An Introduction to Omnichannel
An omnichannel strategy has become a key component in creating satisfying customer experiences and building customer loyalty and trust. The strategy is particularly important for retailers, banks, insurers, and other consumer services. Omnichannel refers to a company’s ability to provide a cohesive experience whether customers are visiting a brick-and-mortar store or branch, logging onto a website, connecting through social media, using a mobile app, contacting a call center via phone or text (SMS), or visiting a kiosk in an airport or mall.
Omnichannel helps to integrate them all — whether they're digital channels or offline channels — so they can share customer data to enable a consistent and highly personalized experience based on customer behaviors, preferences, and needs. Omnichannel also allows retailers, financial services companies, and other organizations to build a single view of customer needs across their channels.
This single view benefits the customer and the company. In retail, for example, it enables a seamless shopping experience, so that a customer browsing a mobile app can then move to a desktop system and pick up right where they left off.
At the same time, a single view enables the retailer to push personalized and targeted messaging and offerings at the right time and through the right channel, creating opportunities for further engagement and sales. Ultimately, the single view allows providers to build an understanding of consumers’ known and unknown needs, which occurs when a customer purchases one product or service and is offered an adjacent product or service in real time. These capabilities occur within and across brands and span the end-to-end buyer’s journey. They typically include integration with third parties responsible for value-added offerings, order fulfillment, and loyalty programs.
Today's customers have many options for researching products and services, making purchases, subscribing to services, and engaging with customer support. An effective omnichannel strategy is the key to providing a consistent experience that removes friction and creates an enjoyable customer journey. At the same time, it enables retailers and service providers to build a single view that uses data and metrics to improve customer engagement and create sales opportunities.