An omnichannel strategy guides the future of consumer experience
By Amit Kalley
Research shows that most companies that prioritise customer experience achieve up to 8% higher revenues and establish a significant lead over the competition. Why? Because 73% of consumers stated that a good experience plays a vital role in their brand loyalties. Also, consumer influence over when and where to engage with brands and retailers has steadily increased over the last decade and now dictates the business direction that consumer brands and retailers must adopt.
In this context, enabling convenience, personalisation and user preferences assume tremendous importance in the consumer experience. Retailers and consumer brands readily switched to omnichannel platforms to elevate and harmonise the consumer experience across various online and offline channels.
However, the key to delivering a great omnichannel customer experience rests on a thorough understanding of buyers, their triggers, and influencing factors in various purchase journey stages. For this to happen, capturing data at every point of customer interaction is critical.
Four aspects of enabling success
Create an endless aisle capability: Businesses adopting an omnichannel strategy must relook at their operations and engagement strategy across all channels. Engagement with consumers moves online while inventory held in physical stores shrinks. Consequently, consumers can be disappointed by the lack of variety or choice when shopping at the physical store. A microservices enabled endless aisle capability and digitally extended shelf space enables store employees and customers to find items online while at a physical store.
Enable a virtual try-on experience: A segmented reality based virtual try-on capability can help consumers create their own virtual avatar, try on products and purchase online without coming into the store, alleviating concerns on social distancing.
Enabling an omnichannel POS: POS terminals have limited functionality and are no match for online channels’ capabilities in terms of managing complex promotions, consumer loyalty and product assortment and bundles. Typically, this has caused the two channels (store and online) to exist in silos making it difficult to take advantage of online promotions, online assortment, and bundles at the POS.
Here too, by harnessing the power of microservices and applying headless commerce principles, the POS and online channel can be seamlessly connected, making it a truly omnichannel experience.
Being present where the consumer is: Most brands have rich websites and apps to facilitate online purchases. Still, these are less frequented by consumers who prefer to spend most of their online day on chat apps, video sites, egames and social media.
Today, the need is to engage with the consumer on the digital platform of the consumer’s choice and enable a seamless buyer journey. For example, when chatting with a friend about a new shoe she bought, the consumer should be able to order it for herself without leaving the chat conversation. Also, a person watching a video on YouTube about changing the oil on his bike should be able to order the oil from within the video itself.
Retailers that emphasise customer experience by institutionalising these three principles in every omnichannel interaction can establish stronger ties with the consumer:
- Engage consumers at their points of preference during their daily digital journey
- Personalise the experience across all channels of engagement
- Enable a frictionless, omnichannel experience
The writer is CEO, Infosys Equinox (Infosys’ digital e-commerce platform)