As customers seek a consistent experience throughout all stages of the buying journey, providing them with an omnichannel experience is becoming more important. Integrating online and offline touchpoints into a cohesive experience is critical to satisfying those customer needs, and companies will need tools that enable them to deliver such experiences easily.
In this blog, we’ll explain what an omnichannel experience is and why it matters, the characteristics of a good omnichannel experience, and how to improve the experience for customers.
#What is an omnichannel customer experience?
An omnichannel customer experience means providing a consistent experience to customers across multiple channels. It requires businesses to integrate online and offline touchpoints — including retail stores, kiosks, social media, and email — and streamline customer interactions to deliver a predictable and engaging experience.
The idea of an omnichannel customer experience implies that a customer could view a product online, place it in their cart, and then make the purchase. A month later, they receive an email offer for a complimentary product in their inbox. But instead of revisiting the digital store, they go to the brick-and-mortar store while shopping in the city to buy the item.
All of this is made possible by a business creating an omnichannel customer experience that is unified and personalized no matter where the first interaction happens.
#Why is omnichannel customer experience important?
Companies need to create an omnichannel customer experience due to the nature of the modern buyer’s journey and growing customer expectations. However, there are also several benefits to doing so.
The modern buyer’s journey
Customers are no longer shopping in isolation. Gartner mentions that “customers comparison shop with their smartphones while in-store.” For example, a customer visits an eCommerce store, browses for a bit, and buys a size 10 running shoe. The final purchase occurred in a digital channel, but that doesn’t mean there was only one interaction in the journey.
Before that, they saw an ad for the shoes while browsing Instagram. They then searched 3 other eCommerce stores to compare prices but still weren’t ready to buy. However, they signed up for a newsletter for relevant updates and information. They returned to the store to try on the shoes and compare what they found online to what was available. A week later, they received a notification for a 20% discount while shopping for groceries and went home to make the final purchase.
Growing customer expectations
With the number of digital channels available to customers, brands are expected to provide an omnichannel experience, no longer viewing individual channels in isolation but as one connected customer journey.
Today’s customers have more choices than ever before, so they seek out the brands that can provide them with the best option and most convenience. The brands that can deliver an omnichannel customer experience are the ones that end up winning them over.
Trust, loyalty, and satisfaction
Companies that deliver on omnichannel expectations can satisfy their customers better than their competitors. This helps them build trust and credibility with their customers, who know their expectations are likely to be met, which can lead to increased loyalty, retention, and brand advocacy.
A better understanding of customers
By providing a connected experience across all customer touchpoints, businesses can better understand their customers' wants and needs. An omnichannel customer experience can offer a big-picture view of the customer journey, enabling enterprises to study the actions customers take after they receive an email or click on an ad and then adapt their marketing strategies accordingly.
Generating more revenue
Businesses that provide a good omnichannel customer experience can benefit from increased revenue. When companies can give their customers a consistent and engaging experience, this will lead to improved conversion rates and more revenue. For example, brands that can provide omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5% yearly increase in annual revenue.
#What defines a good omnichannel customer experience
Expectations for omnichannel experiences have grown among consumers, leading many brands to implement them. However, while several businesses have successfully created multichannel experiences by enabling customers to interact with them on multiple channels, a seamless omnichannel experience must have specific characteristics.
Consistent messaging helps brands maintain a uniform tone, style, and message across all their channels and touchpoints. It ensures brand recognition regardless of where the customer is located, as customers know they will find a similar experience, values, and information no matter the touchpoint.
Seamless integrations ensure a smooth and connected customer experience as they transition between channels. It allows them to start interacting with a business in one channel and then be able to pick up where they left off in another channel. For example, finding a product online and then going to a physical store to pick it up.
Businesses providing an omnichannel customer experience must also be able to personalize it, tailoring customer interactions to their preferences and behaviors. Personalization ensures that when a customer interacts with a brand for the 5th time, the company is aware of it. That history is reflected in the messaging and overall experience, unlike if they were interacting for the first time.
Efficient customer service
Customers expect the brands they interact with to provide timely and effective support to them across all channels. An omnichannel customer service experience ensures that if a customer contacts a brand via a social media channel or chatbot on their website, their information can be located quickly so that their experience isn’t diminished.
Brands must provide transparent and consistent information sharing with customers, from products and services to upcoming promotions or potential issues. This keeps customers informed and helps to manage expectations and build trust.
#Omnichannel customer experience examples
An omnichannel customer experience can improve customer loyalty and help brands generate more revenue. But what does it look like in practice?
