Want to be a successful retailer? Create an integrated omnichannel customer experience.
Providing an integrated omnichannel buying experience in today’s hypercompetitive retail space is no longer just a nice-to-have, it’s mandatory.
It’s all about delivering an integrated buying experience, where online and in-store experiences work together to meet the needs of your customers.
“If retailers don’t have fully a fully integrated omnichannel today they’re already behind.”
Patrick McIntyre, Director, Global Retail at Mars, in a recent interview for Insider Trends
7 steps for creating an omnichannel buying experience
1. Develop a comprehensive understanding of your customer
- How old are your customers? What is their gender and where do they live?
- What do they value, what are their challenges — what keeps them up at night?
Answering these questions will help you understand the perspective of your customers and build a buying journey that’s in tune with their needs.
2. Ensure your company is set up to provide an integrated cross-channel experience
A shopper’s impression of your brand consists of EVERY experience she or he has with your brand. You need to ensure all your channels work together to create one seamless experience.
Are you providing a seamless buying journey?
- Is your customer experience the same on your website, phone and tablet?
- Are the return policies for products bought in-store and online identical?
- Can a customer order online and pick up the item in your store?
- Can the sales associate in your retail store help customers locate an item that was ordered online but never showed up?
3. Make your operations & logistics omnichannel-ready
Your website and physical stores may already have the same look & feel however, you need to take it one step further. Start by building the capabilities to offer free shipping and manage delivery and returns more efficiently.
You may even need to restructure management, marketing and product development to operate centrally across online and offline channels.
4. Create a common IT infrastructure
Consider linking online and offline channels to a single IT infrastructure that enables you to provide a seamless experience across channels. For example, your customers should be able to easily check the availability of an item in your store by visiting your website.
5. Leverage analytics to understand online & offline customer touchpoints
Use data and analytics from your customer’s online and offline behaviour to create a comprehensive buying journey. (FYI: Mapsted provides comprehensive analytics based on our leading-edge indoor navigation platform.)
6. Monitor and evolve the customer experience
Think of yourself as a lifelong learner — you need to monitor your customer behaviour and use those insights to uncover trends and adjust your in-store and online touchpoints to meet your customers’ needs.
Plan for the future, be proactive and anticipate behaviour instead of just reacting to what your customers are doing right now.
“Skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.”
Wayne Gretzky, Former NHL superstar
7. Reposition your company culture
All the previous six steps rely on adopting a new mindset that includes understanding and accepting that online and offline channels are one, integrated experience.
That could even go so far as adopting new business models and recruiting new talent who understand the convergence of both online and offline worlds.
As a retailer, you have a powerful opportunity to understand your customers’ buying journey and create an integrated shopping experience that enables you to compete effectively with seasoned online retailers.
MAPSTED CORP. is a Canadian technology firm that strives to be the global leader and provider of indoor positioning/location services.
Unlike other indoor navigation platforms, our ground-breaking core localization technology does NOT require Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or cellular connections. It can be easily deployed in multi-storey buildings, underground floors and other areas that are generally known as dead-zone locations.
MAPSTED offers a smart mall solution that includes geo-targeted mobile ads and comprehensive shopper analytics — all based on our leading-edge indoor navigation platform.
For more information visit, mapsted.com.