28 June 2019 Luke Goldsworthy

The difficulties of delivering a great omnichannel experience

When it comes to operating in a competitive environment, savvy businesses are utilising omnichannel commerce as a way to engage with the customer at all touchpoints. A great system will learn from the customer’s behaviour and deliver a consistent and tailored experience everywhere they shop.

If you can manage it, omnichannel commerce just makes sense. According to the Harvard Business Review, omnichannel customers “… spent an average of 4% more on every shopping occasion in the store and 10% more online than single-channel customers.” What’s more, the study also found that with every additional channel used, shoppers spent more in-store, with customers who used over four channels spending 9% more.

Unfortunately, the key phrase here is “if you can manage it”. Although omnichannel commerce is an asset to any business, it’s not always easy to execute. Here are some of the difficulties you might encounter when deciding to embark on omnichannel marketing.

It’s non-linear 

The omnichannel journey is complex and non-linear. With today’s technology, customers have a proliferation of touchpoints available to them. 

For example, they could follow your brand on social media but not buy anything; or they could walk in-store, check out your products and buy them online later; or perhaps they decide to buy your products online, collect their order in-store, and add more products to their cart as they check out. 

As you can see, there’s no straight line to the customer experience. Instead of a straight line, we need to re-imagine the customer experience as a spider’s web. And, no matter where your customer is in that web, you’ll need to be able to meet them in any given channel at any given time. Furthermore, because customers expect a personalised shopping experience, you will need to install systems that “remember” your customers no matter where they are. 

However, this brings up another challenge…

Your systems don’t talk to each other

Personalisation is key to the customer experience, but capturing and analysing all of this behavioural data is where things get complicated. Most omnichannel commerce involves the use of multiple standalone platforms, none of which talk to each other.

This means that a customer might have bought something online, but the in-store retail reps have no idea what’s going on. Customer behaviours might suddenly shift but the email marketing team won’t realise. Prices and stock levels online could vary wildly with what’s actually available in-store.

As you can see, the potential for chaos is high. To make it work, you’ll need a “Golden Record” – a single view of your customer that captures all information – whether that’s online, offline, through email, telephone, live chat, or social media. It lets you aggregate all this data into one place, which all teams can access, allowing everyone to get on the same page.

The only problem is creating a Golden Record is…

You don’t have the workforce or technology to support it

As we mentioned, managing multiple customers relationships at all touchpoints can be complex, especially when everyone is using different systems. For your omnichannel endeavour to succeed, you’re going to need employees who have channel-specific skills and experience, and the technology to execute this.

That’s why any great omnichannel experience usually starts with an ambitious dram and then a systems integration project. It’s an overhaul of every possible system you work with, (from product information and delivery to personalised email marketing and loyalty incentives) consolidating them all into a single integrated system.

All of these difficulties can be avoided when you choose Magento. Find out how to build a connected and customer-centric platform for your omnichannel experience in this PDF

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