The 4.0 consumer is becoming more demanding as the days pass. When buying from a certain brand, they want to have a good experience.
They want to connect with the brand, and there is nothing better than figuring out that they can reach you through different channels: a social media platform, a site, a physical store.
And this connection between the online and the offline, and between channels, is called Omnichannel.
This strategy is both an innovation and a response to customer demand for a better, more complete shopping experience, with fewer online and offline barriers.
In this article, we are going to look at:
- What is omnichannel?
- Why is everyone talking about omnichannel?
- What are the benefits of an omnichannel strategy?
- How do you make your business omnichannel?
- What are the main challenges of omnichannel?
And to start us off, let’s first understand what this term means. Shall we?
What is omnichannel?
The omnichannel strategy is based on the simultaneous and interconnected use of different communication channels, with the objective of strengthening the relationship between online and offline to improve the customer experience.
The word contains the prefix “omni”, which in Latin conveys the meaning of “everything and the whole”. That is, its closest meaning would be something like “all channels”.
However, that is not enough to understand the power and scope of this term.
When we limit ourselves only to the word’s semantics, we may end up confusing omnichannel with multi-channel and cross-channel — other widely used terms.
They all relate to the user experience with the channels offered by companies. Therefore, they might convey the false feeling of having the same meaning.
To prevent this from happening, we have listed each of the terms separately below, with their respective definitions and examples. Check it out!
When we talk about multi-channel, we are faced with the prefix “multi”, that refers to a lot or many.
An example of a multi-channel strategy is when a company offers multiple purchase channels, such as a website, app, and physical stores.
However, they are not connected. Salespeople who work in the physical store do not know about the purchases made through the app and/or on the website, and vice versa.
There is competition between the purchasing channels, and there is no exchange of information between them.
In a cross-channel strategy, the channels of a company can cross as follows: the client can purchase an item online, on the website, and then pick it up at a physical store.
Here, there is no competition between the channels since they start to complement each other.
As we said, the prefix “omni” refers to “all”. In this case, all channels of a company are connected.
You can use the brand’s app while inside the store to check if they have the specific product you want.
If you find it through the app, you can place an order with one of the physical store sellers and choose to have it delivered at home.
Notice how all the purchase options are simultaneously interconnected?
Thus, one channel helps the other to offer an increasingly better shopping experience and to further strengthen online and offline relations.
Why is everyone talking about omnichannel?
The strategy of transforming shopping into a unique and increasingly practical experience is a challenge that several companies are trying to overcome. This is because consumers are more demanding and want more convenience.
Offering online channels for purchases and customer relations is no longer a novelty but a requirement for brands that want to survive in such a competitive market.
As we have seen, omnichannel offers a new and more complete shopping experience for the user — and that is why this term is so frequently used lately.
Even though some companies already practice, the strategy is still relatively recent and can be the differential that your business needs to stand out from the competition.
What are the benefits of an omnichannel strategy?
Investing in a better experience for your clients leads to several benefits — at the end of the day, all this work aims to make them more satisfied.
By making them happy, your business is more likely to improve:
- the services offered;
- the sales numbers;
- the loyalty process;
- and your brand image.
With this strategy, all points of contact with the customer are developed to optimize these processes. And that represents a valuable gain for your company, which can grow from all this analysis.
How do you make your business omnichannel?
Now that you know more about the omnichannel strategy and its advantages, let’s learn how to apply it in your business.
As we’ve already said here, the goal is to improve customer satisfaction. And to overcome this challenge, the first step is to get to know your buyer persona.
With it created, it will be possible to know a lot of information, including your persona’s buying habits.
This knowledge will allow your company to better understand these customers’ demands and offer something really valuable and appropriate.
Then, it will be possible to go to the next step: integrating your company’s channels. With the channels defined, it is necessary to personalize them according to the information obtained by elaborating the persona.
This integration means aligning the online and offline environments so that there are no gaps for the user and, of course, between the areas of your company (sales, marketing, support, etc.).
Only then will it be possible to offer a true omnichannel experience.
After that, it is time to test everything that has already been done. In addition to checking the operation, it is also necessary to assess the quality of the integration and the channels.
In order to do this, ask for help from people who have a profile aligned with your buyer persona — after all, everything you did was with the persona in mind — to test the implementations.
By following these steps, you can reduce your omnichannel strategy’s risks and failures, and you can still find out if any changes are needed before you launch it on the market.
What are the main challenges of omnichannel?
In the previous topic, we discussed how to put an omnichannel strategy into practice in your business — and we want to make it clear here that it is not easy.
Integrating all channels and offering an excellent customer experience is quite a challenge.
In addition to relying on technology for this integration, there is also a need for in-depth knowledge of the business and close monitoring of all sectors.
Add to it the challenge of customer satisfaction — a delicate point that involves their expectations and opinions about your company.
To give you an idea of how difficult it is, the Omnichannel Customer Service Gap survey discovered that 87% of respondents believe that brands need to work harder to create an experience without obstacles for their consumers.
Among the discoveries, we saw that omnichannel is a challenge, but if well designed, it can provide incredible results for your business and a long-awaited differential in the market.
And to help you start off this strategy, check out our article about Smarketing and learn how to align the Marketing and Sales teams to increase your business’s performance!