OMNICHANNEL – THE FUTURE OF B2C TRADE

By Julia Saswito, Partner at Triplesense Reply

With the choice of e-commerce websites, high-street shops and social networks, we live in a multimodal world. With all these choices, how can you make sure you’re offering your customers the perfect customer experience? Inspired by a year-long search for a new armchair, which only resulted in buying almost anything but an armchair – find 4 tips below by Triplesense Reply.

It sounds simple: the more channels customers use when buying a product, the more they spend. Quantitatively, they spend an average of 9% more in a store when they use at least four channels on their customer journey.

The obvious conclusion for retailers and brand owners is to implement a multi-channel strategy. Whether it is catalogues, social media platforms or online stores, merchandisers want to be where their clients are. It allows a retailer to enable a potential sale while the customer is using his or her favourite channel. But this approach does not go far enough as isn’t necessarily a pre-requisite for “more channels equals more turnover”.

Retailers should consider Omnichannel Commerce to cater to the needs of the future. By using the appropriate channels, the customer will get an all-embracing and continuous customer experience, both online and offline. Look at Omnichannel Commerce as a well-implemented multichannel approach, designed as a continuous experience.

1. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes: Sell them a new armchair – but only if they want one

Quality over quantity: as a retailer, don’t make it your goal to use as many channels as possible. Make “Think Omnichannel” your mantra where potential customers should get an all-embracing shopping experience across all relevant channels. Omnichannel is about delivering consistent, yet unique and contextual, brand experiences across various customer-centric touchpoints. This includes traditional solutions, marketplaces, Web sites, mobile devices and social networks.

Today, the focus is still strong on products and brands. But you should move away from that and focus more on your customers. Potential consumers should receive offers that appeal to their wishes. For example, in the search for a new chair, make sure you’re offering channels where you can purchase chairs, and not shows.

Additionally – don’t forget to make the customer journey entertaining! This increases the chance of a prospect becoming a buyer.

2. The customer chooses their own channel – it is not necessarily digital

Once you approach the customer with a single view and offer a single trade experience, the boundaries between the channels disappear. Think of Omnichannel as immersing yourself in an all-inclusive sales and marketing pool. Even if digital channels seem to be more attractive and future-oriented, don’t lose sight of the analogue world.

3. Every interaction changes the customer experience

Somewhere within the customer journey, a crucial service needs to be provided. This is the added value that gives the decisive impetus to make the purchase. Let’s use the buying chairs example: the furniture retailer could provide a Picture Scanner App for magazines as a service. This is a perfect fusion of digital and analogue channels. It allows a customer to scan an armchair in a magazine and instantly receive suggestions on where to buy it. There might even be a possibility to buy the chair in the app! Additionally, if the app were to have an augmented reality function, consumers could even use it to project other changes.

Incorporating digital technologies into the purchasing process allows retailers to gain knowledge about their customers. It also allows them to retarget: the customer might also need a side table with his armchair.

The customer will reward these creative approaches.

4. Data is nothing without understanding and creativity

If we manage to measure complete customer experiences with valid data, we would have a better understanding of how the interaction between the various channels works. The future goal is to combine all the collected data and translate it into a personalised way to approach customers.

But quantitative data is only one thing. Without knowing and understanding the customers motives and dreams, you cannot make the right offers. Quantitative data, which can be gained from analysis tools or AB tests, are a good start to gain insight into the behaviour of your customers. However, these tests don’t say anything about motives. Ethnographic user research, mobile use labs, customer journey mapping and co-creative workshops with your customers help you to better understand your customers’ wishes.

So, put yourself in your customers’ shoes or sit in their armchair – you will experience many surprises!

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