Welcome to the age of the omnichannel consumer. In this new environment, marketers have their work cut out for them.
As my colleague Sana Dubarry explains in a recent article in Decision Marketing, unlike traditional multichannel shoppers, omnichannel consumers use all channels simultaneously—including store, catalogue, call center, web and mobile.
Sana writes that the omnichannel consumer is driven by the ubiquity of social, mobile and traditional technology, whereby they can browse, purchase and receive products in the manner and time they prefer. This shift in purchase behavior requires that modern marketers create a seamless customer experience across all touch points.
Marketers have long preached the need to optimize the customer experience. Today this need is more complicated than ever given the way that consumers behave and the evolution of their expectations.
So here are five tips to create a consistent and fluid experience that will lead to long-term engagement with desirable outcomes:
- 1) Understand who your customers are. It’s difficult to build an engagement strategy that allows you to interact with consumers in a relevant and consistent manner that drives value until you actually understand what defines their relationship with your brand or organization. Who are they in terms of demographic and socio economic data points? Where do they shop? What channels do they use to research and compare your products or services? How do they transact? All of this data is key to understanding your customer segments in a multidimensional model.
- 2) Understand that not all customers are created equal. Recognize the fact that your customer base is going to be demographically and psychographically diverse, and some will prefer a different experience to others, be that in terms of the channels they use or the level of engagement they feel comfortable with. Embrace these differences and don’t try to create a one-size-fits-all approach.
- 3) Understand that what a customer does not do is just as important as what they do. Marketers typically tend to focus on driving a desired outcome that’s underscored by a particular action – a registration, a purchase, a download. But sometimes we need to focus on what a customer does not do and why they do not do it, in order to fully appreciate the experience they are looking for in their relationship with a brand or organization. Only with a complete 360 degree view can we create an engaging omnichannel experience.
- 4) Understand that just because you have data and insights into what your customers are doing, this cannot on its own drive customer experience marketing. Data doesn’t have an opinion; it tells you the facts. You need to have access to knowledge to turn the data and insights into actions that drive the desired outcomes. Nothing can drive this process forward more than experience. Find the right people who have opinions and who can interpret trends in data and how they can be used to drive consumer engagement.
- 5) Test, learn and evolve. Customers mature, channels evolve and products are developed. What you do today to drive engagement will not necessarily work tomorrow, next week or next year. Ensure you have the ability and resources to continually test and hypothesize outcomes, deploy your programmes and then optimize. If your programmes take a static “build-once-and-deploy-forever” approach, the only thing you will guarantee is failure.
Is your organization focused on the omnichannel experience? Tell us what you’re doing to drive engagement in the comments. Also please take a moment to read Sana’s full article, Rise of the Omnichannel Consumer in Decision Marketing.