November 02, 2016
10 hands-on steps to implement omni-channel
November 02, 2016
10 hands-on steps to implement omni-channel
You want to provide your customers with a good, personalised experience? Your first priority should be knowing your customers and their preferences. Identify them - it doesn’t make sense to sell regular milk to someone who is lactose-intolerant, does it?
Knowledge of your customer works at different levels (cookies, for example), but the most valuable data are often hidden behind a login that reveals what your customers have bought previously, which company they work for, etcetera. This knowledge is super relevant in order to create a valuable online customer experience. Hence, precisely this is why you should do your utmost to tempt the customer into identifying who they are. Some channels are better suited for this than others – apps for example offer a natural context to log in, whereas on a website it might not be so logical. This is why the smarter eCommerce websites nowadays keep their customers logged on, until they actively log out by themselves. This ensures a basis for identifying the customer during future visits, in order not to be solely dependent on cookies.
Another method is Single-sign-on. This makes it possible to identify customers as soon as they are logged in on either of their devices and move from platform to platform, whether it’s from website to website, from app to web, from email to web, etcetera.
Marketing automation and trigger-based email communication have taken over traditional, batch-based email distribution. Did you know that 75% of all revenue from email has its origin in trigger-based email campaigns? This should leave one to question the effectiveness of the old-fashioned one-size-fits-all email campaigns, right?
The lowest hanging fruits for you to pick here are in connecting your website with your email platform, in a such a way that you can catch all relevant scenarios: whether it’s your customer showing a willingness to buy or when that same customer is starting to move away from you.
Whereas traditional flows are based on behaviour such as abandoned baskets or visits to pages that deal with cancellation, a more assertive way to position yourself in the sales funnel is looking at something different. Focus for example on activating communication flows based on visiting specific product pages, usage of calculators, or other indicators that reveal what your visitor is really interested in.
Long before your customer visits your physical store, you should start preparing them for this experience. Provide relevant information, making sure your customer’s visit is going to be worth it. Think about offering information on product availability in specific shops, showing the closest shop, or offer click-and-collect options.
At least 43% of customers have used their mobile device to complement their purchase in a physical store. Being able to offer a contextual experience on a mobile device, that supports the act of purchasing within opening hours and within the store’s geographical area, can make huge difference for customers. Think of, for example, content that focuses on how to use the product, highlight special in-store offers, provide in-store only vouchers, etcetera.
One essential requirement for succeeding with omni-channel is the way you consolidate your knowledge about the customer. If you manage to gather data from across all channels into one or only a few central locations, you create the possibility to be relevant with personalised content across all channels.
If you can identify your customers as soon as they enter your physical store, you can be sure to have valuable knowledge about their purchasing patterns. If they for example only do research in your store but don’t buy the product, you should use that knowledge to get them to buy online. With you; not somewhere else. Within Valtech, we call this purchasing pattern ROPO2 – Research Offline Purchase Online.
There are several ways of identifying the customer in the physical store. Most of them will revolve around the mobile phone. A QR code can for example make information about a product available in an app. Integration with beacons, to push offers to the app, is another one. Or the loyalty program can be made available online only (behind a login in the app), so as soon as the customer does a purchase, it is activated. You could also offer the customer to buy via the app or make the customer use their mobile to interact with digital in-store screens. All in all, identifying a customer who is physically walking around your store in this way, ensures that you can take advantage of the customer’s interests, already before the purchase starts.
Your customers use social media to express their opinions. About the weather, about politics, and most likely also about you. This works both ways: the positive and the negative. Your brand ambassadors can contribute greatly to a positive picture of your company, whereas negative rumours that you haven’t caught or responded to, can result in loss of customers that have been doing their research online. This is why it is so important to actively build an overview of how the who’s of the social media world are talking about you. Positive rumours are a great opportunity to strengthen your customer relations, whereas customers with a bad experience offer opportunity for constructive dialogue. Studies have even proven that customers who had a bad experience in the course of their purchase process but did get support and a solution for their problem, eventually turn out as even more satisfied customers than the regular ones. Think of all the potential that is waiting out there for you!
Customer service is a vital part of customer experience. This is why you have to ensure that all your customer service agents work under the best possible conditions for having a constructive dialogue with customers. When it comes to omni-channel, you should provide access to customer information on how the customer uses the available platforms, if yes which types, and if they are frequent visitors or buyers. With this at hand, your customer service department has a good basis at hand for handling the customer relationship in a personal and relevant way.
We can’t stress it enough: knowing your customer is decisive for your ability to deliver an effective and personal omni-channel experience. This is why you have to take a stance as to which data you need to gather for enriching your database. The trick is to gather this information without disturbing the customer in accomplishing their primary goals: research, purchase, product activation, etcetera. The answer most often lies in a combination of passive data gathering (inferred) and active data gathering (declared). The passive way can be done through the pages that are visited, downloads, etcetera. Active data gathering is done when you ask the customer to deliberately provide data, for example by filling in a signup form. It is no coincidence that these data often are the most valuable, as they are a validated representation of the customer’s interest. But: customers won’t give it away for free – tempting people to provide their data requires a clear incitement: better service, discounts or something else that is important for them.
When your goal is to create interplay between your channels, you need to make sure your channels don’t cannibalise each other. Your efforts regarding increasing traffic, for example, should not focus on volume alone, when the website is measured on conversion rates and responsibility lies with two different persons. All channels play their own valuable role in converting customers and should get credited for this accordingly. Looking at it holistically results in a strong internal structure, that encourages collaboration and interplay. A seamless customer experience starts with a seamless internal foundation.
Meet us in Copenhagen on November 22nd for an event that focuses entirely on putting the customer in the center of your business.
Or assess your company's omni-channel maturity through our assessment tool.