Since the emergence of omnichannel strategies, there has been a much higher focus on the path consumers take when interacting with a brand. Omnichannel has added more options for consumers to connect with a company, taking them from mobile apps to the company's e-commerce website and even to their brick-and-mortar store locations.
Now that so much crossover is taking place among the channels a business utilizes, it's critical to have the most in-depth understanding of the customer journey and how this factors into the brand's overall omnichannel strategy.
The new face of the customer journey
In the past, the path a customer took from the initial interaction with a company through the completion of a transaction was pretty clear-cut. Nielsen Norman Group contributor Kim Flaherty pointed out that the customer journey has significantly changed in recent years thanks to the emergence of advanced technological devices that provide more opportunities for brands to reach out to their customers.
"There are several unique paths the customer journey can take."
In other words, now that businesses, as well as consumers, are active on numerous channels, there are several unique paths the customer journey can take.
"Customers now have many personal devices, and each of these devices affords different possibilities for interaction with the same organization," Flaherty wrote. "All of these channels across so many different devices make customer-business relationships more complex than ever before."
What's more, the changing face of the customer journey has led to rising demand for high-quality and efficient service across the breadth of a brand's omnichannel presence.
"We've created an environment where the customer experience can move with people. Users now have the means to support streamlined, personalized, enjoyable customer experiences, and they're beginning to expect this much," Flaherty explained. "With these new capabilities at their fingertips, they are no longer confined to predetermined channels and ways of interacting. They want to take control of their journeys, smoothly transition from one device to another, and engage with organizations on many channels as they complete tasks."
Mapping the customer journey
In order to achieve the level of service and support consumers are now expecting, businesses must have a detailed understanding of the different channels shoppers leverage on their journey, and how these lead to a finalized sale.
One of the best ways to ensure this is by creating unique customer personas that match up with specific journeys. In this way, the different personas include certain consumer characteristics and behaviors that help highlight the path these types of shoppers take when interacting with the brand. These not only span the range of consumers a brand works with but also include different stages of the customer lifecycle. For instance, a young, female shopper who is connecting with the brand for the first time will have different behaviors and therefore a different journey than a loyal, male consumer who's been purchasing from the brand for several years.
Retail consultant TeleTech noted that creating and adjusting personas and maps as necessary will help contribute to a robust and streamlined omnichannel presence.
"Customer journey maps can then be updated to reflect changes in customer behaviors and used by decision-makers to ensure that touchpoints in the customer journey are hassle-free to help strengthen loyalty, satisfaction, and customer lifetime value," TeleTech stated.
Preventing gaps in knowledge: Including overlooked elements
Taking an in-depth look at the pathways customers utilize is also advantageous in ensuring that no single, critically important element is overlooked. In this spirit, it's imperative to consider not only the numerous channels that consumers have at their disposal, but also the frequency with which they are used, and their juncture in the overall journey. Time frame and the order of interactions are essential factors, as they can mean the difference between an effective and fruitful brand connection, or one that fizzles out before a conversion takes place.
The most successful omnichannel strategies also take into account the efforts made by sellers within the brand's network as well as competing organizations in the same marketplace. Obtaining data and details about the company's partners and resellers alongside information about the competition can give the brand's marketing team the most complete picture. This helps support brand engagement as well as overall profitability in the industry.
To find out more about the type of monitoring solutions that make access to this type of information possible, contact PriceSpider. PriceSpider's proprietary technology gives your company insight into its omnichannel presence, arming your team with the best visibility to support enjoyable customer journeys.