The year is 2018 and our use of technology is continuing to evolve, becoming more entwined with how we live our lives.That's why it's safe to assume as you're reading this you have 5 or more open tabs.
As a society we never really "log off".
Technology is also changing how we work, consume news, and make purchases. And make online purchases we do. Most notably, in 2017 e-commerce sales hit a record high of $453.5 billion, putting growth from the previous year at 16 percent. Until we hit our glass ceiling of technological advances, companies continue to look for new ways to integrate it into their business strategies.
This is when implementing an omni-channel customer experience strategy becomes the obvious next step.
First, what is omni-channel?
Omni-channel is a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience. Made up of individual touch points over a variety of different channels that seamlessly connect, omni-channel offers customers an integrated and congruent experience across all platforms.
Meaning no matter how or where a customer reaches out; whether that be on their mobile device, computer, or in stores. Their shopping experience will be streamlined from start to finish.
If this is your fist time coming across omni-channel, you might assume you're already using it. How? Because most business' today have a website, Instagram, and Facebook all dedicated to their brand. These are the multiple channels that define the omni-channel approach. What you may be missing however is the omni-channel ability to sync each as to ensure the customers experience is never interrupted.
For example, you have a brick-and-mortar store, and a customer has come in looking for a specific item. Because you have an omni-channel strategy in place, you're able to cross check their information with the chat they held earlier in the day with a member of your websites customer service team. In this moment, you're able to bypass the details of said customers search, and get them the item(s) they were looking for quickly and efficiently.
Sound ideal? Check out three more benefits of implementing an omni-channel strategy for your business below.
1. Streamlined business operations
As mentioned in the example above, customers are utilizing multiple platforms to make purchases, and you want to be ready for any of them. Whether you're a chain with 20 brick-and-mortar stores across the country or an entirely online brand, you should be able to offer customers the same quality products and services across each channel.
With the right omni-channel technology you're immediately notified of significant changes in inventory, both in-store and online, so you never to be "out of stock". Instead you can make informed decisions about inventory to keep up with demand. Omni-channel also simplifies the buying process for customers, keeping all of their info and prior search history all in one, to give them a seamless buying experience.
2. Customer Diversity
A mistake many business' make is assuming all customers are the same. Because one customer doesn't utilize the chat function on your website, doesn't mean the next visitor hasn't specifically logged on to ask a question via chat. Same goes for customers who only shop online. There are still those who love the ability to go into a brick-and-mortar store. Your customer service both in store and online should be up to par and able to fulfill all customers requests.
This is where omni-channel comes in to deliver a seamless and satisfactory experience to all clients. The ability to diversify your offerings to fit customer needs makes them feel special. Thus, more inclined to spend their money. Customers are more likely to choose a business who feels familiar. Like a carefully curated user experience to support their financial decisions.
3. Customer Satisfaction
Technological advances have given the power back to the customer. Choosing the right omni-channel technology, you're able to navigate their needs seamlessly. The difference between a good retailer and a great retailer is their ability to continually meet and exceed customers expectations.
With the help of omni-channel, your business' ability to meet customer demands become more flexible as you are no longer held to old constraints. Opening and closing times of your brick-and-mortar store, or delays and lack of inventory online. You'll be able to diversify your offerings, keeping customers happy and turning them into repeat buyers.