Last updated on April 13th, 2022 at 10:05 am
An omnichannel customer experience (CX) is when an organization uses its many direct-to-consumer channels to market, sell to, and support its buyers. It’s all about bridging the digital and in-store divide and treating every touchpoint as one frictionless whole to offer customers an integrated shopping experience. This lets your customers switch between channels effortlessly while maintaining a great experience when interacting with your brand.
Nowadays, consumers require six touchpoints on average before purchasing an item. During their buying experience, customers expect a seamless omnichannel journey with personalized, on-demand service. If you fail to deliver a cohesive experience throughout channels, buyers won’t hesitate to look elsewhere for what they want. After all, your competitors are only a quick search or door away.
Becoming an omnichannel organization is the first step to creating a seamless omnichannel customer experience. Read on to learn the ins and outs of creating a successful omnichannel CX to take your retail brand to the next level.
The Importance of an Omnichannel Customer Experience
It’s no secret that customer expectations are high. Shoppers crave convenience and count on seamless digital and in-person interactions. To thrive in the current climate, you need to meet your customers’ expectations. This means delivering an omnichannel customer experience and enabling consumers to shop when, where, and how they want to.
According to CXToday, nine out of 10 consumers are looking for a smooth omnichannel experience. Customers want businesses to know them well enough so that they don’t have to consistently provide repetitive, tedious information when shopping across platforms. The same report states that 72% of buyers expect retailers to know their shopping history.
An omnichannel approach will allow you to integrate your company’s physical and online channels and reinforce their strengths. This, in turn, will help you offer your customers a more pleasant and personalized customer journey.
7 Benefits of Creating an Omnichannel Customer Experience
A solid omnichannel customer experience adds significant value to your business, improving your brand’s reputation and presence and decreasing customer losses. Below, we dive into seven benefits of creating an omnichannel customer experience.
1. Reduces Friction
Friction refers to anything within your conversion funnel that causes hesitation among your customers. Creating a frictionless customer experience is vital for your brand to flourish. That’s why designing seamless sign-up, shopping, and checkout experiences across multiple channels is so important. Convenience is key to making your customers complete a purchase and return for more.
Efficiently implementing an omnichannel customer experience allows you to optimize the process and remove common setbacks that could otherwise cause your customers to quit in the middle of their purchasing journey.
To successfully deliver an omnichannel CX, you need the right technology. A mobile point of sale (mPOS) and omnichannel order management system (OMS) are two fundamental solutions in the modern retail tech stack.
Achieving a great omnichannel customer experience is all about going one step further to ensure your channels are connected and frictionless.
2. Drives Sales
Improving sales is perhaps the most attractive benefit for retail brands. It’s well known that the more entry points you have to your retail operation, the higher the likelihood of customers choosing to shop with your brand. An omnichannel CX can increase sales big time.
According to a Harvard Business Review study, a retail brand’s omnichannel customers spent 10% more when shopping online and 4% more in-store than single-channel consumers. Enabling shoppers to find your products on multiple channels and platforms makes them more likely to convert—and buy more items when they do.
Having different touchpoints available also lets you gather more information on your existing customers. By collecting this data, you can use different channels for marketing your products and tailor each piece of communication to the specific recipient. For example, you can send custom emails, texts, direct mail, targeted ads, and push notifications to increase your upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
3. Boosts Your Profits
It may seem like an expensive endeavor to invest in omnichannel; however, if executed correctly, you will earn considerably more money in the long run. Businesses with a strong omnichannel customer experience 9.5% year-over-year revenue growth, while companies with weak omnichannel CX only see a 3.4% increase.
A quality omnichannel customer experience makes it much easier for your shoppers to explore what you offer and make a purchase. It also encourages them to come back, securing loyal customers and recurring revenue.
4. Improves Customer Loyalty
High-quality services before, during, and after a purchase are critical to driving customer loyalty. Boosting your retail brand’s omnichannel customer experience will make the browsing and purchasing process much easier and more personalized. In turn, your customers will feel cherished and valued. When customers feel seen and heard, they’re more likely to keep coming back.
Keep in mind that customers tend to talk about the brands they love—and other customers listen. Nowadays, the vast majority of buyers make purchasing decisions based on the opinion of satisfied customers. Through word-of-mouth and referrals, loyal customers can bring in new customers.
5. Increases Operational Efficiency
Most retail brands agree that operational efficiency is essential. However, many still struggle to achieve it through traditional methods.
The implementation of a buy-anywhere-return-anywhere approach requires that all the pieces involved in the purchasing process happen like clockwork. Becoming an omnichannel organization allows for correct integration and optimal communication between your online and in-store systems.
An omnichannel approach is an excellent way to free up store associate time so they can focus on more productive tasks and being more efficient in their roles. For example, if a customer has made a purchase in the past their information will be available in real-time—regardless of what channel that past purchase was made from. This means a store associate doesn’t have to go through the hassle of once again collecting relevant customer data. Not only does this make it easier for the store associate but it provides the customer with a far better experience too.
6. Improves Inventory Visibility
An omnichannel strategy is a great way to better understand your inventory. Keeping track of what you have available and what you’re running low on will help you restock and fulfill orders in a timely manner.
And by sharing stock data across channels, you decrease the risk of inventory sitting idly on your shelves. Your online shoppers can browse your catalog and pick up items where available, and in-store shoppers can even utilize endless aisle to purchase out-of-stock items.
7. Enhances Customer Support
Store associates who are equipped with modern technology can maximize each customer interaction and improve the overall customer experience. With an omnichannel customer experience, the role of the store associate transcends the walls of the store. These employees are capable of supporting customers across channels as they use mobile clienteling tools to communicate. This makes it much easier for customers to navigate the purchasing process and shop however and whenever they want.
The right technology allows omnichannel store associates to build trust and stronger relationships with customers. With an omnichannel approach, store associates can set in-store appointments, make fit and style recommendations, send images and videos of the products, and more to online shoppers to offer them an in-store-like purchasing experience without them having to leave their homes. This, in the long run, creates market differentiation and customer loyalty.
Taking the Omnichannel Customer Experience to the Next Level
In retail, there are numerous strategies for creating an omnichannel customer experience. The key is to remove siloed engagements and create a holistic plan to deliver what your customers need and want. Retail brands that make omnichannel customer experiences a guiding axis are more likely to increase retention, have a wider reach, and supercharge their sales.
Ready to take your retail brand’s omnichannel strategy to the next level? Reach out to NewStore and request a demo today.