Today, shoppers are used to browsing for products, making purchases, and connecting with brands across multiple channels, whether that’s on the company’s ecommerce site, on social media, or in a physical store. Providing a seamless omnichannel customer experience can be advantageous for your business. Customers who use more than one channel to shop have a 30% highercustomer lifetime value. Here’s how to put your omnichannel strategy in motion.
- What is an omnichannel customer experience?
- Why is an omnichannel customer experience important?
- Omnichannel vs. multichannel customer experience
- Best practices for a successful omnichannel customer experience
- Example of effective omnichannel customer experience
- Omnichannel customer experience FAQ
What is an omnichannel customer experience?
An omnichannel customer experience refers to an integrated approach to customer interactions across all touchpoints—from digital channels on desktop or mobile devices to offline channels like brick-and-mortar stores. These channels are interconnected and designed to work together for a seamless experience.
Omnichannel strategy centers around providing a personalized and consistent experience, regardless of which channels the user prefers. In addition to integrating multiple channels, a successful omnichannel customer experience covers a customer’s journey from beginning to end. When executed successfully, an omnichannel strategy results in a consistent brand experience from the customer’s perspective.
For example, an omnichannel customer experience could involve discovering a product via an in-store display, going home and reviewing FAQs about the product on the company’s website, seeing retargeted ads on TikTok a week later, and ultimately visiting the company’s ecommerce store to purchase the product.
Why is an omnichannel customer experience important?
- Improve customer satisfaction
- Solidify brand image
- Save time and money
- Map the customer journey
Offering an omnichannel experience can drive customer satisfaction and long-term business success. Specifically, it can help you achieve these four key advantages:
1. Improve customer satisfaction
Today, customers expect a simple and streamlined shopping experience. Meeting this expectation can boost customer satisfaction and increase customer retention. When customers can easily interact with your brand across channels, the shopping experience is more intuitive and customers are more likely to stick around.
According to a study by Aberdeen Group, businesses with strong omnichannel customer engagement retain 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for other companies. Omnichannel customers are also worth more in the long run; they have a 30% highercustomer lifetime value than those who use just one channel.
2. Solidify brand image
Omnichannel marketing ensures that customers receive cohesive messaging, branding, and service quality across all channels. Offering a consistent brand experiencecan reinforce your brand’s identity and values, which builds brand loyalty with existing customers and increases brand awareness with potential customers.
3. Save time and money
An omnichannel customer experience strategy can result in your business saving on significant costs while delivering superior service. An omnichannel approach to retail means all customer interactions across platforms are stored in a central location. That way, staff have access to relevant customer data across channels, and they waste less time trying to track down prior customer interactions.
The Aberdeen Group study also found that businesses with a strong omnichannel customer experience strategy see an average 7.5% year-over-year decrease in cost per customer contact. An omnichannel approach enables your employees to meet customer expectations efficiently (whether they’re shopping online or in-store), helping you manage operations costs.
4. Map the customer journey
An omnichannel customer experience strategy can help you track customer behaviors across platforms. You’ll be better able to pinpoint exactly where a customer first came in contact with your brand and when they first decided to make a purchase. Using an omnichannel dashboard to study how customers interact with your business allows you to view customer journey maps, so you can identify pain points where you may be losing people in the sales funnel.
Omnichannel vs. multichannel customer experience
The key difference between an omnichannel customer experience and a multichannel customer experience lies in the level of integration and consistency across different channels.
- Omnichannel customer experience. An omnichannel customer experience is a cohesive customer experience across all channels. The various channels are interconnected, meaning customer interactions, data, and preferences are shared across channels, enabling a more personalized and unified experience. Customers can switch between channels and expect a consistent level of service, and that their information and history are carried over from one channel to the next.
- Multichannel customer experience. A multichannel customer experience simply means there are multiple channels through which customers can interact with a business. In a multichannel approach, each channel operates independently, with its own processes, data, and customer interactions, meaning there might be inconsistencies in information or service quality between channels. For example, customer service might be more responsive on the company’s website than on Twitter, and inventory levels might be reported differently online and in-store.
