We defined omni-channel as, "a multi-channel sales tactic that provides shoppers with seamless experiences online (across all devices and networks) and in-store."
Now, we'll take a look at the key elements that contribute to making an omni-channel experience successful. All omni-channel experiences should be:
1. Consistent: The modern consumer is likely to hit every single one of a retailer's touchpoints during their path-to-purchase. They'll do some research online to read customer reviews, check out social media to see what their peers are saying and make an in-store visit to try something out or on.
A consumer expects the same experience, service and information across every interaction. If they run into a barrier and their expectations are not met, they'll likely abandon their shopping cart. In fact, 51% of customers expect a retailer's product offering to be the same across all channels, and 57% expect all online and offline touchpoints to be consistent.
2. Convenient: The modern consumer has no time to waste. They want what they want when they want it. An omni-channel experience should accommodate this behavior in order to keep a consumer's attention (and their business) because they're not going to go out of their way to make up for what a retailer is lacking.
Have you ever been disappointed to find that a retailer doesn't have all or any of their inventory on their website? You're not alone. Over 70% of consumers expect to see in-store inventory online.
Additionally, over 50% of consumers expect a convenient purchasing/exchange process that seamlessly transitions between online and offline. They want to complete purchases online and pick-up or exchange in-store.
3. Personal: Great omni-channel experiences are tailored to the buying preferences of individual consumers. Consumers want real-time interaction that is best suited to their browsing habits and transaction history. This means, as an example, websites that dynamically change to display relevant "You may also like" sections on product pages.
Look to retailer Aritzia for inspiration. Stylists personally email online shoppers with recommendations based on their past purchases. It's a nice personal touch that matches the in-store service that shoppers are treated to by sales associates.
In fact, nearly 60% of consumers are willing to share personal details, like measurement and size, with retailers in order to receive a shopping experience that is tailored exactly to them.
4. Empowering: Omni-channel strategies should, obviously, be centered around your consumers. Find out what information they want and need to make purchasing decisions. Make all of that info available from every (or the most relevant) touchpoint. In doing this, you create trust and a loyal customer base (for most retailers, 80% of revenue comes from 20% of their loyal customer base).
It's likely that consumers are using their phones to research options (reading product specs and reviews on your website, conversations on social media) when looking for a product. They're probably looking up info while they're walking through your store. They shouldn't have to work hard to find exactly what they're looking for on your website. So, make all info easy to find across all devices.
5. Socially Savvy: More than 80% of consumers are more willing to research and evaluate products from brands that they follow on social media. And in today's market, over half of all customer service questions and issues are started on Facebook, Twitter, etc. It's important for retailers to be on social media to help consumers make buying decisions and to field questions or complaints (and hopefully complements). It provides an easy and direct line to consumers, one that they expect when they need to reach out for any reason.