Today’s e-Commerce retailers engage their customers through multiple online and offline channels. Normally, when there is more than 1 channel involved, customers get redundant messages and inconsistent visuals, which puts them in a state where they are never really sure about their next strategy.
And this is exactly what your business needs to avoid.
E-Commerce is the kind of business that benefits most from the omnichannel model, as the goal here is to create a frictionless customer experience both online and in-store.
The buzz around omnichannel marketing is justified by the fact that 94% of retailers use multiple channels to engage with customers.
That brings us to the main question - how to create an omnichannel strategy?
This blog covers 9 steps to create an omnichannel strategy for your eCommerce business.
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Why Should You Develop an Omnichannel Strategy?
If you’re an online retailer and find yourself in a complex situation while managing business operations, the omnichannel approach is for you.
In the simplest terms, omnichannel marketing enables businesses to generate traffic and sales through higher availability and integration of digital touchpoints. Not only have customers derived more value from all touchpoints, but the omnichannel approach has also proven to be a far more sustainable one.
According to Business Insider, brands that engage customers through 10 or more channels get 49% more buyers that are likely to make purchases once a week. As a whole, the online retail landscape is shifting towards omnichannel strategies for an improved ROI.
Considering the highly-competitive nature of e-commerce businesses, developing your omnichannel strategy has become the need of the hour.
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An Omnichannel Strategy Should Focus on the Following Four Pillars:
An omnichannel strategy improves sales by engaging customers through their preferred touchpoints. It also allows you to re-target old customers through different channels and bring them back.
With an omnichannel approach, your marketing team can reach out to the right customers through the right channels at the right time.
Omnichannel marketing allows your business to create a unified shopping experience that provides customers with exactly what they need - regardless of the channel they use.
3. Fulfillment and logistics
You can benefit from a streamlined order fullfilment process with an effective omnichannel strategy. Receiving, warehousing, packaging, and shipment are all managed under one dashboard that connects multiple channels.
Meanwhile, you are also able to keep inventory, logistics, and distribution in sync to avoid delays and satisfy your customers.
Once you start collecting customer data and insights into their journeys, your brand can create a holistic overview and manage operations seamlessly. With an omnichannel approach, you can eliminate the hassle of creating and implementing new strategies for different channels.
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9 Steps to Create an Omnichannel Strategy
From the customer perspective, a frictionless shopping experience ennhances customer journeys and results in brand loyalty.
Customers now expect businesses to understand and satisfy their needs, both in terms of interaction and service delivery.
Based on today’s e-Commerce trends, personalization and effective communication are key to business growth. A great omnichannel strategy should be focused on offering a personalized customer experience across all channels and devices.
Here is what you need to know:
Discover platforms where your audience exists
Running a marketing campaign without knowing your audience is like shooting blindly in the air.
Building the right omnichannel strategy starts with identifying the target audience, the platforms and channels they prefer to use, and even the types of devices they use. All this leads to creating and optimizing the user experience.
Most importantly, you need to dig deep and find the pain points in your customers’ online experience, including the way your business platform interacts with them and what they prefer at every touchpoint.
Now that we have laid out what you need to identify, its important to understand that this information should not be based on guesswork.
You need to analyse the online shopping behaviours of your existing customers. For instance, Google Analytics allows you to observe user data that can be used as a basis to set up the ideal omnichannel strategy.
It also allows you to identify the preferred touchpoints and key areas that you need to focus on while putting together your omnichannel strategy.
Identify your buyer personas
Once you have analysed your existing customers’ journeys as a baseline, it’s time to consider new prospects to target.
These are customers who search for products online before making a purchase at brick-and-mortar stores. Identifying buyer personas starts by drawing out the identity of your ideal customer.
Your buyer persona should comprise demographics, shopping habits, communication preferences, and also payment methods.
Simultaneously, you have to keep an eye on the details of customer journey, such as the payment methods used, traffic source, and purchase frequency.
A great way to get around buyer personas is to bring together your entire marketing team and learn every aspect of customer experience that matters.
Using multiple touchpoints, you can get updated information about customer behaviors and how they want their shopping experience to be. In many cases, these preferences and behaviors vary depending on the category of products or services being offered.
Leveraging business intelligence, XStak’s retail operating system accelerates and streamlines your customer research process to help design the right strategies for the right market.
Perform audience segmentation
Once your target audience is established, the next step is to segment them into groups. This step of creating the ideal omnichannel strategy comes in handy when analyzing which customer is buying a specific product or category of products.
- The lack of personalized content results in 83% lower response rates.
- Businesses that offer personalized content get repeat purchases from 44% of their customers.
For businesses offering a variety of products and services, audience segmentation eases the delivery of personalized content. As a result, retailers can improve sales, marketing, and the quality of their services.
With XStak’s omnichannel retail solution, you can automate this process and leverage rule-based audience segmentation. Moreover, you can customize the criteria for segmentation based on your busines model and even expand pre-defined personas.
