With the situation we’re all going through right now, consumers are becoming more and more careful about who they give their money to and which brands they trust. The brands that treat their customers the best, that make each person feel special and not just one of many, are the ones that stand out the most from their competitors and will last the longest over time.
These brands that prioritize the customer experience have understood that in 2020, what people are looking for is no longer just a product, but an experience. And for that experience to be most effective, we need to interact with our customers where they find themselves the most. This is unfortunately no longer possible using only one main channel: your store, for example. What was once a simple visit to the store to buy what you needed has now become a long decision-making process that takes place through a customer journey that is defined over multiple days, locations, times, and channels.
Adopting an omni-channel strategy has indeed become a must if you want to optimize your customer experience and be at the top of your performance.
What is an omni-channel campaign?
We are at a turning point in history and the rules we have known and followed for several years are changing and evolving drastically. In 2020, it is no longer enough to put your brand at the center of your marketing strategies, you must now put your customers at the heart of your marketing actions.
By changing the way you look at things, you will be able to shift your priorities onto your clients and treat them with care. This will greatly facilitate the adoption of your omni-channel marketing strategy. This strategy refers to providing a consistent experience across multiple channels while remaining relevant as your customers progress through their buying journey.
Each chosen channel must serve to consolidate the relationship you have with your customers in its own way, be it through promotion, lead nurturing, welcome, or Christmas campaigns… It’s about guiding your customers or contacts through their buying journey using different touchpoints to create a solid relationship with them and ultimately build loyalty to your brand.
Nowadays, 94% of marketing professionals believe that providing an omni-channel experience is a critical component of a business.
You’ve probably already heard several different terms for this type of strategy: multi-channel, cross-channel, and omni-channel. But what exactly do these terms mean? Here are three figures that explain in more detail how to differentiate between them:
A multi-channel strategy is based on having several touchpoints, all used independently of each other. Basically, each channel acts individually and is not connected to any other channel. The customer experience is therefore not optimal since it is processed in silos.
In a cross-channel strategy, all of your channels are integrated into the customer journey, improving the customer experience, but the experience is not fully optimized because your data is not communicated across channels.
An omni-channel strategy uses all touchpoints in synergy to provide a seamless experience.
Why should you get into omni-channel?
Today, customer expectations are, unfortunately, always higher. The power of your marketing strategy is therefore based on relevance and this is what allows you to meet these growing expectations. The more relevant you are, the more satisfied your customers will be. Also, an interesting fact not to be overlooked, companies that prioritize customer experience generate 60% more profit than their competitors.
Increasingly connected on different devices, your customers have much more control over their buying journey and want more than ever to be able to interact with a brand anywhere and anytime, whether online or offline. Companies must therefore become as accessible as possible. When this is achieved, that’s when you can really talk about a smooth, seamless experience. Whether you want to acquire new customers, retain them, or reactivate them, omni-channel marketing will allow you to establish a long-term qualitative relationship with each of your customers in a natural way.
How do you create the perfect omni-channel experience?
Today is the best time to use your creativity to reinvent yourself and adapt to your customers. They are the ones you should be consulting with to find out what they need, but we can still help you a little by giving you tools on what is generally a win-win situation for companies:
1. A 360-degree view of your customers
This is probably the most important element of all. Having a 360-degree view of your customers is crucial if you want your strategy to be as effective as possible. Of course, an SCV tool like the one in Dialog Insight is what makes it all possible. With this tool, you can collect data about your customers, regardless of the channel, online or offline, that they use to interact with your brand. This data acquisition also takes place throughout the customer journey and the data is consolidated and assigned to a single unique identifier.
This is what allows you to have an in-depth knowledge of your customer base and then use this knowledge to provide a solid foundation for your omni-channel strategy.
2. A more human activation of data
It’s all well and good to collect data on your customers, but you still need to know how to use it. And not just use it, but use it to create a more human relationship with them.
How do we do it? By putting ourselves in your clients’ shoes… Let me explain! There’s nothing very human about a series of data, but if you look at your data with a less analytical and more empathetic approach, trying to understand what’s behind the data and seeing human behaviors in it, it will show up in your various interactions with your customers and certainly improve your relationship with them. Here are a few examples of what you can learn from this data:
- Who they are?;
- Goals and challenges;
- Lifestyle habits, purchase habits in general;
- What interests them in your products/services;
- Which channel they use to take specific actions (very important for this type of strategy).
According to The Netsertive, here is what they have identified as the most crucial channels in an omni-channel strategy:
This image is to be used as a guide to get started, you should always rely on your own reality to find out what works for you.
In addition, when you have good customer knowledge, you can use personalization elements such as dynamic display to reinforce the sense of closeness that you are trying to create with your customers. Your customer experience will be greatly improved and your customers will be all the more satisfied. It’s a win-win situation!
3. Knowing the customer’s journey
In addition to knowing your customer well, it is also important to have a good knowledge of the customer journey and the following elements:
- The average duration of the customer journey;
- Frequency of purchase for your typical customer;
- How are purchases made?;
- The different entry points to the customer journey;
- Where is the journey normally abandoned?;
By having a good knowledge of the customer journey, you can optimize the experience received for each stage of the journey and make it suitable for your typical customers.
