What do consumers want?
A question that all businesses ask themselves every step of the way.
Apart from the obvious ‘made-for-me’ product what consumers want is that you save their time and effort.
A survey conducted by DealSunny in 2016 revealed that 31% of Indians shop online because it saves time and 15% because it is more convenient. It wouldn’t hurt brands to add a little bit of fun along the way as well.
Going the omnichannel way is just that.
When all your channels of communication are connected to each other and are in sync with the customer at its core, it becomes an omnichannel experience. When a customer uses one channel, the data is updated on the other channels as well. So the customer can continue their journey on any of the channels without having to start from scratch again. Not only that but the customer should also be able to complete the purchase journey on any of the channels.
Imagine this, You have to introduce yourself to a group of people, would you want to introduce yourself to each person individually or would you find it more efficient to announce it to everyone at once, provided that everyone listens.
Majority of shoppers browse through various channels of the brand before making a purchase and consumers don’t want to introduce themselves to the same brand on its different channels when they are looking for a particular product or service. It’s a repetitive process and more importantly a waste of consumer time and effort!
Omnichannel is just that efficiency that connects all of your touch points, providing customers with a continuous integrated experience throughout the purchase journey.
Applying Omnichannel to your business
All businesses are working towards saving consumer time and effort i.e. making all processes simple, easy-to-use and convenient for customers.
According to the Deloitte report ‘Trend-setting millennials: Redefining the consumer story’ men that comprise of 40% of the millennial population are more likely to make all of their purchases online.
Most businesses are already providing customers with the ability to make purchases online be it for clothes, furniture even the automotive industry is providing this option, though it is definitively in its early stages and also access to their products through pictures and even videos, some brands also have 3D models and configurators of their products to give customers an immersive experience, and AR/ VR technology can take product visualization to a whole new level in the future.
When it comes to products that are on the pricier side, high- caliber graphics need to be delivered. Most products that are expensive are not usually bought online, but the research definitely takes place online and if your product visualization is not up to the mark or they make the customer feel like they want to see more of the product but are not able to, you have just lost a customer.
But providing access to the product and the ability to make an online purchase is just the basics and is not enough, which is where omnichannel steps in.
Kumar Rajagopalan, chief executive at Retailers Association of India, said “It is true that millennials use digital methods to research a product before taking the decision to buy. However, shopping decisions are not necessarily purely based on channel. They are based on availability and convenience — any channel that offers them the right kind of convenience and fulfils other criteria such as touch, feel and service level would help the millennials in making the buying decision”
It is also essential for businesses to provide in store inventory information to consumers in case they decide to make an offline purchase, connecting the offline and online worlds. According to a study conducted by Forrester 73% of people said that they would be more likely to visit a store if the retailer provided the product the in-store product availability online.
Providing this convenience across all channels is the omnichannel experience.
An ideal omnichannel car purchase experience would be as follows,
Rahul is a 32 year old tech savvy married man with a 2 year old baby and he wants to upgrade his car for a new one with good safety features.
Rahul is interested in a particular brand; he goes on the website which asks him to fill in some basic user information after which he starts to check out the different models.
He realizes that he wants to buy a sedan with good safety features.
The website has taken note of this and now using customer intelligence the website presents him with cars that are based on his preferences.
Rahul checks out the options and develops a liking for a particular Grey Sedan.
The website has taken note of this too.
Now Rahul decides to take a break. After 2 days he gets an email, highlighting the safety features of that same Sedan. He opens it and clicks on the link whereby he can resume his purchase journey and he starts to personalize the car and adds accessories to it. He likes the look of the car and is satisfied with it but decides to take a break again. When he is on social media, he sees ads of the Grey Sedan with the accessories he added.
After a day he gets a call from the nearest dealership to his house and he is invited to come in for a test drive and they also inform him that they have all the accessories he was interested in, in stock.
Rahul goes to the dealership and when he gives them his details, they pull out his profile on their devices, and start giving him a tour whilst informing him about the features that he is interested in (noted by the website)
This is the kind of omnichannel experience Millennial customers expect as opposed to customers doing research online and then going to dealerships to explain to them what they are interested in AGAIN.