In the age of the digital consumer, retailers are expected to be near to where consumers are. Therefore, omnichannel retail technologies exist to enable a seamless customer experience.
The idea behind omnichannel retail is to combine the various touchpoints of the customer journey to create a seamless shopping experience.
It’s impossible to create an omnichannel strategy that fits all businesses. Instead, each firm must adapt the strategy to its specific industry and target audience.
For example, Target is an American retail chain with a clear omnichannel strategy, more or less focusing on optimizing its e-commerce game. When customers shop on Target’s website, they have the convenience of choosing home delivery for either same-day or in two days at no extra cost. Alternatively, they can go pick up their paid items at a nearby Target store, known as the in-store and curbside options.
Not only that, but Target has worked out a way to source its inventory both from retail locations and from its own warehouses to provide inventory that is available across channels. Customers can also enjoy Target’s loyalty program, which grants free membership and allows them to gain special discounts regardless of where they shop with Target. They’d have to use either their phone number, customer account on Target.com, scan with shopping receipts, the Target app, and the Target RedCard.
The goal of omnichannel business is for customers to switch between channels regardless of the brand tactics used seamlessly. With each experience, customers develop a closer relationship with the brand.
Why Is Omnichannel Retail Important?
As detailed in our last post, the growth of e-commerce, changing consumer behavior, and tough competition have led to the increased focus on omnichannel retail.
In parallel, there’s a growing number of technologies aiding brands to supercharge their omnichannel game. Here are just some of the reasons that make omnichannel retail so much more critical than ever:
- Online shopping has spiked in recent years. According to Statista, digital devices will influence 58% of in-store sales by 2022. There are many uses for mobile devices among consumers, such as making payments, managing loyalty cards, and communicating with customer service representatives. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic forcing more people to stay at home, online sales have skyrocketed. E-commerce sales represented 21.3% of total retail sales in the United States in 2020. As well as video, there has been a huge growth in streaming in which two-thirds of consumers say they watched more video content in 2020. Digital devices will have the ability to run augmented reality (AR) and other video-based apps seamlessly as more and more cities get 5G coverage. In the field of video technologies, 5G will spur innovation.
- Customers prefer having the option of being able to use multiple devices. Nearly a quarter of shoppers research prices on multiple channels or use in-store tablets to shop online.
- Consumers from all generations preferred interacting with brands on both digital and physical channels.
- There’s abundant opportunity for retailers to capitalize on if omnichannel is done right. Although over 90% of retail leaders are already scaling with an omnichannel approach or planning to do so, about 8% of them truly feel they have it down right, and only 10% of global customers believe brands are truly offering a seamless customer experience.
- Most retailers do not own the right omnichannel tool or none at all. Nearly 50% of brick-and-mortar stores do not have enough effective technological capabilities to integrate many different retail sources seamlessly.
Source: The State of Omnichannel Retail by Brightpearl & Multichannel Merchant
3 Top Omnichannel Retail Marketing Technologies
The secret to omnichannel retail marketing success lies in connecting with your customers where they are. Nowadays, regardless of what content it is, customers don’t just want to read a message, but they expect it to be personalized towards their needs and to see it across multiple screens.
Omnichannel retail challenges for marketers mainly involve:
- Some companies still use outdated tech infrastructure that does not integrate well with modern programs.
- Another issue is the separation of data. A lack of data integration prevents teams from discovering new business opportunities and critical insights.
- Although companies use modern analytics tools, privacy concerns still govern the amount and types of data collected, shared, and analyzed.
The good news is that new technologies, such as customer data platforms, omnichannel marketing tools, and loyalty tech can assist companies in overcoming these challenges and improving customer connections.
Unified Customer Analytics Tools
A unified customer analytics tool can help businesses gather and organize customer data from various online sources to create more comprehensive customer profiles. As companies can collect more accurate, detailed information on each customer, they can orchestrate more seamless customer experiences across all channels.
The tool contains information about customers gathered from companies’ websites and social media platforms. Companies who gather their own data can optimize marketing campaigns – for instance; they can create a specific advertising audience based on landing pages.
Omnichannel Marketing Tools
Omnichannel marketing platforms help companies automate communicating with their customers by delivering a unified marketing message by using multiple channels, including email, SMS, search engines, and social media. The message is not the same for every customer. Instead of just adapting to customers’ interactions with other channels, messaging can have a more dynamic response.
Marketing via multiple channels has considerable benefits. According to an omnichannel marketing platform called Omnisend, using three or more channels significantly increase purchase rates over campaigns using only one channel.
Loyalty Management Tools
Software tools such as loyalty and rewards technology help companies engage and drive repeat business from their customers. The tools may engage customers, create advocacy campaigns, create loyalty programs, and implement gamification programs.
Consumer behaviors beyond purchases should also be rewarded. Occasionally, customers are not quite ready to buy yet but are still interested in engaging with a brand. Modern loyalty and rewards technology can keep people engaged about their accounts until they are ready to shop with badge icons, special statuses, etc.
Loyalty and rewards tech are software tools that companies use to engage customers post-purchase and drive repeat sales. These tools may help with customer engagement, advocacy marketing, loyalty programs, gamification, and other initiatives.
Enhance Your Omnichannel Retail Strategy With an AI-Driven Customer Analytics Tool
As a unified Voice of the Customer (VoC) analytics software, Wonderflow lets companies collect customer feedback data from over 200 channels. Its artificial intelligence, specifically natural language processing (NLP), analyzes the vast stream of public and private texts to report granular insights in a highly comprehensible dashboard (“the Wonderboard”). Professionals across departments can utilize deep consumer insights to develop customer-centric strategies, products, and services. Level up your omnichannel retail strategy today and talk with one of our VoC experts in a free demo.