How innovative brands are tackling omni-channel experiences
Whether you are B2B or B2C company, the modern customer engagement landscape spans a seemingly endless number of channels, both traditional and digital.
In today’s world, customers are no longer confined to a single channel or platform and are quick to adopt the latest trends and emerging technologies just as they are likely to abandon them overnight. In fact, more than half (55%) of buyers will actively take steps to switch brands in light of new technology (even if they’ve been satisfied with recent purchases).
According to Salesforce, 54% of customers think that businesses need to change the way they engage with them, while two thirds say that the most important thing a company can do to provide good service, is to value their time.
What 2020 taught us is the need to get comfortable with dizzyingly blurred lines as people change their behaviours quickly and marketers, sales people and customer support staff, will need to react faster than ever before. As people shift to buying online and with increased social distancing for retail stores, it means that an omni-channel approach is now a necessity.
With e-commerce transactions at an all-time high, a seamless digital experience can solve issues and create life-long customers. Buyers are used to immediate responses from real-time communication with more than 90% of buyers using multiple channels to engage with a business when making a single purchase.
Omni-channel marketing creates a 360 degree experience for customers, connecting what they do at every point of contact with the retailer. When all these channels are connected and play to their respective strengths, it can really pay off.
For example, Ikea has been an innovator in marketing for years. Its most significant step in omni-channel is the company’s new Planning Studio stores. These small, appointment-driven urban stores are specifically aimed at city dwellers – especially those who don’t own cars and therefore don’t visit the out-of-town warehouses.
The stores don’t hold much stock and instead encourage customers to pre-book appointments to then plan a kitchen or bathroom using 3D planning tools. The fancy tech isn’t just for show. Everything that is learnt in-store and whatever is created are all logged within the customer’s account. Orders are then facilitated by superb logistics, which use the larger warehouse stores to provide rapid deliveries and installation.
A quick look at Starbucks or Costa Coffees’ apps will reveal why many consider these to be top omni-channel experiences. Not only do you get rewards that you can use whenever you buy your coffee, it’s also possible to check your balance and reload your card via phone, website, instore or through the app. Any changes to the account are updated across all channels in real time.
New channels are developing through tech innovation all the time and, as ever, customer adoption will outpace retailers’ capabilities. Don’t make your customers work hard to find your company to experience its products and services. A thoughtful, well executed online experience that allows your customers to help themselves is a fast way to win brand loyalty.