What’s Next for the OmniChannel Shopper?

A Q&A with David Wharram, CEO of Coast Digital.

What should retailers be doing to reach the omnichannel shopper?
The main thing to note here is that the Omnichannel mix has changed dramatically and for the vast majority of retailers omnichannel now means digital channels only. We’re seeing shifts in spend from outdoor and offline media to Digital media as this is where consumers are spending their time during lockdowns. It’s really important for retailers to show that they’re taking this seriously, communicate clearly and regularly with their customers (probably in digital channels currently) and be clear about how they’re helping/contributing/doing good during this time. It’s a great way to build loyalty and good feelings amongst customers.

What methods can be implemented to ensure all platforms are streamlined?

My recommendation has been to review spend against returns/reach and make changes to suit the new normal. The most important thing right now is flexibility, and not being afraid to change tac if things stop working, or don’t go as planned. Test and learn is now more relevant than ever but we shouldn’t take our eye off attribution.

Why is it so important that customers are served correctly during the current climate?
This is an emotional time for everyone. Lots of people will be adversely affected, both in terms of work life, and potentially even in terms of family life with loss of/hospitalised loved ones. Brands need to be incredibly sensitive with how they deliver messages during this time, and need to consider all angles before pushing their products/services. They should focus on maintaining their services as best as they possibly can during this time, and doing good where possible (raising money, donating time or product), and adapting products and services to earn goodwill amongst their customer bases. Good will earned during this time will payback in loyalty in the years to come.

How retailers will be able to bounce back by focusing on their online experiences?

The main one is to do with messaging and vitally, clarity in messaging. Many companies will be welcoming first time users and potentially first time online shoppers and with this audience it is more important than ever to give them a clear understanding of the delivery process, delivery costs and of course ease of returning items. I also saw something interesting the other day from a website claiming all of their products had been “Covid-19 cleansed” – I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it is sensible to reassure users wherever possible in these uncertain times.

The other element to this is that many businesses, of varying sizes are being forced to become online businesses. This is of course a huge challenge, but equally should be considered a huge opportunity. My advice to any business venturing into online sales would be to follow convention when making design decisions, it is a much better bet to get the basics (your navigation, product pages and checkout) right, rather than reinvent the wheel and risk confusing or losing users.

We are packaging up go to market solutions that include ecommerce stores with Digital Marketing activities such as SEO and PPC to help transition businesses to selling online but this should be thought of as a building block, to truly deliver an exceptional experience we need to understand our customers and design for them.

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