Omnichannel strategies influence our interaction with business even if we do not realize it. From buying fruits or vegetables to clothing, accessories, technology, medicines, and even houses or cars, we expect brands offer us satisfactory experiences regardless of the method we choose to contact them.
Although the basics of commerce have always been the same, businesses currently interact with their users through many channels with specific functions and objectives.
There are sales channels, such as e-commerce or online stores, and those that focus on communication, such as social media.
In addition, there are service channels, such as call centers, loyalty channels represented by rewards programs, and even personalized communication channels designed to create customized text notifications or e-mails.
The list can go on, but the message is simple: Regardless of the channel you use to interact with your clients, you need to deliver memorable experiences.
Three key elements for an omnichannel strategy
To create a successful omnichannel experience, there are three principles you need to take into account:
Integration: There must be a permanent collaboration between a business's physical and virtual platforms. They can never be entirely separate worlds.
Orchestration: All channels must be in sync and work without friction, meaning they share information to coordinate with each other in real-time.
A single vision of the customer: All channels of a company must collect information from customers to strengthen its offering. As a result, data from all channels must be consolidated and viewed so that decisions can be made based on them.
Keep reading to learn more about actions you can take to strengthen an omnichannel initiative.
The secret of an excellent omnichannel strategy
Any retail company aims to sell more, sell better, and exceed customer expectations.
An omnichannel strategy can cover topics as diverse as operations, logistics, technology, business, and even corporate culture issues.
It is no longer enough to have a communication campaign that looks the same on social media and in e-commerce. It is also not enough to design digital assets, so they look consistent with each other.
In an excellent omnichannel strategy, each customer interaction channel must constantly improve, in addition to being aligned with other channels,
For doing so, each channel must be capable of collecting information about users.
This information goes far beyond data on how customers spend; it must allow knowing them as people to adjust the offer of products and services so that the interaction through each channel can provide them exactly what they need.
This task, which encompasses channels with entirely different functions and characteristics, could be tough to cover if the technological tools did not exist. Here is where what some experts call Omni platform strategies to come into play.
Omniplatforms: The next step for any omnichannel strategy
An omniplatform strategy is a part of creating a technology infrastructure to integrate all channels in one place. There, both physical and digital channels form a unified vision to orchestrate the actions of an organization.
A platform that centralizes all of a company's channels allows, for example, viewing and making decisions that consider the inventory, business rules, logistics, operation, pricing, content, transactions, and data. (To learn more about how technology is transforming the world of logistics, read: "The Revolution in Last-mile Logistics ")
Tools of this type require enormous computational power, as they require large amounts of data and technology-based functionalities such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Therefore, they are only possible thanks to cloud services, integrations, microservices, or headless technologies, complemented by the best talent and an organizational culture committed to agile methodologies.
Six actions to start the path toward omnichannel
Here are some recommendations that you can consider to ensure that all your channels work harmoniously.
Try to be in good company:
Find allies, partners, suppliers, and an internal team with experience in technology and good implementation practices.
Create a culture around your strategy:
Each component of the organization must understand and be committed to the goal of omnichannel. All teams must be on the same page so that these strategies are structural, impact the entire organization, and, consequently, thrive.
Strengthen your sales and digital presence:
It is as simple as understanding that the digital experience of a business does not compete with its physical experience. On the contrary, they must complement each other. Suppose sales in digital channels are still low compared to physical sales. In that case, digital channels must be strengthened so that, shortly, users see the integration of these two worlds through omnichannel as a natural evolution of what the company was already proposing.
Harness the power of technology:
Omnichannel requires computing power that can be very expensive if on-premise servers support it. So, businesses interested in a strategy of this type should leverage cloud technology and services.
Do not lose sight of the user experience:
Any business aims to create quick, easy, and frictionless experiences that exceed clients' expectations.
Today, a company's customers are not simply e-commerce or store users. They are people who interact through all channels, and companies must empathize with their needs and keep them at the center of everything they do.
Leverage the power of data:
The true power of omnichannel is in the data. If a company manages that all its channels obtain data from users, they can know them better. This improves their vision, enables organizations to become "data-driven," and allows them to make decisions tailored to the people's needs.