Online too, the customer is king (or queen), but how can you achieve this and what is an omnichannel strategy?
Shopping online should be as easy and fun as in a physical store, right? Apparently, the creators of this sketch saw things differently. Although this is not reality, the sketch clearly illustrates (understatement) that in an online store, the focus must be on entirely different matters to make the customer feel like a king (or queen). So, how can you tackle this challenge? Below, we list two crucial tips for a successful omnichannel strategy.
1. Define a clear omnichannel strategy
Online shopping can be best compared to a massive marketplace where everyone is shouting at once. Everyone wants the consumer’s attention and everyone has the best deal. To stand out positively in this information overload, recognizability and clarity are essential. You can achieve this through an omnichannel strategy. With this, you offer the same (online) shopping experience to all your customers across all your sales outlets. It shouldn’t matter whether they buy something in a physical store or via social media or your online shop. The experience is always the same (and thus predictable), greatly increasing the likelihood of the customer feeling like a king (or queen).
If this concept seems vague: almost all major supermarkets use an omnichannel strategy. By visiting and comparing their sales outlets (social media, website, mobile app, store), you’ll undoubtedly get a clear picture of what omnichannel means. And whether and how it adds value to your business. If you want to delve deeper, read this study on how Albert Heijn set up its omnichannel strategy.
The numbers speak for themselves. According to research by Aspect Software, companies that employ an omnichannel strategy retain their customers 91 percent longer on average. A massive difference when it comes to loyalty.
2. Utilize a centralized IT approach
To successfully implement an omnichannel strategy, it is vital that your customers have a similar shopping experience at all your sales points, both online and offline. You can hardly do without an IT system that integrates all these points.
Such a centralized IT approach, where all (customer) data is located in one place, has significant advantages. For both you and your customers.
- Personalization: The assortment can be tailored per store to the behavior of people in your online store. If people in, for instance, Utrecht buy more cookbooks online, then you make sure that the physical store in Utrecht also has more cookbooks in stock.
- Data: You can precisely map where, when, and even why your customers buy something. These new insights help you to better align your offer with your customers’ needs. This data is also the basis for predictive AI models. To follow the behavior of your customers in the store, you can use a discount card, for example.
- Customer Friendliness: Because you know more about your customers, both in terms of behavior and actions, you can better assist them when they have questions. If there is a question about a delivery, for instance, you can quickly see where and when it was sold and where this product is now.
Switching to a new way of working
So yes, there are plenty of benefits! However, the switch to this new way of working is certainly not easy. Building a new centralized IT system that supports an omnichannel strategy is usually a time-consuming and costly enterprise. It also requires a lot of technical knowledge, especially if your current IT system is a bit older. In addition to the technical aspect, it can also be a major shift for your staff to master a new, more data-based way of working.
Taking up the challenge
Concluding it is clear there are plenty of challenges. However, given the many benefits of omnichannel and centralized and modern IT, it’s certainly worth it. At LINKIT, we’d be happy to help you realize a new customer strategy, including the accompanying technical challenges. Please feel free to contact us.