Your customer’s pathway to purchase is far from predictable these days, but it might look a little like this. They see your product ad on Instagram or Facebook via their mobile device, it piques their interest, so they log on to their desktop to visit your website, see more details about the product, and then add it to the cart.
Naturally, life is full of interruptions, so it might not be until later in the day they revisit your website, this time on their phone, and make the purchase. They might like to pick up your product at the curb, so they choose your store location at checkout.
They expect a follow-up email (and maybe a text) confirming their purchase and providing shipping details. A coupon for their next purchase might be included in that communication, driving them back to the website for another purchase, this time on their laptop.
When surveyed by The Harvard Business Review recently, 75% of almost 50,000 users said that they use multiple channels to support their final decision before making a purchase. Omnichannel retail today involves several pathways, and the overall goal of retailers is to provide a friction-free shopping experience for their customers, no matter what channel they are using.
After the past two years, pandemic concerns have forced all of us to adjust our living and shopping behaviors, and retailers have in turn been obliged to build a multichannel approach that better accommodates those new behaviors. They are reaching customers through social media and driving them to their website, where they can read their blog, which highlights their product benefits (and provides links to buy). They almost surely offer an online store but may also welcome customers to their brick-and-mortar location, with curbside pick-up offered. They communicate shipping updates via email and text.
What might they be missing? Their messaging and customer experience across these channels might not always be consistent and seamless. Creating a shopping experience where all those points on the path are united is what we call the omnichannel experience. It consists of multiple channels that connect the ways that customers find products, how they order them, the messages they receive before and after purchase, and how they receive the product, no matter what platform or device they are using. Having these steps proceed seamlessly leads to a better customer experience, which naturally improves the chance for better sales and revenue success.
Ultimately, the secret to omnichannel is making sure that all these interactions are consistent from device to device, and in line with mission and brand, and above all, easy and fast.
And as concerns about health and safety continue to influence customer behavior and activities, they are also forming new routines, and when it comes to shopping these may be permanent. The EY Future Consumer Index recently shared that around 40% of consumers say their shopping habits will be different from here on. Shopping online is now the norm, and the omnichannel approach is key to success.
Fortunately, there are numerous benefits to all the heavy lifting required to set up an optimal omnichannel approach, including the following:
The customer journey is dependable and unified. Omnichannel commerce provides your customers with consistent service and support, regardless of the device or platform they are using. Marketing Week recently shared that consumers use an average of almost six touchpoints in their shopping journey — and consistency along all those touchpoints builds brand to trust for those customers.
You’ll better understand your customer through analytics and data. You can collect more data that offers helpful information on what they need and how they use your products. This data also gives you the tools to provide next-level, personalized customer service, building their loyalty to your brand and mission.
You’ll see higher revenue. When customers find it easy and reliable to buy your product, make an exchange when necessary, reach customer support with questions, and enjoy easy, fast, delivery, they are more likely to convert. A recent Aberdeen study has shown that the annual revenue can be an average 9.5% year-over-year increase for companies who embrace omnichannel, versus the revenue for businesses whose approach is more fragmented, at just 3.4%.
Your customers will return again and again. Optimized customer engagement leads to happiness with your company and your products, which means they’ll buy from you again. Additionally, the data you collect about them will help you improve your offers, advertisements, and other content so that you can personalize your approach to their buying experience, which in turn improves retention. Companies that successfully engage their customers through an omnichannel approach succeed with an 89% customer retention rate versus just over 30% retention registered among those who don’t integrate and streamline their channels.
It appears that this is the Age of Omnichannel. Most likely, it will continue even when the pandemic has passed, and in-person shopping is unimpeded because shoppers love the consistency, accessibility, and personalization this integrated experience offers. Companies who make it a priority will continue to see powerful boosts to their revenue and retention, making it worth the time and effort involved.
Discover the power of Verifone Omnichannel Commerce and how it can help you create personalized customer experiences across all channels you’re selling on.