All of this means you to offer suggestions based on customer activities and improve customer satisfaction rate.
Analyze your customer's journey
Given that customer segmentation is done and each of your customers is being categorized in the most relevant funnel based on their activity, the next step is to analyze their journey.
Keeping track of the omnichannel journey allows you to identify the areas where customers get stuck. Then you can come up with solutions to enhance those bits and further streamline the user experience.
A customer who makes a single purchase from your brand may have used multiple channels to search, select, and buy a certain product.
Your business needs a solution to bring together information from all channels involved and analyze data in real time. With this information, you can dig deep into customers’ decision-making and thought process - before and after they make the purchase.
XStak’s all-in-one retail management solution leverages business intelligence to take the burden of data extraction off your shoulders. That means next gen retailers can get valuable insights about activity on all channels under one dashboard, hence making room for considerable improvements.
Customer experience does not only change with time, but also varies depending on the channels customers use to interact with your brand. For this reason, real-time mapping of customer journey is your go-to strategy for identifying and fixing any required changes.
With this information, you can dig deep into customers’ decision-making and thought process - before and after they make the purchase.
It also helps categorize a set of ideal customers that your business can target. You can determine what element of your omnichannel model is working well for your customers and use it as a source to improve customer experience in the future.
Prioritize channels and devices
While you are adopting the omnichannel approach, it’s important to understand that all channels cannot be considered equal. For instance, some channels may require you to send push notifications to the customer, while others may require personalized text messages.
Designing an effective omnichannel strategy requires you to prioritize channels based on customer preferences. As a starting point, you can pick channels that are most popular among customers and benefit from improved engagement.
When you offer an enhanced user experience, profitability also increases. The best way to find out what customers like is by looking at your existing customers, especially loyal ones.
Some might prefer emails and push notifications, while others would want to bring forward their concerns over live chat.
You need to ensure that the customer who wants just a simple notification does not get bothered by repetitive live chat messages, as this may result in negative sentiments.
So how do you get around prioritizing channels?
The ideal waypath would be to make every channel successful in itself. Whether your customer connects with your brand online or offline, they get an equally immersive experience.
Of course, you will have to analyze market trends to develop an understanding of the success and failure of every small change. This can be handled using surveys and feedback forms where customers can list down their preferences. Based on these reviews, you can assign priorities to each device and channel independently.
Integrate all channels seamlessly
We have streamlined and shortlisted the preferred channels and devices, but the ideal omnichannel strategy is not complete without integrations.
Inter-connecting every aspect of your omnichannel model is imperative to keep customers connected across all touchpoints. Failing to integrate multiple channels seamlessly is the end of your omnichannel approach.
To address this challenge, you need the right omnichannel retail solution that integrates mobile, web, social media, email, and physical channels to ensure frictionless customer journeys.
Integrating all channels requires keeping track of customer journeys across all touchpoints and inter-connecting them in real time - all of which is an automated process with XStak’s Omnichannel solution.
Enhance the customer support experience
Customer service is a key factor in making or breaking your brand image. Whether you offer a great service or top of the line products, if you don’t respond to customers on time, it’s all in vain.
With any business platform, customers require instant responses. Otherwise they do not think twice before shifting to another brand. It’s important not to miss out customer queries while you embrace the omnichannel approach in terms of marketing and sales.
Just like integrations for payments and channels, customer support should also be consistent across all platforms. This means that a customer should get a consistent experience and instant responses regardless of the channel they interact with.
Establish a testing habit
Testing your marketing campaigns is always a good idea. With the omnichannel approach, it should be more than just an idea. As most of your digital marketing data can be tracked, you can evaluate the progress of your omnichannel strategy as you move along.
The simplest way to do this is by assessing different variables of your email marketing campaigns. These can be as small as the subject line or the forms you require customers to fill in.
Moreover, if a given email template or format does not seem to work, you can use a completely different approach. Most social media campaigns are designed in iterations with testing of different CTAs and landing page formats over a period of time.
Keeping track of your performance
Apart from testing the effectiveness of your marketing strategies based on internal aspects like formats, you also need to define KPIs and measure the overall performance.
With multiple channels connected together, it is not easy to analyze the KPIs manually to track performance. For this reason, you require efficient omnichannel retail solutions that can analyze and display cross-channel information under one unified dashboard.
With XStak’s Omnichannel solution, you can easily keep an eye on the performance reports and real-time data that indicates whether your campaign is successful or not.
Moreover, your omnichannel strategy must be based on an agile framework that ensures continuous improvements along the way. With this approach, you can address the smallest of concerns and find ways to resolve them.
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An omnichannel strategy allows your e-Commerce business to deliver a cohesive experience across multiple channels while building brand loyalty.
The omnichannel approach is not only about having multiple channels, but to make the most out of all channels at the same time.
Whether you have multiple online channels or a combination of online and in-store channels, XStak’s omnichannel retail solution handles the task of providing your customers with the best shopping experience.
Become An Omnichannel Retailer
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