5 Key Factors That Go Into Building Unified Omni-Channel Experiences

Check  the product out at the store. Buy it online. Have it delivered at the  doorstep of your home or office. The omni-channel retail experience is  becoming increasingly ubiquitous, and businesses are going all out to  develop smarter, more seamless engagement strategies for the  ‘post-digital’ world.

More  and more retailers are beginning to understand that merely having a  presence on multiple channels is no longer enough to woo new markets.  Brands are boosting omni-channel engagement by creating personalized,  on-demand content that enriches the customer journey across channels by  offering contextually relevant information and experiences.

In  fact, a powerful omni-channel strategy that delivers a unified brand  experience can unlock new markets and increase your customer base - and  that’s why it’s important to have a strong foundation in place from the  start. Here are 5 essentials that go into building a modern omni-channel  strategy.

Data Management: For Consistency and Convenience

Having  a single source of truth or a “golden record” of product information,  i.e., a consolidated, well-defined version of all data entities present  in an organizational ecosystem, is at the heart of effective data  management. This helps you create richer brand experiences by ensuring  that every customer touchpoint offers relevant and consistent  information for every product, thereby letting customers seamlessly move  from one channel to another in their buying journey.

Unified, Connected Systems Power Omnichannel

Siloed  systems and disparate workflows are anathemas to any omni-channel  strategy. To create a seamless customer experience (CX), you’ll need to  deploy APIs to accelerate data transfers and smoothly integrate  mission-critical applications needed to improve your technology  landscape. This way real-time inventory can be synchronized between  physical/online stores with integrated customer data and dynamic  workflow engines. It further makes sure optimum omni-channel enablement  on customer touchpoints like IoT devices, point-of-sale, kiosks, and the  likes.

Shared Workflows Help Everyone

It’s  hard to execute omnichannel retail if you don’t have shared workflows  between your stakeholders. Shared workflows make it easier for employees  and third parties to access product information that’s most relevant to their  role. For example, a digital marketer may not need to know the product’s  expiry date or it’s temperature threshold for spoilage, but a logistics  operator could very well find this information essential. Over the  years, several Product Information Management (PIM) solutions have made  it easier to accurately distribute relevant information throughout the  retail landscape. By storing this information in a master file, and  enabling access via API calls, PIM platforms act as a key enabler of any  omni-channel strategy and helps your stakeholders to effectively  contribute to enriching the customer experience.

Product Attributes and Rich Media Integration

The  importance of having product attributes assigned to each inventory unit  within your database simply cannot be understated. Not only do product  attributes offer your customers a richer, more relevant view of their  prospective purchases, they can also help nudge them along their buying  journey. Through videos, images and accurate product descriptions, it  can be made easier for warehousing and in-store staff to acquire better  product visibility, which helps them in creating a more compelling  retail experience for the buyer.

Segmentation and Targeting Are Essential

If  you aren’t using your customer data to create personalized and relevant  experiences for your customers, you’re not taking full advantage of  your analytics. According to a study by MarketingSherpa, more than 20% of customers opt-out of brand communications due to receiving irrelevant content.  This demonstrates how important it is to segment your target markets and  tailor unique content that is relevant to each section of customers  that engages with your brand. For example, millennials may like  receiving vibrant and contemporary content on their smartphones, while  specific, offer-based emails may appeal to an older audience.

To Summarize

A  good omni-channel strategy has the potential to exponentially grow your  customer base and revenues. The Harvard Business Review recently  conducted a study showing that 73% of shoppers used multiple retail channels. This statistic supports a study by the Aberdeen Group, stating that retailers with a powerful omnichannel game retained over 89% of their customers – which is staggering, to say the least.

To  truly master the omni-channel ecosystem, you’ll need to engage in active  experimentation. It’s not enough to just hit fire-and-forget on your  automation workflows - you’ll need to constantly tweak and re-engineer  product experiences on different channels to see what works best for  each of your target audiences.  

Based  on this article, consider how well your enterprise has executed  omni-channel and whether there are any glaring gaps that need to be  filled. Also, consider investing in a solid product information  management (PIM) and master data management (MDM) strategy that can help  you address all of the above without breaking a sweat. And remember, at  the end of the day, CX is what makes or breaks any omni-channel  strategy. That’s why it’s important to continually deliver new customer  experiences that aren’t confined to a single platform but can instead be  uniquely experienced across a plethora of touchpoints.