Omnichannel, understood as providing customers with a consistent sales experience, is one of the major e-commerce trends in 2018. But how to create successful omnichannel strategy? And how to use excellent product experience to deliver more revenue? Read the full article to get the answers to all your questions.
Omnichannel starts with multichannel
It may sound a bit strange that the omnichannel discussion starts with multichannel, which of course is another of retail industry favorite buzzword. However, it makes sense if you think about it for second.
Brands and retailers must deliver targeted content to an ever-growing set of direct, social, and marketplace channels. At its core, omnichannel is defined as a multichannel sales approach that provides the customer with an integrated customer experience.
So, how do you want to build this seamless customer experience in all your sales channels when you don’t have enough sales channels to begin with? The answer is simple – you can’t. Not until you implement good multichannel marketing strategy and offer customers the choice to buy wherever they prefer to browse and shop products.
To close the omnichannel gaps, make sure that:
- All sales touchpoints are identified
- A company-wide point of reference for product information is established
- All marketing and sales channels are synced
- Product description inconsistencies are eliminated
Harmonize your product information
Creating seamless omnichannel experience for your customers is impossible without investing in your organization’s technology capabilities. Even if you have an excellent in-house IT team, you might not yet have skillset or vision needed to kick off an omnichannel transition and see it through to completion.
For example, a Product Information Management (PIM) software is the backbone of any robust multichannel or omnichannel philosophy.
PIM platforms are designed to support quick and easy accessing, preparation, mastering, and protection of product-related data. Moreover, thanks to easy integration with other systems (ERP, your webshop, MDM portals), effectively used PIM quickly becomes the heart of every successful retail business. Not only can it store product information, but it is also packed with lifesaving features such as Digital Asset Management (DAM), language support or bulk editing.
Product Information Management platforms are the perfect solution for both marketers and e-commerce managers, who want to save time, boost teamwork, and expand more easily to new market channels. Click To Tweet
So, does your business use a quality PIM platform yet? If not (or if this is the first time you’ve heard of a PIM), you might need to hire experts. Their guidance can help in choosing the most effective solution for your company. One which scales well and allows you to quickly develop and integrate with a range of third-party software tools.
When considering PIM software, draw up a checklist of what it should be capable of, such as:
- operating in the Cloud (SaaS service)
- ensuring easy integration with other systems (based on APIs)
- enabling a wide cross-department collaboration
- having quality translations and localization tools
- having a powerful Digital Assets Management
- ensuring a widget-based dashboard and real-time analytics
Omnichannel strategy in practice
Let’s use a real-life example to explain how the omnichannel actually works. So, there’s a company that is selling shoes and sneakers. A big player in the U.S. with many physical showrooms and a great, easy-to-navigate website.
Now imagine this…
- A first-time customer without an existing account visits the website and is immediately welcomed with a “$5 off” offer but ignores it.
- The customer navigates around the website and ultimately adds a pair of shoes to the cart. However, he doesn’t finalize the order and leaves the page. Pretty common behavior, right?
- Now it’s time for the “hey, wait a minute” suprise. When the customer moves the mouse to right upper corner in order to leave the website, a similar “$5 off” message is popping up, this time accompanied by an email opt-in.
- Thanks to cookie tracking, the customer is served with a series of ads for the same pair of shoes and “$5 off” coupon on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. All of them are smartly staggered over a week’s period to ensure the customer don’t become overwhelmed and thus frustrated by seller’s ads.
- After a while, the customer returns to the website, and then visits the sneakers sections.
- In response, a new round of social ads appear as does an email with two alterations: first, they all feature summer collection of sneakers, second, the incentive is raised to “$7 off.”
- This time, the customer fills out the shipping information, but at the last confirmation screen he decides not to buy the sneakers, so he leaves. Another day, another abandoned cart.
- The good news is that the company recognizes that the customer’s address is just few miles away from one of their showrooms in Houston, Texas.
- Two days later, the customer gets an email with personalized invitation to check out the new summer collection of sneakers at the showroom nearby his home address.
- Finally, the customer stops by and buys a pair of classic black and white sneakers.
- When the customer arrives home, there’s a “Thank You” email waiting for him and a week later another email arrives to ask him to review the sneakers. He responds immediately and gives a 5 out of 5 stars rank.
- Given that the customer is so happy with his new pair of sneakers, the following week he receives a message on Facebook from the Marketing Department. The message is outlining their “Refer-a-friend” program.
- The customer decides to invite a friend. For becoming company’s ambassador, he earns $10 coupon for next purchases. This referral program drives the prices down further, but more importantly – it helps gaining more customers in the process.
- In the meantime, all of the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube ads have stopped for this customer.
In the omnichannel, every customer interaction improves the overall experience of your product and brand. As the customers are placed at the center of your business, your marketing activities should be smartly aligned to their actions, no matter if they’re performed online or in real life.