Technology occupies a majority of our time nowadays, and while we are integrating more and more devices into our daily lives, companies are working toward providing a seamless experience to their customers through their multiple devices.
Customer behavior is now driving initiatives of marketing, sales and technology. While some companies are focusing on a desktop, mobile or Apple Watch experience, a true omnichannel strategy looks toward a holistic approach to this problem. Instead of focusing on multichannel growth, one should focus on providing a seamless experience in-store or online. The focus should be on bridging the gap between the real-life experience and the online experience.
The Difference Between Omnichannel And Multichannel
A true omnichannel experience is defined as a multichannel sales approach that focuses on providing an integrated sales experience to a customer whether they are buying through a desktop application, a mobile app or physically in a brick-and-mortar store. The critical thing to focus on here is the integrated experience, which differentiates a multichannel approach from an omnichannel strategy.
Now that we’ve established what an omnichannel strategy is, here are some principles to consider if your company is looking to create one.
All Teams On Board
An accurate omnichannel approach accounts for all the channels a customer can use to interact with the system and focuses on delivering a unified messaging across all channels. All teams must work on aligning the messages, objectives and goals around this approach. The key here is the alignment between different departments in the company. The sooner you get everyone involved with the strategy, the more seamless the experience is going to be.
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Steady Your Aim
The next step in your omnichannel strategy should include identifying your main areas of focus. It starts by analyzing and sorting the data about users across different platforms into data blocks and determining the relationships and trends. You then transform the learning into different actionable items across different teams. User experience and copywriting teams work on making the site experience and messaging align between all channels, while the ERP team works on implementing a system that can handle the requests from all the channels while providing reports and analytics to the stakeholders.
Communication Is Key
Communication is the critical factor in the success of this plan. Establish a central communication line with the stakeholders with one project manager managing the whole project. Having a central project management authority makes it easy to control the pace of the project and keep everyone informed about the progress of the project. This will also help unify your sales and marketing efforts to provide a seamless experience for the end user.
Areas Of Emphasis
As the CTO of a luxury apparel company, I’ve seen firsthand how the purchasing trends in the luxury segments for the last few years have shown that although users prefer to shop in-store, they prefer the same luxury experience on the website as well. In fact, more and more users in the past few years have been attracted to the shopping experience of a luxury online store. Gather data on your company’s website metrics, and don’t be afraid to invest in a site redesign to elevate user experience. Social media has also proven to be one of the most successful channels of marketing over the past few years. Make sure you include the use of social platforms as well as social media influencers in your omnichannel strategy as well.
Developing a successful approach for your business requires a clear understanding of the business goals and capabilities and designing a plan that fits your business. The goal here is to define a strategy that would best fit the business goals and help grow the business without disrupting the regular business processes.
A few questions you must ask yourself in preparation for your omnichannel strategy:
• Have you identified all the channels that you want to sell on?
• Do you have a marketing plan that identifies the above channels and how to market to them efficiently?
• Does your technology support the above channels?
• Do you have measurable goals tied to these channels to the measure success of your approach?
There are no set guidelines you can follow to implement the perfect omnichannel strategy. However, these principles should be considered in order to help you identify the best strategy for your business.