Creating a seamless omnichannel experience is essential for brands, particularly when it comes to addressing emerging customer demands. Today's shoppers don't just want a beneficial brand connection online or in-store – they require a consistent, optimized experience across all available channels, spanning the physical and digital worlds.
In this spirit, it's imperative to understand what touchpoints customers are leveraging, and how this contributes to their overall experience.
"Simply existing on all channels is no longer enough: multichannel is not omnichannel," Nielsen Norman Group contributor Kim Flaherty wrote. "Omnichannel strategies focus on designing the most appropriate experience on each channel based on the customer's journey, and on designing the transitions and experiences across channels."
However, this is a more complex process than many brands realize. In order to effectively establish a winning customer experience within an omnichannel environment, company stakeholders must have a range of crucial details about the customer journey. This is where customer journey mapping comes in, and becomes such an imperative part of an omnichannel strategy.
Omnichannel: It's a jungle out there
This creates a veritable jungle of challenges as brands seek to provide the best experience possible. Currently, the omnichannel environment is incredibly complex, and is only becoming more advanced as additional mobile and online channels are added to the mix. Now, brands manage and maintain multiple customer-facing channels, including flagship websites and mobile apps, not to mention traditional channels like store locations and customer service channels like the company's contact center. According to Flaherty, the best omnichannel strategies include the following components:
- A consistent and familiar experience across all channels.
- A seamless experience, where transitions from one channel to another are as smooth as possible, enabling customers to pick up wherever they might have left off on a previous platform.
- An orchestrated, proactive approach, where clients are led through their journey with tailored messages and brand connections.
- A collaborative strategy that enables customers to leverage several channels simultaneously to add to the overall experience.
In order to achieve this level of omnichannel success, brand and marketing managers must have an in-depth look at all the touchpoints customers are using. This typically comes in the form of a customer journey map, which can offer considerable benefits for supporting an omnichannel strategy.
Tracking the customer through a roadmap
Right now, tracking shopper interactions through customer journey mapping is a more popular approach than ever before. This process helps shine a light on the channels customers use as well as the experience they have on each one.
"So how do you get started on the quest to create a more customer-centric culture? One way many companies are doing this is with customer journey mapping, a tool that helps them see what their customers see," Communications Products, Inc. contributor Christy Green wrote. "It's a process that captures the total customer experience across all touchpoints in an organization, letting you see, touch and feel what your customers feel when dealing with your company, and put all that information in one place."
This level of insight can provide the omnichannel visibility brands need to gain the best understanding of their clients as well as make the improvements necessary to offer a top-notch experience. In addition to these important advantages, customer journey mapping can also offer:
- A look at the top-used channels: By combining individual customer roadmaps, brands can identify their most-utilized channels. Details like this can help pinpoint which avenues are providing the most customer conversions, as well as where certain advertisements might be the most effective.
- The opportunity to identify shortcomings: Customer journey maps can also help show which channels are in need of improvement. For instance, if a large number of shoppers abandon the same channel in favor of a different platform, it could be time to revisit that avenue and make changes to enhance the experience it offers.
- A view into competitors' efforts: Green pointed out that leveraging customer journey mapping to support an omnichannel strategy can also help a brand identify the key areas of differentiation. These details can help inform and direct improvements or help the company capitalize on the aspects that it does better than its competitors.
One of the most important advantages of leveraging customer roadmaps is to drive continuous improvements to the brand's omnichannel strategy. After all, as shoppers' tastes and preferences change, so too should the experience the company is offering.
"This level of insight can provide the omnichannel visibility brands need to gain the best understanding of their clients."
"Customer journey mapping can be a catalyst for change," Green pointed out. "The overall goal is not just completing the process, but to come away with a clear direction on what should happen next, and who's responsible for it. Even though a journey map is a powerful tool, a map is not a destination, the value is in its application."
Gathering the right data for customer roadmaps
Customer journey mapping can be a powerful asset for navigating the omnichannel jungle, but only if your brand has the right tools in place to collect the client details it needs.
PriceSpider's Channel Reports service offers an industry-leading look into all the channels a brand uses, as well as customer feedback from sellers' sites, seller ratings and details about the competition. To find out more about how this service can support your brand's customer roadmaps and omnichannel strategy, contact PriceSpider today.