We all know that the purchase cycle doesn’t always begin and end in one place. When guiding your customers through a purchase, are you reaching them at every possible touchpoint? A consumer may first encounter your product on Instagram, research similar items on different websites, and then make their purchase in-store. Between each of those stops along the conversion highway, there are myriad avenues a customer can explore, and potentially get lost in. If your competitor has a more inclusive marketing environment, or better customer experience, you can say goodbye to any potential conversion. Therefore, an omni-channel loyalty strategy is paramount to your company’s success.
According to the Harvard Business Review, 73% of consumers use multiple outlets when making a purchase. But fortunately, customers using multiple channels also spend more.
On average, they spend an additional 4% on every shopping occasion in-store, and 10% more online than single-channel customers. The more channels used means the more money spent: customers who use 4+ channels spend 9% more than single-channel customers.
“In a world of customer experience, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.” – Douglas Alexander Warner, Ex-Chairman of J.P. Morgan
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon
Customer retention speaks volumes: Aberdeen Group Inc. finds that companies with strong omni-channel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, compared with 33% for companies with weak omni-channel strategies. So whose omni-channel strategies can be considered ‘strong?’ Let’s explore.
With Amazon’s $13.7B purchase of Whole Foods, the incredibly successful ecommerce platform is transcending online to offline sales into a cohesive customer experience. Amazon now allows customers to purchase their groceries online and pick them up in the store. Amazon and Whole Foods have removed all the pain points from grocery shopping, both on- and offline.
Rather than having to search through aisles crowded with extraneous products and competing shoppers, consumers can make their purchases online. And instead of waiting days for shipping and risking lost packages in the mail, the shopper can merely pick up her goods in her local grocery store. Email and text updates alert our shopper that the order is ready for pick up. This guarantees a seamless and pain-free experience for all shoppers.
The house that Walt built is in a world of its own when it comes to customer experience. It’s evident in everything Disney, from the UX of their website to the signage in their retail stores. Disney as a brand creates a seamless experience no matter what channel.
When booking your trip to Disney World, all aspects of your vacation can be planned from Disney’s user-friendly site; from hotel rooms to dining out. Once you and your family arrive, locate the attractions you want to see, plan your daily itinerary and even find the restrooms using the park visit planner available online.
Disney goes a step further with the release of its Magic Band program. This tool acts as a hotel room key, photo storage device, and a food ordering tool. Fast Pass integration helps keep your vacation moving along smoothly.
Of course, all Disney stores also carry the expansive and recognizable branding of the theme parks and films, and walking into the brick-and-mortar store feels like a magical experience in itself. This is no accident, as Disney has curated its customer experience through the decades and billions of dollars of brand recognition practices.
Walmart is doing their best to close the ecommerce gap against Amazon. Though few can rival their in-store presence, they only account for 4% of ecommerce transactions. Meanwhile, Amazon is sitting pretty owning 49% of the marketplace (TechCrunch).
But they’re gaining ground online by offering in-store pickup, advertising “in-store availability” on local items, dropshipping independent brands online, and offering free shipping on certain items. This omni-channel approach has allowed Walmart to continuously send traffic site-to-store and vice versa, creating a lasting relationship with its customers.
It is no use applying omni-channel strategies blindly. You must first understand your customer before you can develop the appropriate strategies to reach him or her. First, place yourself in the shoes of the customer. Figure out which channels your customers utilize and then devise a plan to market against them.
With Google Analytics, you can see which specific places are driving people to your site and deduce how people are finding your business. Next, periodically review the experience your customers undertake in order to research, purchase, and connect with your products. Test the experience by placing orders, interacting via all available channels, submitting a customer service ticket, and more. Is the experience optimal for all parties? Which pain points remain?
Get to understand your customer by creating audience segments. The data you’ve gleaned from the first two steps should give you an understanding of your target market’s background and user journey. Now, it is time to build user profiles and develop a marketing strategy to reach each segment. Once this is done, develop messaging that speaks to your user segments and deploy strategically.
Employing omni-channel strategies can make or break your business. With more channels along the purchase cycle, there are more opportunities to gain and lose potential customers. However, applying the right omni-channel strategy is key. Annex Cloud can help. Our strategists have decades of experience in creating and implementing marketing strategies for a variety of successful companies. Leverage our experience and boost your conversions. For more insight into implementing omni-channel strategies in your company, talk to us at Annex Cloud today!