Omnichannel strategy

What is an Omnichannel Strategy?

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What is an Omnichannel Strategy?

An omni-channel strategy is an approach to sales and marketing where the company seeks to create the same user experience for the customer across all of its sales channels. 

In essence, the customer is placed at the center of all communication and all possible sales outlets are analyzed to standardize contacts.

The idea is to deliver a seamless shopping experience in physical shops and ecommerce across multiple digital channels by leveraging all digital and non-digital assets of the organization.

Why is it important?

Recent studies have shown that omni-channel delivery generates greater economic value for companies.

Specifically, this Harvard Business Review study found that each multichannel user spends up to 4% more on average on physical purchases and 10% more in online shops compared to customers who only use a single channel.

What is even more surprising is that the average purchase ticket of these users is higher per sale.

However, the reasons do not stop there.

Omni-channel shoppers are also more loyal.

Within six months of making an omni-channel purchase, these customers had made 23% more repeat visits to physical shops and were more likely to recommend the brand to family and friends than those who used a single channel.

These are all excellent reasons to drive an omni-channel strategy that works particularly well in retail as well as in financial services, traditional banking and insurance.

Differences between multichannel and omnichannel strategy

Actually, the basic difference between the two approaches lies in the object on which they focus.

While the multichannel marketing strategy focuses on the channel and therefore on optimizing user interactions and engagement, the omni-channel strategy always seeks to improve the customer experience.

To make it easier to understand, let’s put it in the following context: Let’s start with an account on our social networks: Facebook.

Under a multi-channel marketing approach, we will be looking to achieve more followers, comments, “likes” and “shares” on the pages and publications in this social network, as these metrics show that more people are interacting with the brand.

However, under an omni-channel strategy our focus changes or shifts to the user.

Therefore, we will focus on ensuring that customers can jump from the facebook page to our website without creating any surprises. 

In other words, maintaining a common thread.

For example, when they click on a Facebook ad, they are taken to the relevant product page on your website, providing a seamless and enhanced customer experience.

How to implement an omni-channel strategy?

Adopting an omni-channel marketing strategy has many potential benefits but is a big challenge from the outset.

It requires different foundational capabilities depending on the omni-channel business model we wish to aspire to, according to the consulting firm McKinsey.

Focusing on the customer experience so that it is personalized and consistent across all sales channels involves significant changes and considerations that are costly to implement and can be a drain on the organization.

Omni-channel excellence is very technology and labor intensive and therefore requires a strong focus on value creation.

Below, we outline the steps to use this competitive advantage to your benefit: 

Step 1: Determine which channels your customers use most often

The first step for an organization embarking on an omni-channel effort to improve the customer experience is to select the multi-channel journeys to focus on.

Here, web analytics and data analysis play a decisive role.

It must be able to provide a deep understanding of the customer and facilitate the range of multi-channel experiences relevant to the business. Often, organizations find that what matters most to their customers is very different from what they expected.

In classifying this data, the company must consider two fundamental dimensions of each type of customer experience:

  • Customers’ propensity to use multiple channels
  • The importance for the customer of the different routes that have led to the contact.

In other words, we must be aware of which channels are preferred by the customer and cross-reference them with the motivations that have provoked them.

Step 2: Consolidate sales channels to work with

Once we have determined the importance of the channels for the customer, it is essential to select the most used and most profitable channels in order to work them first.

It’s key to start with this because it avoids burnout and reinforces the customer experience where it really makes an impact.

In the short term, this will allow us to obtain quick wins that will justify the launch of the project, new investments and reduce internal resistance.

A common mistake is to try to cover all sales channels and touchpoints with the customer equally.

Step 3: Mapping your customer’s journey

Closely related to the first step.

As we build our omni-channel campaign, it is important to be clear about the customer journey from one platform to another to avoid gaps and awkward encounters.

And also, to know the importance for the customer of each of these routes.

It is not the same to manage the expectations of a new customer who is going to subscribe or buy a new product as it is to manage the expectations of a customer or subscriber who contacts us with a complaint about a service.

While the former is still a potential customer (it is still an expense and only a potential gain), the latter is an asset of the company that can be lost (revenue) affecting the profitability or lifetime value of the customer.

Do you now understand the importance of this step?

Step 4: Provide a service desk that supports all channels

One third of people say that a single bad experience is enough to make them consider changing companies.

This demonstrates the importance of customer care and how it helps to build a successful customer journey.

Making sure your brand can manage customer support across multiple channels is therefore critical. Working on staff training and responses that help anticipate scenarios and circumstances is a good investment from the outset.

Step 5: Anchoring the experience on a unified platform

Without the right omni-channel marketing platform, it is not possible to develop a good omni-channel strategy.

Customer experience management requires clean, fast and efficient processes that allow us to respond to customer needs from a perfectly organized and clean back office.

Our experience shows that if we are not able to rely on the right platform your customer service will suffer, your customers will suffer and your bottom line will suffer.

It is therefore very important to get this decision right and to migrate quickly if we have chosen the wrong service.

Step 6: Adopt a customer-centric mindset

Internal limitations – such as legacy technology platforms or lack of back office automation – should not determine what kind of omni-channel experience you create in your business.

Instead, everyone in your organization should focus entirely on understanding what customers want and need for each of the segments defined by the marketing department.

And adopt an omni-channel approach that puts customer needs at the heart of the organization.

For an organization to deliver a truly individualized service and maintain a superior omni- channel experience, a customer-centric, journey-centric vision must permeate the entire organization.

From top management down to the level of customer service agents.

Final Reflections:

An omni-channel strategy takes into account every platform and device that a customer will use to interact with the company, and also focuses on creating an equally efficient and positive customer experience on all of them.

Companies aiming for omni-channel therefore need to look closely at their current resources, market position and customer relationships.

And in this way, establish their starting point for creating a realistic omni-channel marketing plan that will enable them to create value for the business almost from the outset.

At this point, the important thing is to know where we are starting from and how far we want to go. 

We recommend that companies ask themselves the following questions:

  •  Where are the greatest reserves of value for omni-channel within our business?
  •  What is the evidence base that helps us inform and make decisions?
  •  How can we size up the transition effort?
  • What capacities should be prioritized in the next 12 months?
  • What benefits can be expected from adopting omni-channel?

It was not necessary to master all skills in order to advance.

Rather, we need to know where we want to go in our strategy and consider one of the three possible scenarios proposed by McKinsey.

 Further and recommended reading:

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Frequently Asked Questions

The omni-channel strategy is committed to putting the customer at the center, forcing organizations to adapt their marketing and sales strategies to take advantage of the multiple benefits derived from this approach. It is very important not to confuse this with the multichannel strategy.

By focusing on the customer experience, omni-channel marketing enables personalized shopping experiences that are more in line with the user’s expectations across all points of contact with the company and sales channels used.