Today’s consumers expect seamless shopping experiences engaging with retail brands across devices, channels and physical locations. Crafting and optimizing a successful omnichannel retail customer journey is difficult, but can be a solid revenue driver for your retail organization. Companies that can deliver superior omnichannel customer engagement realize a 9.5% yearly increase in annual revenue.
Yet mapping and optimizing a unified omnichannel journey is complex for retailers. This article will help you map out and optimize a superior omnichannel journey for your customers.
Conduct In-Depth Journey Mapping
Your retail brand can gain a granular understanding of all touchpoints and customer pain points through:
- Creating detailed omnichannel customer journey maps from the user perspective across web, mobile, in-store, social media and beyond. If you want to get started creating a customer journey map for your retail brand, this link has a great primer.
- Performing observational research and usability tests to uncover gaps and friction points in key journeys. Monitoring users as they navigate your website and other digital presences (such as your mobile app) can help uncover issues that are slowing or stopping the flow of the customer along the purchase journey.
- Surveying shoppers on difficulties experienced and desired improvements in their omnichannel journey. Ask shoppers where they hit a ‘snag’ in the buying process. Most often, a shopper can identify an exact point that triggered a decision to end purchase consideration. Use this valuable feedback to improve the flow for all shoppers.
Journey insights help your retail brand design a customer journey that flows with little or no bottlenecks.
Bridge Platform and Channel Gaps
Eliminate transition friction across digital and physical by:
- Enabling tight integrations between platforms to maintain context. Allow moving activities between channels seamlessly. Crafting a seamless experience is the name of the game. The shopper should view the journey as one process, they shouldn’t be able to notice when they move from one device or location to another. If they do notice, it’s because their experience changed, for good or bad. Try to eliminate this so the experience is consistent across all touchpoints.
- Providing consistent commerce capabilities like buy online pickup in-store or return in-store. This is a convenient that modern retail shoppers demand. Allowing customers to buy and return in a more convenient fashion results in higher sales, customer loyalty and satisfaction.
- Sharing customer data and history across channels to enable personalized, contextual interactions. Don’t silo customer history, make it equally accessible across all devices. Tie to the customer account, if possible.
Frictionless cross-channel experiences feel unified and that leads to more convenience for the shopper, which increases the number of purchases as well as loyalty and engagement. Starbucks does this well, the brand allows ordering ahead via app, picking up in store, earning and redeeming rewards across channels. Messaging is integrated in its app for real-time support. All of this provides a consistent experience from app to in-store.
Design Consistent Branding and Messaging
Inconsistency across channels causes confusion. Consumers expect and demand a brand that gives them a consistent experience across channels and touchpoints. Maintain alignment through:
- Auditing each touchpoint to ensure visual identity, voice, tone and terminology are aligned.You are looking for a smooth flow from one touchpoint to another. Try to identify ‘breaks’ in voice and branding, and correct those snags so that the flow continues.
- Creating knowledge bases, style guides and templates for human and automated engagements. This not only provides more value and convenience for the customer, but it also meets an anticipated need: Some customers will visit a website, for example, needing support moreso than product information. By giving customers access to both product information and material for self-support, you are meeting two potential needs at once.
- Monitoring across channels frequently to rapidly address inconsistencies. Keeping a close eye on customer flow through every channel helps you quickly identify potential problem areas. These can be corrected and a smooth customer flow can be maintained.
- Coaching associates and optimizing AI chatbots to represent the brand appropriately. Remember that the point of AI isn’t to replace the human connection that your brand has with its customers; It’s job is to enhance it. Leverage AI to provide more convenience to customers, but it shouldn’t be obvious when its a human or AI helping you. Consistent branding, voice and tone is paramount.
Consistent experiences build familiarity and trust as shoppers traverse channels.
Leverage data to tailor experiences across the journey, Analyze the data you collect from the journey your customers take, and apply it to improve the process by:
- Individualized content recommendations based on interests, purchase history and browsing behavior. Offer customers a unique content experience based on their interest and behavior patterns on your channels.
- Omnichannel promotion consistency: For instance, offer discounts synchronized across online and in-store. Customers should see no break in the promotion flow just as they wouldn’t expect it for other forms of content.
- Contextually relevant assistance like help messages at decision points. Track user patterns and note where visitors abruptly leave your website. See what triggered their decision and attempt to correct by giving them access to additional content that meets their needs.
- Recommendations aligned to buyer lifecycle stage based on past purchases and activity. Promotion of complimentary products is appreciated, if relevant.
Personalized journeys can help the customer feel appreciated and lead to higher levels of satisfaction and loyalty.
Drive Mobile Experience Excellence
With mobile dominating, relentlessly optimize mobile apps and sites through:
- Streamlined navigation, minimal data entry, and contextual help for seamless completion of key tasks. Keep in mind that mobile apps are primarily used when the customer is mobile, or on-the-go. Factor that in when considering how the customer will be using the app and in what environment.
- Core functionality availability offline for convenience. Give mobile app users the ability to access basic functionality when offline or mobile coverage is inconsistent.
- Location awareness bridging digital with nearby physical interactions like in-store pickup prompts. Additionally, add in-store signage to encourage app usage. Making customers aware of the convenience of a mobile app helps drive adoption.
Optimizing the mobile app experience leads to a more dynamic and profitable customer journey for your retail brand.
Orchestrating seamless, personalized journeys across an exploded digital landscape is complex yet invaluable. We hope this article provided insights into excelling at networked omnichannel experiences that powerfully differentiate your brand.