Saying that today’s consumer wants it all isn’t an understatement, it’s actually stating a fact. And what’s more, building real brand loyalty means you need to be the business that gives it to them.
Modern-day consumers anticipate they will be able to view your products online, download exclusive offers to their phone through your loyalty program while they browse in your online or brick-and-mortar store, and then be able to boast about their purchase on their Instagram feed before deciding that in the end, they prefer the green sweater over the red, and enjoy a nearly effortless return and exchange experience.
While most competitive brands realize the need to an omnichannel strategy, a significant number stop short of developing a plan to maintain a consistent brand image across all channels. A recent McKinsey Research study found that many brands like The Gap, Williams Sonoma, and Crocs – brands that once seemed to have the corner on brilliant marketing strategy sewn up just a few years ago – are now falling short of creating a fully cohesive omnichannel experience, and the fractures are showing in revenue.
So what defines a top-notch omnichannel experience in modern commerce? How can you avoid some of the bumps in the road on which other brands are stumbling?
Here are 3 of the most important areas on which to focus your attention, and some tips on how to build a unified, high-performing omnichannel experience that boosts both customer experience and customer loyalty.
The 3 C’s: What Makes Great Omnichannel Experience
Maintaining consistency is extremely important when implementing an omnichannel strategy. Creating experiences based on a unified brand presence is part of building a strong brand your customers both recognize and understand on all your brand touchpoints.
As we discussed earlier in the article, with today’s hectic schedules and busy lifestyles, consumers rarely complete a purchase during the same cycle in which they first began shopping, and infrequently finish a purchase using the same device or access point where they first began shopping for your products. A decision to shop for new running shoes often starts on a smart phone, gets comparison shopped on a tablet, gets put into a favorites list on a laptop, and then gets purchased in your store once they’ve tried on the shoes to verify fit and style. Therefore, if you’re not offering a satisfying and similar level of service and satisfaction across all those touchpoints, chances are, you will lose that purchase somewhere in the mix. The service and experience you offer on all channels also needs to flow effortlessly.
Brands that struggle with providing this cohesive flow often do so because they suffer from “Fractured Brand Syndrome.” Fractured Brand Syndrome is often the result of a brand that is struggling to make the most – and best – use of their customer data or is falling behind on their data analytics. Siloed data – customer data that is stuck in different departments and not being stored in one ecosystem-wide CRM – is frequently the culprit behind Fractured Brand Systemand can be the biggest enemy to a successful omnichannel brand strategy. The key is to have a CRM system like Group FIO’s Insight Marketing Platform, which frees your data and provides both a 360-degree viewpoint of your customers.
Maintaining consistency is important when implementing an omnichannel strategy. Creating experiences based on a unified brand presence is part of building a strong brand your customers recognize.While this includes consistency in brand styling, iconography, messagingand tone, it goes deeper than that.
Customers today expect to have a “picking up where I left off” experience whenever they access your brand. Nothing frustrates modern shoppers more than having to start all over again, whether it be entering their demographic information, their search criteria, or their unsaved login information. You need to build an omnichannel whose touchpoints offer a consistent, fulfilling experience whenever they interact with your brand. The need for convenience is a major component of lasting customer loyalty. 86% of consumers indicate that a brand that consistently provides a convenient, easy to navigate online shopping experience is one to which they’ll stay loyal.
Customers are looking for useful, personalized communication from the brands to which they are loyal. As a result, brands that keep customers updated generate higher ROI, and this combination builds real Customer Lifetime Value.
Today, brand to consumer communication can take on many forms: emails, apps, SMS texts, coupons, special offers, blog content, white papers, podcasts, etc.The key to communicating, however, lies primarily in one area: personalization. Customers today expect that whatever communication they receive will be content that is anything BUT generic, run-of-the-mill messaging, but will instead be content that is specifically curated for their tastes, preferences, and behaviors. This includes coupons that reflect their search histories and favorited wish list items, newsletters that showcase their interests, and email drip campaigns that connect with them on topics that add value to them in some way. By utilizing collected customer data, your brand can continually segment your audience and develop specific content that highlights the strength of your brand by its ability to focus customer communication.
Building a Robust Omnichannel Experience: Key Takeaways
Implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy can at first seem overwhelming to businesses concerned their brand might get stretched too thin, but by adopting a comprehensive CRM into your approach and focusing on some key areas of customer experience, it’s entirely possible to achieve. Here are some key take-aways to keep in mind:
Understand your Customer’s Behavior – Find out how customers behave across all channels and how much time they devote to each platform. Create a comprehensive plan as to how you want to translate the experience throughout all touchpoints.
Utilize Data While Strategizing –Using data will help you better understand your customers current behavior and will also help you predict future interactions and outcomes. Based on that, you can plan a suitable solution to address their preferences.
Categorize the Buyers and Personalize the Journey –After analyzing your customer’s data and takingadvantage of tools like zero-party data to understand them from a deeper level, you can categorize your customers based upon common behavioral patterns. From there, you can create a personalized journey for each type of customer.
Send the Right Message to Your Audience –Context is a crucial part of a meaningful omnichannel marketing strategy. Sending the right message to relevant users when and where they are most active helps you to best engage with them.
Go for the Right Marketing Automation Tools –Opt for marketing tools that help you execute, monitor, and measure your strategy. Do your research and pick a CRM like Group FIO’s Insight Marketing Platform, which provides a multitude of functionality and integration opportunities for your brand.
Become a Customer-Centric Organization –A customer-centric organization helps the business engage with customers. If your employees are not trained to focus on the overall experience of customers, no marketing tool or strategy will prove to be beneficial.