Did you know that companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain 89% of customers compared to just 33% for those with a weak omnichannel strategy? Furthermore, Google research claims that 42% of in-store shoppers search for information online while in-store.
Another extensive study by the Harvard Business Review studied the shopping behavior of just over 46,000 customers and focused on which channels they used and why. Here are the eye-opening findings of the survey for omnichannel customers:
- 73% use multiple channels and retailer’s touchpoints during their shopping journey – such as smartphone apps, in-store digital tools (think: interactive catalog, price-checker, tablets), in-store pick-ups, online websites, etc.
- They spend an average of 10% more online than single-channel customers.
- They conduct prior online research, leading to 13% greater in-store spending.
- They demonstrate greater loyalty. Within six months of a shopping experience, they logged 23% more repeat shopping trips and were more likely to recommend the brand to family and friends than those who used a single channel.
The writing is on the wall: Fusing the shopping experience across channels – or in other words, omnichannel marketing – is the future, and the future is now.
To that end, let’s look at four examples of brands that are offering a seamless omnichannel customer experience and blurring the lines between physical and digital shopping, one channel at a time.
The top 4 brands with an omnichannel experience worth emulating
1. Target’s Partnership with Pinterest
Target partnered with Pinterest to integrate its visual search technology – Lens – into the retailer’s app and desktop website.
The idea: It will empower Target shoppers to take a photo of any product and find similar items available for sale at Target. In other words, the camera can be substituted for a keyword search.
How will this help?
- Enable a rich and easier way of exploring Target products
- Drive more customers to Target’s online site
- Increase the brand’s ad buy with Pinterest
- Help catch customers at the ‘moment of discovery’ and push them into the buying cycle via Pinterest instead of popular search engines like Google
The learning: Combining the power of omnichannel marketing and visual search (or audio search) can provide brands the edge over their competitors.
2. Starbucks’ Omnichannel Funnel
Starbucks’ omnichannel strategies are the stuff of legends. To stick to the social distancing norms and make things easier for the customer, the brand recently rolled out the “Mobile Order and Pay” initiative in India:
The idea: Here’s how the process works:
- Customers download the latest Starbucks India mobile app.
- They switch on the location or GPS services to allow the app to display the eligible stores.
- They register to become a My Starbucks Rewards member and provide their mobile number.
- They order and pay ahead for an order using the Mobile Order & Pay feature, without having to wait in a queue at the nearby Starbucks store. They simply go and pick the order up when it is ready:
Other benefits include the ability to:
- Customize the beverage.
- Pay using a registered Starbucks Card.
- Add balance to the card through the app and earn Stars on every order.
The learning: Integrating offline and online channels can provide users with convenient, personalized, and contactless transactions – a must in today’s business environment.
3. Lululemon’s Video Chat and Mirror Feature
Athleisure brand, Lululemon’s omnichannel strategy involves continually evolving the physical experience with digital driving momentum to bring the “ultimate omnichannel experience,” as the brand puts it.
Take, for instance, the brand’s “Video Chat” feature on its website:
It enables one-on-one interactions with customers and allows for a more personalized experience:
Then, of course, you have the intuitive and futuristic “Mirror” feature – dubbed as “the world’s first nearly invisible gym” – that allows home-style workouts through a mirror-like device. Basically, members can select from a huge collection of customizable workouts, on-demand classes, and one-on-one virtual personal training sessions, and train on a reflective mirror-screen hybrid:
The learning: By integrating the latest technological tools, brands can bridge the gap between the physical and virtual shopping experiences, as Lululemon demonstrates. All in all, the brand is able to deliver a memorable, shareable, repeatable, and addictive shopping experience to its loyal customer base.
4. ModCloth’s Live Chat Feature
Brands are increasingly using conversational customer experience platforms such as Acquire to deliver a seamless user experience. Take, for instance, ModCloth’s live chat feature that enables customers to connect with support agents instantly and have their queries addressed in real-time:
For brands like Nike that do not offer 24 x 7 live support and cater to a more global audience, they inform customers of the agent’s next available slot and allow users to send their queries which can be addressed by the next available agent. This way, no customer goes unnoticed, and none of their queries slip through the cracks, making the experience positive and complete:
Brands can also make use of chatbots, a.k.a., conversational agents, to offer personalized service to customers and offer contextual support from the get-go, as American Eagle’s bot “Aerie” demonstrates below:
The bot can also be trained to offer predefined options that customers can choose and leverage a relevant and hyper-personalized shopping experience:
These tools can also be used to capture critical customer data and gather feedback in real-time to improve the user experience as well as the product offering.
The learning: Using technological tools such as live chat and chatbots facilitates a more seamless and personalized user experience, encouraging repeat purchases and boosting customer engagement round-the-clock.
Customers today live in a channel-rich environment. For brands to raise the bar, providing a seamless and consistent omnichannel experience has emerged as a basic necessity.
With changes in buyer behavior and a dynamic shift in virtual shopping, owing to COVID-19, traditional brands will need to pivot their customer engagement strategy. Additionally, they will need to focus on creating an omnichannel funnel (and not just an isolated strategy) – one that understands the customer’s needs and provides them with a friction-free and consistent experience across every touchpoint. Thoughts?