How connected are consumers today? In a study conducted by Worldpay, it was reported nearly 7 in 10 will start their shopping experience on one device but finish it on another. In a B2C environment, that may not be surprising. But what about this in a B2B environment – 3 in 5 B2B companies highlighted that buyers spend is higher when they interacted with more than one channel. The study revealed too that B2B companies are increasingly more comfortable using mobile devices during their procurement process. If you do not possess an omnichannel marketing strategy, you are at risk of being relegated in the order of saliency in people’s minds. In fact, you stand to incur a 10% loss in future revenue if you do not have one.
Moving between online devices and crisscrossing on and off-line in almost everything we do is a fact of life. More interestingly is the fact that we aren’t likely to be doing different activities on different medium or devices. Rather it is likely to be different phases or stages of the same activity, for example, to purchase the latest smartphone. We could be reading reviews on our tablet, visiting the store to have a touch-and-feel experience and completing the purchase on our smartphone. If you are pursuing an undergraduate course, it is increasingly common to tune in on a lecture on a dedicated channel on your smart TV, pose a question via Loom on your mobile phone and use a project management platform on your desktop to coordinate with your group mates on a project. It used to be a colony just a decade ago. Now it is a civilization of people who lead connected lives, virtual and physical.
As the world begins to slowly but surely embrace IoT, we can expect the economic contribution of the connected consumer to experience exponential growth. IoT is forecasted to contribute $14 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Businesses without an omnichannel strategy will be swept away by this tide. With technologies like voice search, chatbot, AI, VR and AR poised to make a greater impact in marketing, if you have not, the window is still ajar for you to develop an omnichannel strategy. In this article, we share best practices you can adopt to design it.
1. Get up-close-and-personal with your target audience
The ideal omnichannel strategy is built around these pillars:
i. What the customer wants
ii. When they want it
iii.How they want it
While this may sound simple, you should expect differences across the different segments in your target audience. These differences have to be accounted for in your strategy. To this end, it is imperative you undertake a deep dive of your target audience. The insights you gather will be used to map the customer journey. Ensuring the journey is seamless will make or break their omnichannel experience with your brand.
2. Break down the walls
The way businesses are organised may not be conducive for them to offer a seamless omnichannel experience. Walls separating departments and functions can impede this need. While these divisions may promote organisational efficiency, it matters little to consumers. Paramount to them is the ability to navigate through the channels with ease.
A crucial challenge business must overcome is harnessing digital and human-to-human channels. The latter remains relevant. Businesses tend to make the mistake of overlooking this. Ensuring this synergy between man and machine in delivering a delightful omnichannel experience calls for the breaking down of walls. The clarity in communication between different stakeholders in the business avoids hiccups. These can contribute to delays. At a time when immediate gratification is a need, brands may pay a heavy price for this.
3. Get the basics right
When was the last time you looked at your website across different screens? Perhaps you got it right when you built it – making sure it looks good on any screen. It’s amazing that till today, some brands and businesses still get it wrong. Your website is probably the first, if not second, interaction people have with you. If you do not optimise accordingly to suit different viewing experiences, you would have failed a basic test of your omnichannel presence. Not only will it irritate people but it will negatively impact your SEO ranking. This will make it difficult for you to be found.
4. One channel at a time
In their eagerness to launch of omnichannel presence, businesses make the mistake of putting them all out at once. While it makes sense to do so, it comes with a risk. They must work in concert perfectly all the time. If they don’t, and this will impact negatively on the seamless experience people desire, it is is a disaster in the making.
Our recommendation is to put them out gradually. Perfect every channel before adding others to the line-up. In the course of perfecting them, determine the channels that are working effectively. It should help you decide on other channels to be added in to complement existing ones. Every channel adds to the seamless customer experience. There must serve a purpose, not a vanity exercise.
5. Build an identity for each channel
A seamless experience should not be interpreted as an identical experience for every channel. They can be different. Remember that people use a different channel for different reasons. If the smartphone is used for purchasing, the ease of tapping “Buy” must be present in the user interface. But if it is used to read reviews, then the copy must be easy on the eye.
When you have a deep understanding and appreciation of the customer journey and the roles of each channel in that journey, you’ll be able to develop an omnichannel strategy that is delightful and perhaps surprising too. Each augments the other. For the customer, it is a smooth passage from one stage of the journey to the next.
The future of digital marketing is omnichannel. To learn more about omnichannel strategies or web design Melbourne based, connect with us here.