Omnichannel marketing is something no business can afford to overlook in the modern age. It refers to the co-ordinated approach customers can expect when it comes to interacting with brands, swapping between platforms and devices sometimes during the course of a single query or engagement. In order to come across as professional and fully in control of their user experience, brands must ensure customers get a consistent response no matter how they contact a company.
Launching a customer-centric omnichannel strategy may seem like a daunting prospect, but if you follow these seven steps, you’ll be able to break it down into the constituent parts and deliver a model example of this type of marketing.
1. Know the difference between multi-channel and omnichannel
You may think that you’re already offering an omnichannel experience to your customers; you have a website, a social media presence and a physical shop. But unless these elements are fully integrated and able to work together, you’re providing a multi-channel experience, where all these disparate elements function separately.
Examples of omnichannel best practice include:
- The same products and information being available across all platforms
- Records of purchases being accessible on different devices or media
- Customer service representatives being able to find entire sets of customer records in one place
- Consumers being able to return products in an alternative way to how they were purchased
2. Get to know your customers
In-depth research is crucial for your omnichannel campaign, as only this will enable you to create the right content at the right time for the right platform. You need to fully understand your customers, their needs and the ways in which they use various channels and devices in order to provide a joined-up experience.
From the information you gather, create fully-formed personas that will help you target your ideal customers. Ensure you know what types of goals they’re trying to achieve, the challenges they face and where they’re approaching your brand from. This will all influence the interactions you have with them going forward.
Among the methods you can use to gain an insight into consumer habits are:
- Customer feedback
- Social listening
- Lead capture landing pages
3. Map out customer journeys
As soon as you have fully-formed personas you can start to map out their end-to-end service journeys across multiple channels. This will enable you to look into all the different permutations of a single journey and build seamless hand-offs between channels into the process. You’ll also get a better understanding of typical end states for customers and then set your goals accordingly.
4. Launch on one new platform at a time
It’s very difficult to get the user experience right on every single channel if you launch them all simultaneously. Launching on a new platform is time-consuming and requires a build-up of confidence and reputation until you find yourself in the right position. That means it makes sense to launch on one platform at a time so you can give it your full attention and ensure everything is functioning properly. Only then can you start to integrate the disparate elements together to create the perfect omnichannel experience.
5. Provide customer service support via social media
Now more than ever, customers turn to social media to get the answers to their questions quickly. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are seen as always-on and consumers expect customer service representatives to get back to them almost immediately. Brands that don’t manage to fulfil that expectation may find that they lose out on sales as a result. Users may then return to the original channel they were purchasing from, but exemplary service can be delivered in the form of the social media representative resolving the issue on that channel instead.
6. Offer help when shopping carts are abandoned
An abandoned online shopping cart should be seen as an opportunity, not a lost sale. Feel free to get in touch with this potential customer and offer your help. Keep away from anything too salesy or desperate language, but check in to see if the user came across a problem and if so, whether you can assist them in resolving it. Not only could this result in a sale, but it’ll also present a helpful image of your brand and leave your customer feeling supported and not harassed.
While email is the traditional method for getting in touch about abandoned carts, there are a number of different ways you can get your message across. Of course, this fits in perfectly with the principles of omnichannel marketing. Make use of SMS, push notifications or retargeting ads in Google or on Facebook.
7. Check out best practice
One of the ways you can make sure your omnichannel experience will be a success is to take a look at the brands that are getting it right. Among them is Disney, which has a well-optimized mobile website and allows you to plan various elements of your trip through its My Disney Experience tool. Once in the park, you can use your app to locate attractions and even see how long the queues are at any one time. Another layer of its omnichannel approach is the Magic Band program that rolls your hotel room key, photo storage and food ordering app all into one.