Best practices for a successful omnichannel customer experience
Creating a successful omnichannel customer experience requires careful planning and execution. Here are nine best practices to consider:
- Choose the right channels
- Be consistent
- Centralize customer data
- Create channel transitions
- Optimize for mobile
- Train employees
- Offer self-service options
- Collect and implement customer feedback
- Measure your success
1. Choose the right channels
Offering an omnichannel consumer experience doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be on every platform. Choose channels where you’re most likely to reach both existing and potential customers. Shopify’s omnichannel point-of-sale software allows you to sell your products on channels like Google and Facebook, as well as in-store and on your ecommerce website.
2. Be consistent
Maintain consistent branding across all your channels. Visual elements, tone, and messaging should feel cohesive on both online and offline channels, whether that’s social media or physical stores. Creating a consistent experience can reinforce your brand identity for customers as they interact with your business across different touchpoints.
3. Centralize customer data
Store customer data from various channels in one place for a unified view of each customer and their customer journey. This enables you to personalize customer interactions and anticipate needs. Consider using a Shopify-compatible customer relationship management (CRM) system, such as Gladly, Zendesk, or Kustomer to organize customer interactions from multiple channels.
4. Create channel transitions
Integrate different channels to allow customers to switch between them without disruption. For example, customers should be able to begin a conversation on social media and continue it through live chat or phone support. An omnichannel customer experience ensures each interaction picks up where the last one left off, and it eliminates the need for customers to repeat information.
5. Optimize for mobile
With the increasing use of mobile devices, it's essential to optimize your omnichannel strategy for mobile experiences. Ensure your website, apps, and communication channels are mobile-friendly and provide a smooth and intuitive user experience, allowing customers to engage with your brand conveniently from their desktop or mobile devices.
6. Train employees
Ensure your employees are trained to deliver a consistent omnichannel experience. Equip them with the necessary tools, knowledge, and skills to engage customers effectively across channels. Foster collaboration among multiple departments, such as marketing, sales, and customer service, to ensure a unified customer experience.
7. Offer self-service options
A self-service portal can empower customers to find answers and resolve issues themselves. This can include FAQs, video tutorials, community forums, and AI-powered chatbots. Self-service options are convenient, reduce customer effort, and free up resources for more complex inquiries.
8. Collect and implement customer feedback
Seek customer feedback across channels to identify areas for improvement. Regularly analyze customer feedback data, conduct surveys, and monitor social media to gather insights. Use this information to make data-driven improvements to your omnichannel strategy and address pain points.
9. Measure your success
Define your goals and corresponding metrics to measure the success of your omnichannel strategy. Track customer satisfaction, customer lifetime value, conversion rates, customer service response and resolution times, and channel-specific analytics. Regularly analyze the data to identify areas of improvement and optimize your approach.
Example of effective omnichannel customer experience
Cocomelody sells affordable gowns, including wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses. The company has a handful of brick-and-mortar stores across the United States but also has a robust online presence.
To bring the experience of a physical store to customers shopping online, Cocomeledy offers the option to try on gowns at home for just $25 per dress. It also offers easy return options, provides fit guides, and hosts a Facebook group where more than 35,000 members provide shopping tips and reviews. Customers who abandon their cart are notified of these benefits via personalized emails and push notifications.
By offering their online customers many of the benefits of an in-store interaction, Cocomelody provides an effective omnichannel experience.
Omnichannel customer experience FAQ
What is an example of an omnichannel customer experience?
Say you visit a tech store in search of a new laptop. You don’t buy that day, but the sales associate you talked to sends you a personalized email thanking you for your visit and linking you to the laptops you viewed. Later, you add one of the laptops to your cart. When you have a question about the laptop after your purchase, the customer service rep you talk to on the phone knows all about your order and interactions with the in-store sales associate without you having to repeat information.
How can you improve omnichannel customer experiences?
You can improve your omnichannel customer experience by using consistent branding and centralizing customer data.
What’s the main goal of an omnichannel strategy?
The main goal of an omnichannel strategy is to provide a seamless customer experience across various channels and throughout the customer journey.