With the advent of internet and then the mobile technology, the consumer journey to make a purchase has evolved rapidly and continues to do so. Years ago, a purchase would involve visiting a brick and mortar store and simply buying the product. Then came the days of ecommerce where consumers used their personal computers to make a purchase. However, the digital technology disrupted the consumer journey completely.
Once a linear path, the consumer journey has been replaced by a complex matrix of touchpoints with customer at the center. Consumers’ ability to access your brand in so many avenues, from social media to mobile devices has given them unprecedented power to compare prices, complain loudly, and find the best deals. Amidst so many brands competing for the consumers’ attention, brands that adopt an omni-channel approach will continue to thrive and improve customer experience.
The Omni-channel play: the misunderstood marketing
The term “Omni-channel” may be a marketing buzzword, but it is largely misunderstood. At its core, omni-channel is defined as a multi-channel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or by telephone, or in a bricks and mortar store. Omni channel anticipates that customer may start with one channel and move to another as they progress to a resolution.
Here’s an example — You are browsing a site for booking a holiday package on your mobile phone. You are about to complete the transaction and get distracted with something else, and don’t finish the booking process. Several hours later, while you are browsing through your Instagram on your tablet, you come across an ad from the same travel portal for the same holiday package. You click the ad and you realize that your itinerary is the same as you had selected earlier and you just need to get through the payments to complete the booking. Just when you are ready to make the payment, your tablet battery dies. You quickly get your laptop, open the website and you are able to finish the holiday booking, bon voyage!
Thus, omni-channel is a holistic approach for a delightful customer journey, orchestrating the customer experience across all channels so that it is seamless, integrated and consistent. To satisfy today’s cross-channel buyers, brands must allow them to resume their purchase journey from where they left off, no matter where they are in the purchase process.
Here are some tips for the brand marketers to get started with omni-channel marketing:-
Tips to get started with omni-channel marketing
1. Make it personal
Customers today are bombarded with advertisements all over and they get annoyed. Tailoring those ads as per their interests would help brands get better conversions. It is important to make them feel important. Design a customized shopping experience for your audience based on their interest, buying behavior, demographics and other crucial data factors. Also, it is important to keep personalized messaging consistent across all channels to create and maintain a cohesive experience.
2. Connecting with audience where they are
Customers use multiple channels for consuming data and each of them have their own preferences. Brands must cater to this multi-channel demand for their each set of customers as it is more about customer choice and convenience. They need to keep all their channels open for customers to interact with them, may it be — email, phone, social media, text messaging or any other.
3. It should be seamless!
Seamless user experience across all channels is the only thing to keep you up and running in the competitive market. Make sure you address all customer touchpoints for a seamless experience. Like discussed earlier, it is essential to be present on multiple channels, but it is equally crucial to have a seamless transition across these platforms –online and offline.
With customers being in the driver’s seat, the purchase journey is getting complex day by day for the brands. And the world is now slowly witnessing experience selling instead of just product selling. Brands which are making this purchase journey delightful for their customers are the ones who are winning the race… by a good margin.
This post was originally published on IBM Think Marketing.
Hiral Bhatt is a Marketing enthusiast and loves to write on varied topics around social media, digital marketing, market trends, spirituality and travel. You can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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