You’d be hard-pressed to find a single-channel shopper these days. 

E-commerce is rapidly growing, and customers are leaning into the ease and convenience of digital channels — web, mobile, apps, and more. The handful of traditionalists who previously would only shop in a brick-and-mortar store likely gave up those traditions once the pandemic hit, and online shopping became the best (or only) option. 

There’s no going back. Customers are now shopping on more channels than ever before, and the majority prefer these channels. And with stores re-opening around the world, in-store shopping is coming back in full swing. Every channel is in play, and to the customer, no matter where they shop, it’s all the same brand experience.

So your retail marketing execution must consider all channels. 

To deliver on these expectations, keep customers satisfied, and drive business results for your retail brand, you must provide customers with seamless, continuous, and personalized experiences across all touchpoints. This requires you to make omnichannel CX a fundamental marketing priority. 

If Your Brand Experiences Aren’t Omnichannel, It’s a Customer Disservice

Imagine you craft an email that’s perfectly personalized; totally tailored to a customer’s specific needs and interests. But then what if that email goes straight into the customer’s junk email account that they set up exclusively for unwanted marketing messages, and they hardly ever check it? That single-channel communication was ineffective.

Or imagine your website shows banners featuring highly personalized product offers when a customer visits, but when that same customer engages with your brand via your app, those offers are all generic recommendations, no longer relevant. If you’d had consistent personalized offers across all channels, you would’ve connected with the customer.

You probably see where this is going. Single-channel promotions can lead to inconsistent brand experiences, which erode customer trust and negatively impact retention. 

Omnichannel CX, on the other hand, is about putting the customer at the center of your marketing efforts, and reaching the customer wherever they prefer, and are most likely to engage in response.

“This is the biggest mistake I see companies making out there. Please do not do single-channel promotions or single-channel offers … It is not customer-obsessed to make the customer shop in the channel you want them to shop in. That is the opposite of customer-obsessed, that is company-obsessed. It is not worth losing a customer just because you said, ‘We want you to come into the store, or we want you to shop online.” 

Brendan Witcher
VP and Principal Analyst, Forrester

Omnichannel Personalization Drives Business Results

As a retail marketer, the importance for communication on all channels is intuitive. And the most savvy marketers already seek ways to leverage every channel fully, and properly, to yield revenue opportunities. You might even have the tech in place to help do it. 

But having the means to reach a customer on every channel isn’t enough for successful omnichannel CX. Personalizing experiences across channels, all channels, so that the customer sees the most relevant content no matter where they choose to engage your brand, is the true goal. 

Considering the modern shopper will move quickly and effortlessly between multiple channels, having an omnichannel strategy in place will enable you to provide personalized, relevant interactions at precisely the right moment, on the right channel, with the right content — which, from the channel-agnostic customer’s perspective, looks like a seamless, unified brand experience that’s tailored just for them. This increases the likelihood of engagement, and ultimately, drives sales. 

“Having that breadth of channels available to us allows us to be sure that we are hitting the customer where they want to see the most relevant message. So it’s relevance. The personalization is there because we’ve got the data. And because all that information is feeding back in and we’re tracking all of those [channels], we can look at the results of each of our activities and determine the success not only on an engagement level, but also then how that drives sales and [improves] margins for the business.” 

Simon Rowlands
Head of Customer Marketing & Comms, Sally Europe

Connecting All Touchpoints for Greater Customer Insights

“In a post-COVID economy, where and how you find, track, and capture customers will be the game-changer brands need most … Brands will ultimately break through by catering to a customer’s unique tastes in real time.”

Revtrax

Yes, personalization across any and all channels is the goal. But without the right pieces in place, it can be a challenge.

If your data is siloed, you can’t deliver the personalized omnichannel experiences that customers want and expect. You risk creating disjointed customer experiences that differ from channel to channel and ultimately feel irrelevant to the customer. 

To get omnichannel CX right, you need to not only have the breadth of channels available, but you need to have all your data centralized and fully integrated throughout your omnichannel mix so it’s accessible from every touchpoint. This will allow you to more easily identify customers, track their interactions and performance across all channels, and discover greater insights about them. 

And as we’ve learned from VL OMNI, experts in data integration:

“The trend is becoming clear: Integrating your data throughout your business’ omnichannel mix is absolutely essential to keeping your business relevant and profitable.”

— VL OMNI

Having all your channels connected, and sharing the same data, all within your customer engagement platform, will enable you to respond to your customer in real time, no matter when or where they are shopping. 

“For many of us, when we want a new [product], that search often begins online. So with the benefit of Web Extend and being able to track interactions with our website, if an identified customer logs in or searches for a particular product online, we can trigger communications for them immediately …  and across any of the channels that they actually want to engage with us in, whether that’s email, on the website, or through Instagram, because we’re actually transposing those insights across all of our channels, which is really powerful.”

Elisse Jones
National Loyalty Manager, Total Tools

Final Thoughts

Email, website, social media, mobile, app, SMS, in-store, and even direct mail — these are all critical channels for connecting with and engaging your customers.

And even though, with your marketer’s hat on, you may see these as individual channels with their own distinct properties (rightfully so)… to your customer, they’re all just different branches of the same tree. 

Consider how you can fully leverage all the channels in your omnichannel mix. Start connecting 1:1 with customers wherever they interact with your brand, and focus on delivering consistent, seamless, and personalized experiences to customers both online and in-store.

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