Your brand is not a singular channel - a website only, or a store only. Online and off, your customers experience your brand on websites, apps, social media, via email and more.

You’re probably struggling to make that journey a seamless one for your customers and dial into the strategies it takes to step-up your game. Let’s look at some data:

  • 87% of retailers believe that an omnichannel strategy is critical to success Source
  • Companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers - compared with the retention rate of only 33% for companies with weak omnichannel engagement. Source

And…

  • Only 8% of retailers believe they have achieved a successful omnichannel strategy. Source

It’s a complex problem but can be simply stated:

Marketers struggle to tie the touchpoints together. Cliché though it may be, the leaders in an omni-channel world are more customer-centric than those they leave in their wake.

What do your customers want?

In their eBook, Stop Thinking Channels - Start Thinking Journeys, the customer journey analytics experts at Thunderhead claim customers want your brand to:

  • Know their needs - A one-size-fits-all approach won’t cut it. Customers want to be treated as individuals.
  • Understand my intent - You know why your customer is in contact, so deliver in context.
  • Simplify the conversation - Customers despise having to repeat themselves. Spare them the pain.
  • Remove the friction - Make it easy for customers to get what they need (or someone else surely will).

Do these things and you win happy customers that spend more with you, stay with you longer and tell their friends about your brand.

Customers don’t think in channels…

But most businesses do.

Customers are simply trying to achieve something. The customer is on his or her own unique journey aiming to avoid hassles. Obviously, their journey can span a variety of channels.

Brands, unfortunately, are locked into looking at the customer from a channel specific point of view. They’re organized around business processes, operating in siloed departments and are ill-equipped to orchestrate conversations across channels, considering content and intent.

These gaps contribute to giving customers:

  • Inconsistent experiences
  • Channel-specific interactions
  • Disconnected conversations
  • Irrelevant messages

Here are some data points from Thunderhead’s Engagement 3.0 Research Report that reveal how costly these problems are:

  • 92% of consumers feel negative when asked to provide information multiple times
  • 62% switch providers after three negative experiences
  • 87% have a poor perception of a brand when they feel they’ve been treated with a one-size-fits-all approach

It’s time to adapt a journey mindset.

Your brand now needs to embrace the concept of the customer managed journey. The data and systems that fuel your sales, customer service and marketing must be unified. Your brand must learn from each interaction to improve the choices it offers and guide your customer’s interactions.

The customer journey mindset recognized a series of tenets:

  • The customer owns the journey. It’s not a funnel. You don’t manage it. You listen, learn and respond intelligently.
  • A customer can be on multiple journeys. The opposite of a one-size-fits-all approach to customer journey management.
  • Journeys are non-linear and unpredictable. Aspire to gather information dynamically and meet the customers’ needs in real-time.
  • Brands need to speak with one voice. Silo-busting required.
  • Every step on the journey is an opportunity to create value. The journey ends when the expected value is not delivered.
  • Journey performance reveals to you what does and doesn’t work. Lessons learned on the path to improvement.

Moving toward omni-channel success.

“An omni-channel experience is one that is personalized, engaging, relevant and most importantly, continuous across human, digital and physical channels.” Source: Accenture

Onmi Channel

Accenture offers a 7P omni-channel framework and states it provides the necessary components a company needs to address to achieve omni-channel success.

They add that success ultimately traces to:

  • Reorienting your company so it is no longer siloed but holistic, agile and staffed by empowered employees.
  • Deploying technology that can scale and flex to meet the ever-changing needs of customers.
  • Delighting customers through deeply personalized experiences.

A real life look at journey thinking from Red Wing Shoes:

Below are two different pictures of journeys or paths a Red Wing Shoe prospect or previous customer can take based on the knowledge of that customer’s preferences ahead of time. Let’s take a closer look at what each path shows us:

Journey

In the above picture, we can see a journey of an already known or existing Red Wing Shoes customer based on a previous boot purchased at a local store.

Journey

In the path above here, we can see that this particular prospect may have been previously viewing boots on the Red Wing Shoes site. From there, they were cookied and thus shown images of the exact boot they were looking at from the site in Facebook ad format, further prompting them on their journey to follow the ad to receive $20 off their next boot purchase at a local Red Wing Shoes store. As you can see, the imagery shown of the exact boot first looked at online follows them throughout their path to purchase.

Above descriptions of images paraphrased for future reference if needed:

Basically, there are 2 paths here (shown in each picture), each based on our knowledge of the consumers previous boot purchase or knowledge of what they’ve looked at on the site before. The exact path varies based on our knowledge of them (whether the Acquisition Landing page was in the journey or not).

The Supersole image is the path example of looking at a boot on the site previously or clicked-through a social channel.

Additional Sources of Inspiration for Omnichannel Engagement:

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