An omnichannel approach is not a hype thing in eCommerce. It has never been a trend and different merchants never treated this conception in the same way. So, why there is a necessity to discuss the omnichannel approach right here and right now? The answer: as new technologies emerge and build new channels for shoppers, why not use this opportunity and create a new and more engaging journey for them?
But first of all, take a look at the term “omnichannel”. According to Wikipedia, Omnichannel is a cross-channel content strategy that organizations use to improve their user experience, which includes channels such as physical locations, ecommerce, mobile applications, and social media. Companies that use omnichannel contend that a customer values the ability to engage with a company through multiple avenues at the same time.
Does this term correlate with your own vision? I’d also add that it’s quite important for the brand to provide a unique tone of voice (experience) for its potential customer through a variety of channels.Image source: Crazy Egg
Weaknesses and typical mistakes when shaping an omnichannel experience
Speed. In the era of technological progress, the word omnichannel automatically implies that you’re using a personalized approach to your customers. No compromise. It means that you are implementing chatbots, messengers, SMS, voice calls with your platforms and they demonstrate a smooth performance. Forever-silent live chats or messengers are taboo things. The deeper we dive into personalization, the more demanding your customer is. If you are showing your presence and willingness to help using the tools mentioned above, do this in real, don’t pretend. Otherwise, you’ll lose the attention and what’s worse – the trust of your customer before he finds out how cool your brand is.
Customers still complain about the slow speed of the shopping process. It means that:
- Certain online stores do not “pamper” their customers with lightning-fast page load speed (neither on desktop nor on mobile devices ). Usually, with proper analytics, it’s very easy to track high bounce rates and losses in profit. But it’s sad that even this kind of data doesn’t usually motivate merchants to optimize their stores.
- Lack of understanding of the UX principles also leads to consequences mentioned above.
- Long delivery will no longer be tolerated unless your product is unique.
- Impossibility to quickly grasp the customer’s attention means a total failure in providing an omnichannel approach. (Example: no physical address of the offline store in social networks with an option of finding the closest one or you fail to remind the customer about your brand with the help of remarketing ).
Metrics. Probably, the weakest point of omnichannel strategy nowadays (and probably has always been). The thing is that it’s not that easy to track the activity of the shopper through the customer journey in your omnichannel strategy. It’s not at all complicated to track the customer’s journey online if you use Google Analytics and other tracking attributes. But it’s a completely different thing offline. One of the options is to ask a customer to enter his profile via the brand’s app. The worthiest option for a brand is to develop a PWA. It’s super-fast and secure.
No doubt, that it’s very good for the brand to provide multiple touchpoints for the customer. But don’t forget to set correct KPI’s for all those channels you use. One more thing becomes quite certain: every merchant should provide unity, coherence, and consistency between the channels ( For example, the prices should be the same through the channels).Image source: Internetsearchinc.com
The truth about the real omnichannel experience in eCommerce
You should know in advance, that creation of a multi-channel experience for your customers requires considerable investments.
Imagine the situation: you are striving to provide an omnichannel approach in your eCommerce business. People love visiting your brick-and-mortar stores, but you don’t know how to track their activity, frequency of their purchases and their tastes after all. Consequently, you’re losing lots of valuable info about your target audience. Probably, you’re even losing some of them forever.
A minute ago you have seen such words: “the worthiest option for a brand is to develop a PWA (Progressive Web Application). But most probably, you haven’t paid much attention to that, have you? So, how are you going to build a multi-channel experience for your customers without a fast app? PWA is a missing element in your omnichannel strategy. If you still doubt, I’ll give you a small insight: Starbucks, Uber, Forbes, Lancome, Twitter, Pinterest, Virgin America have already discovered how vital it is – to provide their customers with a smooth and speedy experience. The list is much longer as you may guess.
Now, imagine that you have an app at last. What kind of advantages do you get:
- information on how many times a certain customer visits your store
- a huge chance not to lose the customer if something is out of stock (as you can organize a next-day-delivery, if possible).
- perfect insights for building loyalty programs and special offers, depending on the preferences of your customers
- a great opportunity to increase the customer LTV
And here’s how you can manage automation for your eCommerce business online.
Let’s sum up
It may take some time before you create a decent omnichannel strategy and implement it. But it’s worth it. And in case you don’t, there is still a no-escape situation for all merchants. What I mean is that a modern customer wants a personalized approach, as well as a quick and simple shopping experience. Like the one each of us experiences when buying via Instagram (which is a PWA as well, if you didn’t know).
Remember that there are different buyer personas and each of them has its own peculiarities. Despite the variety of them, every customer adores when brands exceed their expectations. For example, when the delivery is mega quick (like on the same day) or the seller presents the customers with compliment cards or special free gifts. It’s not a frequent thing, but as the competition is rough, brands try to be creative in their approaches. When they do this, they win.
I wish you inspiration for making good decisions and growth to your business.