One of the biggest buzzwords in this industry – omnichannel retailing. For some retailers, omnichannel hasn’t been the golden ticket they hoped it would quickly become. Studies show that customers who engage with a brand across multiple channels are more valuable. So where’s the disconnect?
There are a lot of things for a retailer to consider, discuss and plan for before making such a massive update to its strategy. It’s not as simple as just spinning up an e-commerce platform, rolling out an app or hiring someone to redesign your website. It’s about making sure that you have a presence wherever your customer needs you and serving up the right messaging based on where they are in their customer journey. This is no easy feat, and it requires significant preparation and infrastructure to accomplish.
Unfortunately, we see retailers skim over some of this prep work in their eagerness to join the omnichannel ranks. Here are the top three things that aren’t getting the consideration they deserve from retailers and are, in turn, preventing their success.
1. It’s important to start with a strong understanding of the customer journey
2. Your organization’s data practices must support the demands of an omnichannel approach
3. You may have to work to break down siloed incentive structures within your business
The customer journey should define your approach to omnichannel retailing. If you don’t have this information, invest the time and resources to execute primary and secondary research.
What you learn about how your target researches and purchases products within your category will shape your priorities. For example, perhaps consumers in your category lean heavily on online video to do research. If you’re not already doing online video, this should become a key area of focus for you.
The Industry Report by Multichannel Merchant revealed that 43% of marketers have found the integration of data across channels to be a major challenge. Clearing this hurdle is essential to your success.
Omnichannel relies on real time data to ensure that a consumer’s experience with the brand is seamless and personalized. Essentially, you need to create a profile for each consumer that logs their interactions across all channels with your brand. Then, that data needs to connect to the actual touchpoints your brand has with each person. Too many brands jump into omnichannel without planning for this need, and their marketing efforts fall short.
Often, businesses have channel-based teams who are charged with driving results within their specific channel. For example, there might be an e-commerce team, a call center team and a retail team. While this organizational structure can still work with an omnichannel strategy, it’s important to make sure that goals and incentives are aligned.
Teams who are judged and compensated based solely on the revenue driven by their channel will not be motivated to work across channels to make your omnichannel strategy work.
With all that said, achieving true omnichannel success takes time and dedication. But if you put the time in, you will experience the fruits of your labor. And so will your customers.