When e-commerce became a part of the business world in the late 90s, it was viewed as merely something new and something different. Conventional retailers regarded their purely-online competitors as invaders and not really much of a threat. Those who tried to adapt went ahead and put up a separate division, and used unique set of tools and procedures.
As years passed, retailers began to realize what omni-channel really means and how they are viewed by customers – not as a separate group of channels but rather as a singular brand.
To meet the demands of customers for a unified experience, businesses should bring their systems and processes together across various channels. Now most have the same tools applied across all channels. For more forward-thinking retailers, what the future holds is not actually an omni-channel experience but in essence, a unified one. After all, customers focus on their brad experience not a channel experience.
What does this mean?
Customers have the same level of expectation for their in-store and online experience, regarding inventory, customer service, product knowledge, and ease of check out.
So how do you win customers over with experience? How do you navigate the omni-channel universe successfully?
- Offer the same high standard when it comes to customer experience across all the channels of your business, online and offline.
- Because there is less face-to-face and natural interaction online, try to replicate the satisfying traditional service you offer in store. For example, provide 360-degree images of the products, or even better, create videos. Make sure there is customer service, preferably live chat that is available to customers 24/7.
- Integrate your company’s point of sale or ERP information, web analytics, and phone interactions to come up with a single customer view. This will allow your marketing team to better understand customer lifecycle in all channels, too.
- Customers are now becoming more accustomed to the more extensive product inventory online and the product knowledge and helpful tone of live chat staff. Because of this, you also have to make sure that your floor staff in your store matches this.
Businesses should work on eliminating the things that trigger ‘friction’ with customers. The triggers include failing to find a specific product, failing to find someone to assist them, and having to wait for a long time to be able to pay. Both in-store and online, these things greatly affect customer experience.
They may be major problems and require time for you to solve, but when you actually do, when you are finally able to provide consistent and high quality customer experience across all your retail channels, you will definitely see good traffic to your business.