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 higher when interacting 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.
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Moving between online devices and crisscrossing on and off-line in almost everything we do is a fact of life. More interestingly, we aren’t likely to be doing different activities on different mediums or devices. Instead, it is expected to be different phases or stages of the same activity, such as purchasing 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 civilisation 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 more significant impact in marketing, if you have not, the window is still ajar for you to develop an omnichannel strategy. In this article, we will share some of the 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:
- What the customer wants
- When they want it
- How they want it
While this may sound simple, you should expect differences across the different segments of your target audience. These differences have to be accounted for in your strategy. To this end, you must undertake a deep dive into 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.
Crucial challenge businesses must overcome 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 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 impressive that till today, some brands and businesses still get it wrong. Your website is probably the first, and 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
While it makes sense to do so, it comes with a risk. In their eagerness to launch omnichannel presence, businesses mistake putting them all out at once. They must work in concert perfectly all the time. If they don’t, and this will negatively impact the seamless experience people desire, it 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 equivalent experience for every channel. Remember that people use different channels for various reasons. They can be different. However, 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 accessible to the eye.
Each augments the other. For the customer, it is a smooth passage from one stage of the journey to the next. 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.
With so much to gain, it’s surprising that more organisations aren’t further along with the omnichannel roadmap unless you consider the expenses, time, and potential hurdles involved in developing a seamless customer purchasing experience.
You’ll need to answer a few crucial questions, such as what your ultimate aim is. Are you focusing too much on acquiring new customers? Is there enough focus in your approach on keeping the clients you already have? Which individuals of your team will be the most effective in each area of the move to an omnichannel strategy? Which systems should be linked together, and which should be upgraded or retired?
The future of digital marketing is omnichannel, and moreover answers to these will become your omnichannel marketing roadmap. To learn more about omnichannel strategies or web design Melbourne based, connect with us now!