How to Meet Customers’ Omnichannel Expectations (eCommerce)

In a recent study by Salesforce, 73% of the respondents said they were extremely or somewhat likely to switch brands if a company provided inconsistent levels of service. One specific point of complaint is differing service via shopper channel (phone, web, in person, etc). A true omnichannel shopping approach to service eliminates this complaint and keeps customers coming back by connecting all channels together seamlessly.

What Exactly is Omnichannel and How is it Different from Multichannel?

Multichannel simply refers to the merchant creating the ability for the customer to access the merchant’s store and products via a variety of channels. The shopper can buy a product online or in person, or by phone, and the channels remain separate — if you buy a product at a physical store and want to return it, you have to bring it back to that store.

Omnichannel shopping, on the other hand, is an approach that treats all customer interaction channels equally, providing the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop, mobile device, telephone, or in a brick-and-mortar store. Besides shopping, it relates to all activity, so that, for instance, a customer who buys at a physical store can log a complaint or return online, or vice versa, without confusion, redundancy, or loss of information from prior interactions.

Omnichannel shopping implies true integration between channels on the back end. For example, the store CSR will be able to immediately reference the customer’s previous purchases and preferences just as easily as the phone CSR. Or: a customer can check store inventory online, purchase the item via mobile, and pick it up at a local store location.

You Need to be Omnichannel

Being open for business today means being open all the time. Your customers are everywhere, 24/7. They expect to be able to connect with you whenever, wherever, and however they like, to shop and get their problems/inquiries handled immediately and without hassle. Also, they communicate with their friends about your products at all times via all channels, and you don’t want to miss out on these valuable connections. Omnichannel means omnipresent, and omnipresent means high, constant visibility.

Omnichannel also dovetails perfectly with customer loyalty. Real-time communication across all channels with informed customer service equals a personalized shopper experience, and customers want personalization. Sixty-eight percent of consumers say it’s critical or very important for customer service agents to know their service history so they don’t have to waste time repeating it over and over. Merchants who were early adopters of omnichannel services have seen their businesses grow due to their customers’ belief that the merchant is totally dedicated to their needs.

Too Many Service Organizations Are Not Omnichannel

Omnichannel is all about solving customer problems, not creating them. To become successful in a digital world, you need to put yourself in the customers’ shoes and figure out what their needs are. Nonetheless, many companies have been slow to adopt omnichannel, for a couple of reasons.

One is that organizations have been historically been internally sectioned by channel. Budget, sales goals, and bonuses have been determined by the amount of business that was transacted within a particular channel. An omnichannel salesforce and omnichannel distribution destroys the walls between channels and makes such accounting useless and obsolete. However, for some organizations, coming up with new methods of departmental accountability can be difficult.

Another is that, since the selling experience is aligned to the customer rather than the channel, the contact center has moved from background to foreground, which is difficult for some organizations to wrap their minds around. The contact center is now considered the hub of knowledge about customer service transactions, and it’s the recipient of input on the failures of all other channels. In order to work properly, all information must be easily and instantly shared between the contact center and all channels. Information sharing, particularly at older and larger organizations, can be notoriously difficult to implement.

Meeting Customers’ Omni-Channel Expectations: Cue Can Help

Customers need to be satisfied. They’re spending their hard earned money on your products, so you need to earn their trust by giving them what they want. The way to do this is to utilizing all facets of each channel whenever you can.

That’s where Cue comes in. Cue helps to keep Customers and shoppers’ omnichannel experience consistent. Features like price alerts, social sharing widgets, my list and my list notifications help merchants stay up-to-date on their shoppers’ activities. Customers receive the same experience with items they added to a list or (outside of Cue, to a cart) whether they are on their desktop, or mobile.

Cues’ key features include Social Sharing, Engagement Incentives, and Triggered Offers. Social Sharing allows customers to share products directly from your site; this social engagement provides demographic and psychographic data about customers. Engagement Incentives provide discounts and promotions for customers who share products, so they are more willing to share, which gives you the valuable data points about them. Triggered Offers provide offers when entering and exiting pages on your site, giving customers the opportunity to save on purchases, and incentivizing them to come back again.

Ecommerce has changed retail marketing. Today, your most important customer is the omnichannel shopper. According to a 2015 study by IDC, these shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who use only one channel. You must connect with her, and her experience must be a seamless personalized online shopping experience. Omnichannel personalized online shopping is the wave of the future, and the sooner you catch the wave the better.

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