Electronics manufacturer Samsung offers a genuine omnichannel experience. Customers can experience this in multiple ways: visiting their website to view products, visiting a local store selling Samsung products, and accessing to member platform for exclusive offers and support after purchase.
Additionally, customers with multiple Samsung products can have a connected experience in the comfort of their homes with connected smartphones, laptops, smart speakers, and other devices.
How is Samsung able to deliver such an experience?
For example, the D2C team of Samsung Electronics Germany (SEG) is responsible for one of the many loyalty programs and Members platforms. As the local Germany arm of a global brand, SEG wanted to offer more than just a mobile experience to loyal customers. However, their CMS wasn’t up to par. Instead, they adopted a composable solution in Hygraph that would allow them to deliver content flexibly, and design-agnostic.
SEG could provide the same high-quality experience to customers whether they were using the mobile app or a website, which resulted in a 15% increase in user engagement on website pages with more frequent updates.
Consumer healthcare company Vision Healthcare needed a solution to support multiple Vision Healthcare brands with content in various formats. This meant a stable website that would enable them to beat the competition and a composable solution that would unify the multiple tech stacks of the various brands under its umbrella.
By adopting a headless CMS in Hygraph, Vision Healthcare could avoid performance issues that plagued their previous CMS, update content, and replace components faster. But most importantly, they could now deliver an omnichannel experience across multiple websites and brands.
#How to improve omnichannel customer experience
Bettering the omnichannel customer experience requires the right strategic approach and tools. Here are some best practices to improve the omnichannel experience.
Research audience and personas
Before implementing an omnichannel strategy, you need a strong understanding of your target audience and must be able to create detailed customer personas. Research your audience’s likes and dislikes and see how they vary from your current understanding. Identify the channels they frequently use and the messaging types that appeal to them.
Map customer journey
To create the best experience for customers, it’s critical to map their journey. Customer journey mapping involves visualizing and understanding a customer's complete experience with a brand across various touchpoints and channels. This comprehensive view helps identify pain points, opportunities for improvement, and areas where channels can be seamlessly integrated to deliver a cohesive and engaging experience across all touchpoints.
Gathering and analyzing customer feedback through surveys, reviews, or direct interactions provides valuable insights into customer satisfaction. Businesses can make informed adjustments to optimize the overall customer experience by creating a continuous feedback loop.
Identify key stakeholders
To execute an omnichannel strategy, you need to identify key stakeholders. This includes the internal teams and external partners involved in the implementation and execution of the strategy.
Ensuring alignment and collaboration among key stakeholders is crucial for a successful omnichannel experience. This may involve departments such as marketing, sales, customer service, IT, and external partners like technology vendors. Clear communication and collaboration among these stakeholders help streamline processes, enhance coordination, and deliver a more cohesive omnichannel experience.
Adopt a composable approach
A composable approach involves building a technology stack using modular, interchangeable components. This approach allows flexibility and scalability, enabling businesses to adapt quickly to changing customer needs. By adopting a composable architecture, businesses can choose the tools they need to build an omnichannel strategy and provide an engaging omnichannel customer experience.
Select the right tools
The success of an omnichannel strategy relies heavily on selecting appropriate tools. The tools should align with business goals, customer needs, and the omnichannel vision. This includes analytics tools, eCommerce platforms, personalization engines, and others. However, arguably, the most critical component is a headless CMS.
With a headless CMS, companies can deliver content to various channels and connect the other necessary tools to build a modern composable tech stack that facilitates omnichannel experiences. A robust headless CMS such as Hygraph can provide the capabilities businesses require to be omnichannel, including:
API-first content delivery: Using native GraphQL and REST APIs, an API-first CMS like Hygraph can deliver content to multiple channels via API. Everything, including websites, mobile apps, kiosks, and VR devices, can receive precisely what brands need for an omnichannel experience.
Flexible content modeling: Hygraph removes rigid templates, enabling brands to adapt content to their needs and create the types of experiences customers want.
Omnichannel experiences are becoming table stakes for businesses as customer expectations rise. However, by embracing an omnichannel experience, brands can better understand their customers, encourage brand loyalty, and generate more revenue.
In the dynamic landscape of digital experience, brands are leveraging headless CMSs to break free from traditional content constraints. Discover how this revolutionary approach can redefine your brand’s customer interactions. Dive deeper into the world of headless CMS with our comprehensive eBook, ‘The Rise of Headless CMS’ to stay ahead in the era of omnichannel excellence.
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