Omnichannel is no longer the new kid on the block in terms of retail strategies. Now that customers have more devices and avenues for contact at their fingertips, online merchants are seeking to use these to their advantage. Providing successful interactions across the multitude of channels that shoppers use has become a top priority in many retail enterprises.
However, it's not enough to simply have these channels available to your customers – your business must also take the consumer experience above and beyond in order to truly capture the benefits that omnichannel can offer.
Whether your omnichannel strategy is brand new to your business or more mature, there are a few things you can do to take this approach off the ground and into the stratosphere. Let's take a look:
1) Eliminate the wait
Our current technologically focused culture has enabled individuals to access information faster than ever before, and has also created a "I need this yesterday" mentality. Today's consumers don't like to wait, and eliminating stagnant service periods is a cornerstone of successful omnichannel organizations.
Think of it this way – if consumers can place an order from the palm of their hand in minutes (or seconds) flat, your brand and customer service agents should be able to provide a similar experience.
Consider these tips:
- Arm customer service agents with the right information: A survey from Harvard Business Review found that 65 percent of consumers appreciate knowledgeable employees, or those who are able to answer questions without putting the customer on hold or seeking out another staff member. This is especially important when customers call the contact center – minutes of hold and transfers can lead to a less-than-satisfactory experience. However, when customer service agents have access to the right information via a centralized data system, they can answer customers' questions the first time while reducing the overall wait time.
- Respond to customer comments and reviews quickly: When a customer takes the time to reach out to the business with a question or comment, the brand should have the ability to respond quickly. It's impressive to consumers when a brand can address queries or take quick, corrective action when necessary.
2) Be competitive with prices
Offering competitive prices has always been a goal of retailers, but this perk has become even more critical now that customers have the ability to easily compare on their own. Not only is it important that brands are able to track their prices in comparison with their top competitors', but companies should also be aware of what happens after a price changes and the network of sellers match or further reduce it.
"Seeking to establish a strong bond with customers should be a priority for today's retailers."
A service like PriceSpider's Channel Reports can show you all of these details, and more. With this service on your side, your brand will have all the tools it needs to compare prices across every channel, and view the results of price changes within the seller network.
Channel Reports can help ensure that a brand remains competitive, and that its sellers follow suit, providing a successful experience across every channel.
3) Support omnichannel with customer loyalty
Merchants have known for years that grassroots, word-of-mouth recommendations on the part of their most loyal clients is some of the best advertising a brand can hope for. Online customer reviews now play a larger role in shoppers' decision to buy, but a recommendation from a friend or family member takes this to the next level.
For this reason, it's important that brands place a high focus on nurturing relationships with existing customers, and not leave these clients out in the cold as the company looks to grow its audience with new shoppers. Not only are loyal, repeat customers more valuable to the brand – returning shoppers spend 67 percent more than first-time buyers, CGS reported – these clients are also more likely to recommend the company to others. Seeking to establish a strong bond with customers should be a priority for today's retailers.
"Strong emotional ties to a brand encourage customers to become advocates and recommend your products and services to others," CGS noted. "These relationships can, therefore, be an asset if properly nurtured."4) Ensure transparency across every channel
Consumers have a number of tools at their disposal with which to interact with a brand, but these don't do much good without the right level of transparency. As TotalRetail pointed out, this is especially true when it comes to inventory information – if the brand's website notes that a certain item is stocked in a specific store location, this data should be correct in order to support a best-in-class omnichannel experience for customers.
"Transparency is crucial to maintaining positive customer experiences," TotalRetail stated. "In fact, consumers shouldn't even have to call a location to check product availability – they should be able to access clear, accurate in-store inventory information from their phones or computers."
Taking your omnichannel strategy to new heights is the perfect way to differentiate your brand in the marketplace and win over customers. Begin your efforts with these best practices, and contact PriceSpider to learn more.