The way our customers shop is changing. With more devices, platforms, and channels than ever before, it’s important that we understand how to leverage technology to better meet them where they spend their time. In this post, we talk about how omnichannel shopping experiences bridge the gap between CX, loyalty, and brand engagement.
SEAMLESS PURCHASING EXPERIENCES
Bo Derek once told a reporter “Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness, simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” And while she was likely referring to the joy of bringing home a bag of brand-new designer threads, there’s something empirically true about it. Our perception of a product (or brand) can be, and often is, shaped as much by the relative ease or difficulty we experience during the purchasing process as by the product, itself.
The idea of curating the shopping experiences isn’t an extraordinarily new one, however. Since the days of Rowland Macy and New York City’s first department stores, we’ve known that shopping was as much about the way shopping makes you feel, as the simple exchange of goods and services. The notion of providing the kind of experiences that drive growth has, however, become monstrously more complex in the digital age.
Shoppers now discover, engage, and transact with us over a dizzying number of platforms and channels – from applications to social media to websites. It’s enough to make a marketer’s head spin. Instead of merchandisers curating a single controlled brick-and-mortar experience, they must now juggle a virtual parade of developers, UX specialists, visual designers, and the like to ensure the type of seamless purchasing experiences that customers have become accustomed to, function in tandem, over many different devices, platforms, and channels, all in real-time.
How much impact does all of this have on your business?
The data speaks for itself.
Knexus says that “15 years ago the average consumer typically used two touch-points when buying an item and only 7% regularly used more than four. Today consumers use an average of almost six touch-points with nearly 50% regularly using more than four”
Digital Commerce 360’s research says that “Companies with robust omnichannel customer engagement retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement.”
Zendesk tells us that “Over 35% of customers expect to be able to contact the same customer service representative on any channel.”
For merchants, that means the strength of your overall shopping experience – not just the way it looks, but the precision with which it functions, often sets the tone for your brand’s ability to live up to its core principals – which likely place some outward emphasis on giving your customers a phenomenal shopping experience.
DEFINING THE OMNICHANNEL SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
The term “omnichannel shopping experience” refers to a merchant’s ability to extend their sales funnel, customer service, and checkout process over many different platforms and channels simultaneously, from the customer’s first moment of truth all the way to post-sale customer service.
Building a successful omnichannel shopping experience includes your ability to engage customers through various marketing platforms like social media, applications, and mobile websites, but also involves more complex subject matter like inventory management, customer service, and allocation.
Addressing your brand’s ability to meet your customer’s needs – or lack thereof – will inevitably lead to some fundamental questions about how consumers have changed over the last twenty years and whether your brand is adapting to the shifting sands or sinking in them…
64% of customers expect to receive real-time assistance regardless of the customer service channel they use.
While overall retail numbers continue to grow in leaps and bounds, the recent downturn in the brick-and-mortar ecosystem has given us an especially potent reminder that adapting to the way our customers spend their time and money, is one of the most fundamentally important aspects of how we do business in 2017, and not an after-thought.
If you’re looking to build omnichannel loyalty, e-commerce, and order processing functionality for your business, bLoyal can help. Our technology integrates with fourteen different point-of-sale and e-commerce solutions to help you build omnichannel shopping experiences that your customers will love. Check out the rest of our site or request a demo to get started.