Retail has undergone a major transformation in the digital age, and today customers demand better, quicker and seamless experiences. Therefore, brands need to provide omni-channel experiences that allow customers to engage from wherever they are – brick-and-mortar stores, mobile apps, online, kiosks, catalog and more.
However, simply operating multiple retail channels does not constitute an omni-channel strategy, unless done right. Today, customers may start in one channel and switch to another as they progress to a definite buying decision. Omni-channel implies making these complex ‘hand-offs’ between channels must be effortless for the customer.
Omni-channel is not just a mere buzzword. It is essentially a cluster of strategies that need to deliver results. So what do retailers need to know to create a superior omni-channel customer experience?
Collecting customer information such as shopping preferences, demographics, buying history, preferred modes of payment and so on is absolutely vital for creating a single unified view of the customer no matter which they use to research and purchase. When acquired, consolidated and leveraged fittingly, this analysis can provide a roadmap for retailers to define and deploy more personalised and effective communication and promotions, eliminating much of the guesswork.
Today, consumers have instant access to an extensive range of buying options, they will not think twice while letting go of a brand in search of a superior experience. Even if one of the channels is lagging, the retailer will likely see a drop in customer loyalty. Hence, the value of a complete, continuous and consistency is priceless.
The right technology investment is vital to enabling an outstanding omni-channel customer experience. Retailers should equip their business operations with the right mix of emerging and effective technologies to fulfil consumers’ high expectations in this fast and frugal omni-channel age. Brands that can stay on the cutting edge of technology such as mobility, geo-targetting, smart devices for payments, augmented reality and many more are likely to emerge victorious.
While every retailer will bring a distinct omni-channel customer experience strategy to the table, brands will have to strive to provide a seamless, noteworthy customer experience across channels to meet consumer expectations.