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What is an omnichannel customer experience?

We as Americans are just a little bit obsessed with our technology. We live in a “digital age” where an average household actively uses 3.56 network connected devices. Typically, these are devices like desktops, cell phones, tablets, and smart home devices. But they also include devices such as touchscreen self-help kiosks in businesses. These technologies continue to become integrated into our daily lives and, as a result, customer experiences are more dynamic than ever. Customer experiences today encompass online, in-store and telephonic channels.

Most retailers invest in the multi-channel experience. They may use a variety of platforms (e.g. a Facebook, a Twitter, a storefront, and a website) to engage with their customers. However, in most cases, the customer still lacks a streamlined experience that lets them flow seamlessly across these channels. This is where an omnichannel approach really comes in handy.

An omnichannel customer experience is a multi-channel approach that merges physical and digital touchpoints into one cohesive experience. Companies using this technique align their messaging, goals, objectives, and design across each channel and device to create a more contextual and satisfying customer journey.

Why is an omni-channel customer experience important?

Omnichannel is vital for enhancing companies’ customer experience. Its implementation is a powerful way to enhance marketing and service efforts, and to deliver a better buyer journey by:

  1. Personalizing customer experiences; the approach makes it easier for customers to use multiple channels simultaneously to suit their own specific needs.
  2. Diversifying audiences through different channels; when implementing multiple channels at once, businesses reach out to different leads, opportunities, and customers who only interact on certain channels.
  3. Increasing the visibility of products and promotions and making all the information customers need available to them.

Successful businesses invest significant amounts of time, money, and human resources into figuring out how to improve overall customer experience. When customer experiences are positive (expectations are satisfactorily met across all physical and digital points of interaction) businesses usually see:

  1. Higher conversions and customer acquisition.
  2. Increased revenue from existing customers.
  3. Increased customer recommendations.

Investing in omnichannel allows businesses to establish satisfying buyer journeys in an otherwise overwhelming digital landscape. It is the key to establishing brand loyalty.

Creating an omnichannel customer experience

Creating a strong omnichannel experience is not for the faint of heart. It requires significant inter-departmental communication and will likely require investment in new technologies. Every business is different and must build its own unique omni-channel experience infrastructure. However, there are certain actions all businesses must take to develop a strong omnichannel environment. These actions typically include: 

  1. Creating multichannel marketing campaigns;
  2. Creating integrated funnels with data flow control;
  3. And implementing a CRM (customer relationship management) strategy to interact with customers from multiple channels all in one place.

What does an omnichannel customer experience look like?

Again, every omnichannel strategy will be different. Still, here are a few examples of brands with seamless customer experiences to draw inspiration from:

  1. Walgreens provides its customers with an omni-channel experience through the Walgreens Pharmacy App. Customers can use the app to check and refill prescriptions, and set up prescription renewal reminders. The app eliminates potential hold times and can reduce the waiting time for in-store pick-ups.
  2. Stance created a mobile self-checkout experience for its customers. The mobile self-checkout is integrated with their store’s inventory and website to provide a seamless customer journey over multiple channels/touch points (store, web, mobile).

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