With omnichannel selling, retailers need to focus on creating a united experience between online stores and the traditional brick-and-mortar store, providing a positive customer experience at every touchpoint throughout the customer journey.
Consumers expect to buy what they want, when they want it, with the same experience and level of customer experience no matter the path or platform to purchase. An omnichannel experience has to give them a consistent brand experience. If your retail business isn’t truly omnichannel yet, you’re missing out on major potential for more customers and more profit.
Many omnichannel retailers still struggle to sync multiple aspects of omnichannel smoothly, making profitability or even a break-even proposition challenging to achieve. A recent study by Periscope says, 78% of retailers admit their consumers do not have a unified brand experience. 45% of retailers also say that progress is not happening fast enough.
So, what are the primary obstacles with delivering really great omnichannel experiences? Here, BARE International highlights four omnichannel mistakes retailers make when managing their enterprises, and how to avoid them:
1. ADOPTING THE WRONG CHANNELS FOR YOUR AUDIENCE
Businesses stuck in the multichannel model will find the least success with trying to evolve toward omnichannel retail. Retailers must recognize no two businesses are the same. Among all the differences are alternative audience segments that engage and purchase from you in their own unique ways. The key to successful omnichannel marketing is to make sure you are available in all the places your customers are.
While Facebook remains the most popular social network, simply having a Facebook Page is often not enough for a brand. And creating a social presence everywhere to cover your bases isn’t the ideal strategy either, because you create additional work in maintaining all the channels, and may not actually be reaching as many customers as you think. It’s nothing but a waste of resources and budget to invest time in a channel like Quora, Reddit, or even Facebook if your customers aren’t active there. Research your audience, and potential audiences thoroughly before embarking on, and investing in platforms you’re better off spending elsewhere.
2. LACK OF IMPLEMENTATION AND CUSTOMER SERVICE
It’s a less-than-ideal situation when a retailer tries to deliver omnichannel customer experiences but doesn’t properly follow through. If you find it challenging to offer true omnichannel features like in-store availability, ensure that your implementation is foolproof. Why? Because 67% of customers would abandon the cart and leave a business for one of its competitors for a bad customer service experience, according to an Accenture consumer report,
Often consumers choose to visit the physical store locations to have a personal experience with sales staff, and that experience should not be lost online. To improve your connections with customers and increase sales across all platforms, you need to have an excellent customer support in place that allows consumers around the world meet their expectations across all the platforms.
So the bottom line is, if you think customer service isn’t important, think again.
3. NOT LEVERAGING AUTOMATION & TECHNOLOGY
In the age of AI and VR, automation is not at all the factor to underestimate. More and more of your customers are buying or visiting your site through tablets or smartphones every day. And guess what? 38% of companies reported that personalization is a top digital customer experience priority, according to the “2017 Digital Commerce Benchmark Survey,” from Boston Retail Partners.
Leverage artificial intelligence to understand your customers’ entire omnichannel journey and streamline how brands sell with more relevancy. This will seamlessly merge the online and physical touchpoints and deliver a much improved customer experience. Find out more on how to implement the digital customer experience here.
4. INABILITY TO EVALUATE DIFFERENT CHANNEL RESULTS
Employing a dozen marketing tactics doesn’t make much sense unless you can assess the performance of each one in the context of the whole campaign. Some businesses fail to evaluate cross-channel performance in an epic manner. Companies that are able to measure return on investment and impact of one channel over another are better positioned to get the big picture and head in the right direction.
By investing in omnichannel research solutions, you’ll be able to better understand how your platforms, from your brick and mortar locations to your Yelp page and more, are working together to create a seamless customer experience. This ongoing customer research data will help you to identify the right touchpoints and focus on strengthening them and connecting them to make it a seamless and tailor-made experience for your customers. It will also help you to identify the common issues that customers face and create a viable solution for them.
Simply put, omnichannel in retail is about bringing together the warmth of a local store, the convenience of an online store and the ease of choosing a channel based on the customer’s current needs. On a smaller scale, it may be easy to achieve, but in scaling this experience is where most retailers fail.
To truly deliver an exceptional experience requires the focus to stay squarely on the customer who made every effort to use your brand, one way or the other. Ignore that and the customers you have now, or any new ones you might have acquired will either stay home and order online or shop from a competitor. Look for the four points on this list you are guilty of and fix them before it is too late.