To get there, experience it for yourself! Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and go through all the possible paths leading to a purchase. You will be able to identify all the elements that can create frustration, everything that can be clarified and improved.
4. Eliminate silos in your organization and work in synergy with other teams.
If you want to eliminate marketing silos, you need to eliminate the in-house silos first. Don’t expect a miracle if everyone in your organization only works vertically and not horizontally as well. IT, sales, marketing, product, public relations, everyone should have a role to play in the customer experience. Agile marketing that puts the customer at the center of everything is what creates impeccable results.
5. Having the right tools
These tools will have to work together to help you achieve a single goal in your marketing efforts. Whether it’s a CRM, a CDP, an SCV, an emailing tool, an marketing automation platform, or a marketing analysis tool, they all need to complement each other and work together for your benefit, even if they each have a different role in the execution of your marketing strategy. Most importantly, data must communicate from one tool to another. Some tools like Dialog Insight do several of these roles in a single platform, allowing you to better synergize your data and channels.
6. Prioritize your channels
Don’t waste your time adding every conceivable channel to your marketing strategy. Focus on the channels your customers prefer and invest in the experience delivered to them and only them. With good customer knowledge and an increased understanding of the customer journey, you will be able to select the ideal channels for them.
7. A unified strategy
In an omni-channel strategy, the secret lies in the unification of your touchpoints. All of your channels should form a whole and serve the same purpose. Of course, each channel is different and is used to push a different type of message, but the approach has to be consistent nonetheless.
In fact, each channel has its advantages and it is these advantages that must be exploited to complement what the other channels cannot perfectly accomplish individually. It’s like a puzzle where each piece represents a channel that matters individually, but when they all fit together, you see the final image and that’s where it all makes sense and the customer experience is optimal.
8. The importance of the offline experience
We tend to think that in 2020, offline channels are no longer relevant… on the contrary, the offline experience is important because they will not disappear overnight but adapt to today’s reality.
Although digital is definitely taking a greater place in the strategy of many companies, we must not forget physical stores, magazines, word-of-mouth, billboards, in short, everything that is not online still has an impact on consumers. This is why a marriage between the two is a very interesting option today. Here are a few examples:
- Several companies such as Métro or Familiprix offer to order online and pick it up on-site. Customers simply park in the spaces reserved for this purpose, they dial a number given to them beforehand and an employee comes directly to their car to deliver their order.
- Several retail brands will soon follow in the footsteps of Canada Goose, which now uses their stores only as a fitting room. They have no stock on-site and if people want to make a purchase, they will have to do it online.
- One solution that Dialog Insight offers for businesses is online appointment scheduling for in-store visits. This way, the visit will be done safely and will be very efficient since it is possible to ask for the help of a clerk in advance to guide your customer in his shopping. Loto-Québec is one of the companies that use our solution and soon Breault & Martineau will be using it on a daily basis.
- Finally, the French company Saint-Maclou (specialized in home decoration) invested in a concept of small stores where people can come and touch samples, visualize them in 3d in the universe of their choice via an RFID chip, try out virtually different layouts, but they can’t leave with the products. They have to order them online or via the mobile application.
Finally, don’t hesitate to integrate direct mail into your channels. Since the majority of people work from home now and for an indefinite period of time, this is a good time to dust off this channel that has been set aside for some time and use it to your advantage.
The importance of automated marketing to create an omni-channel experience
People now shop based on the experience they receive. This becomes all the more demanding for marketers who have to carry out multiple marketing actions to engage customers at all stages of the buying journey, while always being as relevant as possible… It’s a lot of pressure, don’t you think? That’s why, for you and your mental health, using automation is a great option!
Everyone knows that the optimal use of data is the key to success. You cannot base your strategic decisions on estimates. That’s what automation marketing allows you to do: collect highly revealing data about your visitors’ interests, behaviors, and customer journey. So leave chance aside and rely on concrete data to determine what to optimize in your campaigns by automating this data collection.
It can never be said enough, for a good omni-channel strategy, automation gives you the opportunity to send the most relevant content to the right people, at the right time, and on the most optimal channel for each client. It’s about offering a personalized experience to each contact according to his or her interests, but also about allowing you to do more with less effort. By automating your strategy, you meticulously plan every action and won’t let any customer slip through your fingers. In fact, by optimizing every interaction you have with your customers, automation often allows you to increase your ROI.
Surely, having read this article, you are now wondering if it’s all worth it? Well, the answer is very simple and can be summed up in one statistic: according to an IDC study, consumers who buy from a brand through various channels have a 30% higher value than those who do not. In fact, the more channels they use, the more their value increases.
Building an omni-channel marketing strategy serves the goal of delivering the best content that brings people to you. This is the essence of inbound marketing! So no matter what challenges the adoption of an omni-channel strategy puts in your path, in the end, it is worth the effort and you can always ask for help from experts in the field. Do not hesitate to contact us for more details!