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The word omnichannel has popped up lately in the content I consume, and it got me wondering, what exactly is an omnichannel strategy? Furthermore, what is the difference between omnichannel and multichannel?
An omnichannel business approach focuses on the customer’s journey. This engagement strategy gives users access to products and other services on multiple channels.
For example, omnichannel provides support through chat, Facebook, mobile apps, email, good-old-fashion phone calls, text messages, and more. Further, the channels are innovative, sharing data across various tools.
You have lots of options when it comes to omnichannel platforms. Some cover marketing, and others focus on e-commerce and personalization. However, for the sake of this article, I cover the benefits of omnichannel across all platforms.
Most businesses use a multichannel strategy, sharing content across multiple channels. Yet a successful omnichannel strategy connects marketing actions across all channels, concentrating on the customer’s experience.
This HubSpot article nailed it: “All omnichannel experiences will use multiple channels, but not all multi-channel experiences are omnichannel. You can have amazing mobile marketing, engaging social media campaigns, and a well-designed website. But if they don’t work together, they don’t create an omnichannel experience for customers.”
Marketing Evolution, a planning, measurement, and optimization provider, says three critical elements of omnichannel marketing are:
Companies may lay the groundwork for an omnichannel approach by achieving unified messaging. So naturally, the brand’s digital and physical visuals must be cohesive.
Where to begin? First, clearly define your core values, your target audience, and their needs. With this knowledge, marketers may craft a brand image and tone that works for the company.
Next, create messaging with these values and needs at the top of your mind, keeping it consistent from one channel to the next. Each channel has different attributes so a cut-and-paste approach won’t work. For instance, Instagram is about engaging photos, whereas Twitter shares brief messages. Instead, maintain the predetermined tone in images, copy, and articles shared.
Avoid long-winded company descriptions and complicated logos. Simplicity makes it easier for customers to identify your brand across multiple channels.
Omnichannel personalization tailors the experience to the individual’s preferences, using data from past purchases, browsing history, and more. Not only that, it coordinates the encounter on all the channels. As a result, the customer will enjoy the personalization no matter where they interact with your brand.
Personalization at this level creates a seamless, consistent experience. Moreover, customers feel seen, heard, and valued, and will be inclined to purchase again and again.
According to this State of Personalization 2021 Segment report, 69% of customers want personalization and consistency across all touchpoints, yet only some organizations follow through. The company declares brands have two options: personalize or perish.
“The digital acceleration sparked by the pandemic has created a new reality and new expectations. If [brands] fail to take this seriously, customers will simply walk away and support the competition” (p. 38).
While I’m reticent to label personalization as a “do-or-die” scenario, it offers brands a chance to surpass competitors with a superior user experience.
An omnichannel solution captures data when customers interact with your brand across multiple platforms. Next, the brand uses the information to improve your experience.
Does anyone enjoy long interactions with costumer service? I was furstrated recently when I used live chat to solve an issue, yet the conversation disconnected early. Hence, I called customer service and was greeted with, “Hi. What can I help you with today?”
But this is an example of an informed interaction:
“Hi, Molly. Your online chat showed that order #1234567 needed item #56789. So let me ship that out to you right away. May I use the address we have on file?”
Doesn’t that sound terrific?!
Companies have expressed concerns about the price tag of omnichannel. Marketing technology consulting firm Behavioural Response says, “The total cost of ownership of different platforms, including its implementation, licenses, training, and utilization, can sometimes surpass six figures, which is often more than companies are willing or capable of investing.”
Of course, examining the potential return on investment helps determine omnichannel’s worth for your brand.
In addition, you may find areas to cut costs, such as electronic data interchange. For instance, BOLD VAN offers pricing based on the trading partner — no more tallying up data (kilo-character counting). As a result, our clients have slashed their EDI costs by up to 80%.
Our EDI solutions include: