What is omnichannel?
Omnichannel retail is immersive and puts the customer, not your product, at the core. It’s about showing awareness of their individual stage in the customer lifecycle. Customers can purchase wherever they are rather than treating channels as independent silos, omnichannel accounts for the spillover between channels and offers customer experiences within and between channels (Shopify.com, 2019)
Companies use an omnichannel strategy use this technique to align their messaging, goals, objectives, and design across each channel and device.
Why has an omnichannel strategy become more important than ever since COVID-19 came to light?
Consumer behaviour has been altered dramatically as a result of restrictions, store closures and new health and safety guidelines. As countries are navigating their way out of lockdown and businesses are reopening new consumer habits and expectations are becoming clear. One, in particular, is the increase in online shopping. Retailers now have their physical stores and this online store that customers are now using interchangeably. An Omnichannel strategy, which puts the customer first, is a critical way of aligning sales channels to ensure a seamless customer experience across all customer touchpoints. Customers are looking for alternative ways to shop but still want the same customer experience and convenience. Delivering an omnichannel strategy ensures customers expectations are being met by your brand at each step of they’re journey.
Brands doing it right!
Disney customers begin their journey on their mobile responsive website to book their trip. Once a customer has booked their trip there’s a My Disney Experience tool to help you save your details and plan everything from your dining to securing your Fast pass. Onsite, the customer mobile app is used to guide them through the park and while they stay everything from ordering food, hotel keys and photos taken in the park can be stored on the mobile app.
Schuh, leading footwear retailer, have bricks and mortar shops, online store and mobile app and as a brand, they continue to close the gap between in-store and online customer experience through integrated technology. Deputy head of e-commerce at Schuh, Stuart McMillan, commented recently: “There is a fundamental change in the model of e-commerce. Consumers don’t see the difference between stores and websites – they just want the brand experience.” Recently they are the first UK retailer to use new technology that enables shoppers to buy instantly from any step in the purchase funnel. channel strategy
Starbucks, a large multinational coffeehouse, have bricks and mortar stores, a mobile app and a loyalty programme. Their loyalty programme through their mobile app can deliver an exceptional customer experience while in-store and using the app. The loyalty programme has made it possible for a customer to reload a card via in-store, website or through the app in real-time. Meaning while a customer queues and realises they don’t have a sufficient balance on their card they can top-up and it will be instantly updated before they get to the till.