Here’s the first great thing about omnichannel engagement – it’s seamless. When your business takes up the omnichannel approach, you’re able to offer a consistent, customer intuitive experience that is hassle free irrespective of the channel customers might choose to engage with you. They could find you via digital advertising, social media, your website or eCommerce platform to state a few. The customer could be shopping from their desktop, mobile phone, a store or an app but the onus is on you to make sure they receive the same kind of experience irrespective of the channel or device they use. The new age customers want to take control of how they choose and buy a product or service, be aware of offers and discounts and to shop at their own convenience. The availability of a great many options has made
marketing a customer focused game rather than a product focused one.
It’s great for the customer, yes, but what’s in it for you. The next best thing about omnichannel engagement is that it is proven to increase ROI as customers are more likely to recommend your brand to friends and family. For instance, the a Aberdeen Group revealed that companies with strong omnichannel customer engagements witnessed a 9.5% YoY increase in annual revenue while companies with a weak omnichannel presence saw an increase of 3.4%. It is also important to note that omnichannel customers are likely to stay with the brand for a longer time. With strong omnichannel engagement, therefore, comes brand recognition and customer loyalty both of which have a steady impact on ROI. A Worldplay research stated that omnichannel shoppers spend anywhere between 50-300% more than traditional shoppers.
While the benefits of omnichannel customer engagement platforms are undeniable in terms of bringing a consistent and personalized customer experience, and improving revenue, how are they important to businesses that heavily lean on online selling? Online retail and eCommerce are booming in India with the number of online shoppers predicted to touch 185 million by 2020. The Indian eCommerce sector is\ estimated to outdo the US market by 2034 due to the growing number of internet and smartphone users along with increasing revenues pumping into this sector.
The picture is rosy, indeed, but the fact is online retailers are struggling to meet growing expectations from consumers and to simultaneously deploy innovative technology to gain the competitive edge. They require a two-pronged approach that helps them integrate advanced technology that would ensure smooth business operations and ensure a seamless, consistent customer experience.
Things have drastically changed from the times when consumers had to travel to a physical store only to find the size or style they needed were missing from the inventory. The Indian consumer quickly adapted to buying online but is now moving on rapidly to omnichannel engagement, with the online experience being only a piece of the puzzle. The value of online shopping earlier used to come from pricing and convenience, but the consumer is now considering price as only one factor among a number of other considerations. Online exclusive businesses are beginning to realize that physical stores are inevitable, and a mix of online and offline channels are needed to engage customer needs. Physical stores turn out to be expensive, but many businesses are coming up with novel concepts such as mini stores to deliver a high-quality customer experience.
Businesses like Van Heusen, Raymond’s , Pepperfry and Adidas in India are changing the way customers engage through omnichannel platforms. Along with online shopping, these businesses are creating opportunities for omnichannel engagement bringing a whole new and different shopping experience that is completely customer centric. Van Heusen and Raymond’s for instance have set-up digitally intensive stores where customers are given a unique fitting experience through virtual trials on iPads or “virtual trial mirrors”. The customer can only order using the iPad upon choosing products in the Raymond’s concept store. Style and fit suggestions are based on the customer’s journey with these businesses and on real-time responses to queries.
Adidas introduced its “endless-aisle technology” using which consumers can browse and find what they need at the store and a retailer can have a product delivered to the customer if it’s not available.
Pepperfry has come up with the “Studio Pepperfry” concept where interior design experts help out customers choose furniture based on their taste and budget and after they have decided, can order online.
While these are a few examples of omnichannel engagement, customers can do any of the following with this feature:
- Order in-store through an app or online channel to be delivered
- Order online to pick up at the store or to be delivered
- Order through app or online from one store for pick up from another store
Providing such options offers multiple channels for the customer to experience your service and nudges them to the next level of the purchase process.
A great customer experience, however, is possible only if you have a hold over the data. To deliver a seamless experience, you need to keep track of the customer’s choices, preferred channels and touchpoints. Customer insights help you follow their behavior and plan your marketing campaigns accordingly and make way for better lead generation. Being a unified platform, omnichannel engagement enables working with all the data on a single dashboard and devise strategies efficiently. Depending on the most effective channels for ROI, you can come up with a channel specific personalized strategy that would benefit your business.
Making sure your brand is present across all channels increases brand credibility and recognition. It also makes it easier for your business to connect with consumers. Engaging customers in real-time using chatbots, video calling, and co-browsing helps you respond to customer queries efficiently and quickly resolve any issues they might have. Other advantages that omnichannel marketing can bring in include unified order management, promotions and marketing strategies and single inventory across all stores which make your business more efficient and competitive.
Without doubt, omnichannel engagement is the way forward for online businesses looking
to improve customer experience, revenues, achieve brand recognition and gain a technology savvy