Omni-Channel Is Trending: Here’s Why
Consumers aren’t limited to in-store experiences when they’re shopping. E-commerce, mobile commerce and third-party marketplaces allow consumers to shop where they want. Omni-channel is the common buzzword regarding a unified brand with communication across multiple channels which enhance the customer experience. The buzzword is heard often in business circles, but it’s more than a hyped trend. Google reports omni-channel customers represent a 30 percent higher value over the customer’s lifetime, than customers who only shop using one channel. So what does your business need to provide the omni-channel shopping experience that your customers are looking for?
One of the biggest challenges with an omni-channel experience is keeping brand consistency across multiple avenues. Your in-store, mobile and online shopping experiences have their own unique facets, but they must provide a unified experience no matter which channel, or channels, the customer chooses to use.
At the most basic level, establishing brand consistency means matching up brand colors, logos and content across each channel. However, true brand consistency goes far beyond that: Written, verbal and online communications must share the same voice and ideation; product inventory should be synchronized across mobile, online and in-store; and features like loyalty programs should seamlessly work no matter which channel the customer engages with.
Live chat and phone support need to mirror the role of the in-store sales associate for customers who need help with product selection, purchasing and other concerns. Salesforce reports 45 percent of customers abandon online transactions if they don’t get timely help with the purchasing process, making quality customer support a cornerstone of the omni-channel customer experience.
The Role of Retail Mobile Data Collection
Proper brand consistency requires many moving parts to work together. This level of coordination is assisted by technology such as retail mobile data collection, which gathers vital information regarding the in-store experience. Data points collected with the help of field teams and sales teams include information about display styles, the lack of inventory, out-of-stocks and other problems leading to brand inconsistency. Customers move across multiple channels during the shopping experience using technology. Google reports that 71 percent of consumers say their smartphones are a critical aspect of in-store purchasing. A reported 66 percent of shoppers using smartphones for research have checked whether your store is the closest one for the product they need. If you don’t have it and nothing similar fits the bill, you most likely lost that customer to a store with unified channels. You have to eliminate the obstacles that hurt the omni-channel experience.
Optimizing In-Store Retail Execution
Retail mobile data collection provides real-time information that connects distributors, manufacturers and retailers with vital information on how their brands are faring at any given moment. Real-time data is essential for quickly adjusting to seasonal demand, viral demand and sudden unpredictable fluctuations that can rapidly affect retail execution. Not only is it important to optimize in-store retail execution, doing so provides you more time and resources to focus on advertising, marketing and online and mobile e-commerce.
You get many benefits from promoting an omni-channel experience, but it’s important to nail the brand consistency across every channel that your customer encounters. By providing a unified customer experience, you improve your lifetime customer value and create more satisfied customers overall.