What Is Omnichannel Customer Engagement?
Omnichannel customer engagement allows you to meet your clients on your website, Facebook, Instagram and other channels with the same brand presence experienced in your physical stores (if you have them). Can your clients seamlessly surf through all of your online marketing channels on their smartphone, tablet or desktop device? If not, this article can help you deliver a consistent customer engagement experience everywhere, all the time.
In a perfect world, shoppers can check product details and reviews, compare prices and consult social media before committing to a product or service. They may also want to visit your physical store to make sure it lives up to what they read online. If any of these experiences leave a negative impression, they are likely to give their money to your competitor.
Learn more about omnichannel marketing for your eCommerce business and how to use it to build deeper, more profitable connections with customers and prospective customers.
What Is Omnichannel in eCommerce?
Omnichannel marketing focuses on an integrated shopping environment no matter what channel your customers use. Your customer could shop online using their desktop or smartphone to visit your Facebook page or product pages and have a similar experience.
Omnichannel customer engagement strives to create an excellent impression and provide valuable information that helps the shopper make the purchase quickly and confidently.
Here's an example of a leading brand with an effective omnichannel presence online and in stores.
Nike Just Does It When It Comes to eCommerce
The shoe manufacturer's slogan of "Just Do It" aptly describes the way Nike has conquered the omnichannel approach. The NikePlus app collaborates with Apple to connect your new sneakers to your Apple mobile devices. This allows Nike to collect data on customer activities and preferences. In turn, it can provide relevant information, personalized marketing and a unique user experience wherever customers interact with the brand.
Nike has gone big when it comes to customer engagement in their physical stores as well. For example, Nike's SOHO location has a soccer area and basketball court so that customers can choose the shoe that enhances their activities.
Difference Between Multichannel and Omnichannel
Many businesses are already familiar with multichannel marketing. This includes reaching out to customers through different touchpoints including email, direct mail, social media, text messages and digital advertising channels, as well as offering complimentary in-store promotions.
Omnichannel eCcmmerce strategies take multichannel sales and marketing to a new level. You can think of it as a more holistic, integrated approach to customer engagement.
By starting with the assumption that customers use multiple channels, you use technology and branding to provide a cohesive experience wherever your customers find you. This means allowing users to easily find products, gather information and make a purchase.
In omnichannel marketing, no one channel is the center of concentration. Instead, your content, branding and purchasing options all revolve around the consumer.
Here's how multichannel marketing might work for a given customer. A consumer finds a product they like and decides they want it. So, they go to your local retail store to buy it. When they get there, it's out of stock. You've just lost a sale, and possibly a loyal customer.
Enter an omnichannel solution…
Another customer visits your website, finds an item they've been looking for and decides they have to have it. They check online to see if they can get it at a local store. Your CRM tool gives them the location of two nearby stores that have the product and asks if they want to reserve it. Yes, please!
When the customer reaches the store, they provide their information, and the service rep uses a tablet to find the customer's wish list and collect the item set aside for them. The sales transaction takes a few seconds, and away goes a happy, loyal customer who just may buy a few more items in the store.
With true omnichannel marketing, customers remain central to the entire engagement process. Additionally, this is what customers have come to expect. So, eCommerce businesses that fail to provide consistency across devices and platforms risk losing customers to brands that do it better.
Benefits of Omnichannel Customer Engagement
Integrated omnichannel processes enhance the customer experience, increase brand visibility, lead to better analytics and help you achieve high customer retention.
Here are some of the main advantages of an omnichannel marketing approach:
- Better data collection. By unifying customer data gathered through different channels such as device IDs, cookies, social media, shopping carts and point of sale systems, you can build a better picture of the customer's preferences, which is marketing gold.
- Enhance customer segmentation. By developing a 360-degree view of your customers and prospective customers, you can design effective personalized campaigns. For example, if a customer has just bought a dining room set, you could send them an ad for placemats or dinnerware.
- Better brand visibility. Every time the customer communicates with your brand they should see a consistent logo, brand colors, font and style to support your brand image. It's also important to place the same message across all channels, online and offline, in a timely and consistent manner.
- It saves money. Analyzing the omnichannel data will help you determine where to spend your advertising dollars more effectively. For example, you may have a Google ad that garners more responses than your Facebook marketing campaign. You can either make your Facebook ad more consistent with what's working on Google or concentrate on the channel that converts the most customers.
How to Build an Omnichannel Strategy for eCommerce Businesses
There are many things you can do to improve your messaging across various channels. Some of these changes may require an investment in technology and development. However, omnichannel customer engagement comes with a high return on investment and improved profitability when done well.
Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
Approximately 79% of smartphone users buy products and services on their phones. Keeping your website mobile-friendly makes it easier for shoppers to purchase from their smartphones.
Map Your Customer Journey
As you build your omnichannel customer engagement campaign, it's important to create use cases of how your customers will interact with your various channels on different devices and physical locations. You can do this by creating test accounts and checking for gaps or delays between devices.
If your client begins shopping at home on their laptop and picks up where they left off on their cell phone later in the day, they should still be able to access items in their shopping cart and receive any customized messaging they would get on other channels.
Although shoppers carry their mobile devices with them, in-store kiosks can reinforce your digital channels and help shoppers find items in the store.
Provide Consistent Cross-Channel Customer Support
Customers are likely to defect to the competition after a single bad experience. This makes it imperative to provide consistent, excellent support at every stage of the customer journey.
To do this, build a robust support team that can handle email and social media messaging as well as talk to customers on the phone. Train your staff to respond proactively to problems with refunds, understanding and determination to make it right.
Invest In Your Marketing Stack
You may have to invest in your marketing stack prior to achieving omnichannel customer engagement. Consider a mix of tools that increase your exposure and allow you to put consistent messaging in front of your customers everywhere they encounter your brand.
- Powerful website and eCommerce store platforms that allow integration with other tools.
- Easy-to-use tools that help you design, track and automate email marketing campaigns.
- Social media tools that allow you to optimize the timing of ad campaigns and posts.
- Secure CRMs and databases to maintain customer trust and confidence.
- Point of sales tools for sales reps and customers that facilitate pickup and returns for items purchased online.
Deliver seamless customer experiences at all levels of the customer journey. An omnichannel marketing strategy can help you ensure a rich customer experience that converts to more revenue and profitability for your eCommerce business.
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