Customers are so accustomed to shopping online that it has become second nature and is now part of consumers’ regular routines. You must adapt to a customer-centric world by meeting clients on the channels they are most comfortable using. Considering that 95% of people will use at least three channels when interacting with a company, it’s more critical than ever for businesses to leverage an omnichannel platform. (Oracle, 2021)
What is an omnichannel approach?
Omnichannel focuses on making shopping experiences customer centric. It allows for more flexibility, putting the customer in control with options for how they wish to communicate with a brand or retailer. Omnichannel retailing ensures that consumers feel at the center of their buying experience, switching with ease between voice, chat, and other communication channels.
Nearly every industry can use an omnichannel platform, but retail stores were the first adopters of these strategies. (Oracle, 2021) Now, home goods, grocery, cosmetics, and even automotive sectors use an omnichannel strategy to improve the customer experience (CX). Beyond CX enhancements, there are several other benefits to using an omnichannel platform, including:
- Increased profits, price flexibility
- An influx of cross-sell opportunities
- Positive customer expectations
- Less stagnant inventory
The differences between omnichannel and multichannel
There are limitations to a purely multichannel approach. Namely, this form of marketing lacks interconnection between channels for the customer and your business. The mission-critical information gathered in one channel gets soiled and is not readily available to the others. The customer is left repeating themselves, resulting in a less than ideal experience.
An omnichannel platform is far more flexible. It allows for data interconnectivity, which lets brands provide personalized interactions across channels. With omnichannel, the customer comes first – they can conduct business however they want, whenever they want. (Tech Target, 2020)
Consider a shopper who begins an interaction with your business on Facebook Messenger, then jumps to a phone call with customer service. Throughout the conversation, vital information gets transferred from agent to agent. This is the essence of omnichannel – allowing customers to bounce seamlessly between channels for an uninterrupted CX.
How to implement an omnichannel platform
When building an omnichannel platform, it is crucial to consider each stage of the customer journey – from discovery and purchase support to customer service and returns. (Oracle, 2021) Other considerations come from thoroughly researching your audience. What channels do they use most, what non-digital options do they prefer, etc. Always keep it customer centric and lean into available customer data when developing your platform strategy.
Then, you’ll need to leverage technology to make their omnichannel retailing dream a reality. The right technology solutions make omnichannel feasible while keeping it harmonious, engaging, and effective. IntelePeer offers several solutions, such as Marketplace and SmartFlows, which can help your organization build an omnichannel platform optimized for your customers.
An omnichannel strategy is more important than ever with recent consumer behavior changes. There is much to gain by setting up a platform that fits your customers’ expectations and your company’s processes and infrastructure. We understand that not everyone has the time and resources to implement an omnichannel platform. That’s why we provide flexibility in deploying your workflows including build it yourself, partner with us, or have Managed Solutions build your custom workflows to serve as an extension of your team.