you can easily do this with your Facebook messenger app, ensuring messages go to the one spot. After all, integrating all possible contact channels is the best way to support a seamless omnichannel customer experience.
If you need help setting up your Facebook messenger on your website, please reach out to us today!
Enable an omnichannel experience including post-sale
Many companies can offer a seamless experience during the beginning stages of the customer journey, but what about later on? What about post-sale omnichannel customer experience? For example, imagine the electronics example one last time. In this case, the online store has the customer’s air fryer model so they purchase it online. When the air fryer arrives (yay), it is too big for the customer’s bench top (we know we are stretching, stay with us here) and the customer needs a smaller model. Rather than messing around with posting the air fryer back, they go to their local store to exchange it.
The customer arrives at the store to be told that because the air fryer was not purchased in-store, it cannot be exchanged in-store. The customer is left frustrated and has to repackage the air fryer and pay for postage to send it back. They get a refund and choose not to purchase the air fryer in a different size.
The omnichannel strategy was only applied to the beginning stages of the customer journey. When the customer needed to engage in a further exchange with the brand post-sale, the omnichannel experience didn’t extend as far as it needed to in order to keep the customer satisfied.
Scale your content to fit different screens
It’s all well and good trying to create an omnichannel customer experience, but if content isn’t optimised properly for different screens, you can often fall down at the first hurdle.
Unfortunately, not all websites automatically optimise their content for different screen sizes (not just small companies fall victim to this - even the Facebook banner image from app to desktop falls short). Not doing this can disrupt your customers' online journey. In the worst cases, this can deter online customers from making a purchase or using your website in the future.
The purpose of an omnichannel experience is to enable your customers to interact with your brand with ease and fluidity, switching across different channels as they choose.
Don’t forget about your physical store
One thing to remember is that although digital channels account for an increasingly larger share of the market, physical stores are by no means defeated. For an effective omnichannel strategy to work, it’s important to understand that your customers are very rarely purely online or offline. It’s all well and good integrating your online channels with one another, but if you have a physical store you need to ensure it is part of the strategy, otherwise, the omnichannel customer experience is not complete.
Omnichannel marketing is the seamless integration of branding, messaging, and online and offline touchpoints as consumers move down the sales funnel, enabling a more impactful customer experience. Remember that your brand can and should stretch further than just a logo - the opportunities are endless.
Michelle Trimble is a degree qualified marketing specialist who is passionate about breaking down the barriers business owners face when it comes to digital marketing!
After nearly 10 years working in the industry, Michelle decided to start Poppy Seed Media with the mission to provide more accessible marketing services.
Every business has the right to incredible marketing!
Michelle has provided marketing training to hundreds of individuals, working with businesses around the world to improve their overall strategies. Locally she is a marketing trainer for Central Coast Community College and will be launching her own series of online social media marketing courses later this year.
If you would like to book a 30 minute free discover session with Michelle, you can connect with her here.