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8 ways to win the omnichannel game in commerce (part one)
Business transformation

8 ways to win the omnichannel game in commerce (part one)

Written by

Vickie Scullard

|

June 22, 2023

Table of contents

TOC Example

There are a number of factors that companies must address when planning their commerce strategy. As the way customers engage with brands continues to evolve, they must be up to date with best practices and trends so that they can plan accordingly.  

A solid omnichannel commerce strategy is key to this.

Furniture shopping is being transformed by omnichannel commerce. Direct-to-consumer (D2C) manufacturers and brands are becoming modern digital retailers, and the arrival of 3D and AR has taken it to the next level.

The omnichannel approach works, according to a study of 46,000 shoppers. Further research by Aberdeen Group revealed strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain 89% of customers, compared to 33% for weaker strategies.

Try out your own augmented reality (AR) experience now

Introduction

Where multichannel deals with the distribution of products across multiple channels, such as an online and physical store, omnichannel is more customer centric.

Definition of omnichannel commerce

Omnichannel is a strategy used by sales, marketing, and customer service teams that aims to give consumers a consistent and uninterrupted experience no matter what channel they use.

This ensures a seamless and uniform shopping experience for customers whether they are making purchases online from a desktop or mobile device, over the phone, or in a physical store.

Importance of an omnichannel strategy

According to Mulesoft, omnichannel allows retailers to achieve more availability, drive sales and traffic, and integrate digital touchpoints. In addition, omnichannel customers spend 15 to 30% more than single or multi-channel customers.

The good news is there are a number of approaches that brands can adopt to help with this. It’s about finding and implementing the one that suits your company best.

READ MORE: How AI and AR will revolutionize the retail landscape  

Strategy 1: Creating a seamless customer experience

It doesn’t matter what a company is selling, or where a product is bought, customers want an uninterrupted, smooth purchase.

It may sound challenging, but creating an omnichannel customer experience will be well worth the effort in the long run.

How to achieve a seamless experience across all channels

To create a successful experience, first understand your customers and their needs. Who are they? What do they want? According to Insider Intelligence data, 73% of shoppers expect brands to understand their unique needs and expectations. Once you know, separate them to create targeted content and experiences.  

Ensure all channels are aligned with brand messaging and goals – from physical stores to social media. Otherwise, it can be confusing and frustrating for customers.

Data should inform any decision-making, even if it means refreshing your strategy as a whole. Ise information about your customers to your advantage and importantly, remember to continuously test and optimize the strategy when needed.  

Apple

Apple excels in providing a consistent, memorable customer experience, from research to innovation to delivery updates.  

The iPhone's sleek website showcasing its products with clean, crisp 3D imagery, is replicated in its stores all down to the beautiful, aesthetic packaging of its products. Together, these stand-out moments offer more than just a purchase, instead of a memorable buying experience that demonstrates the brand's commitment to customer satisfaction.

The tech giant’s latest release, the Vision Pro, will no doubt take the baton for this as it opens the door to spatial computing.

Strategy 2: Leveraging customer data

Omnichannel data is taken from every customer interaction, revealing customer behaviors, preferences, attitudes, and values.  

It emphasizes an integrated approach, allowing marketers to understand historical behavior, predict future needs, improve product recommendations, and identify bottlenecks in the customer journey.

An omnichannel data analytics strategy enables businesses to analyze findings from all channels in a single platform, providing a complete view of the customer journey.  

How to gather and analyze customer data to inform your omnichannel strategy

According to research by Salesforce, 57% of consumers are willing to share personal data in exchange for personalized offers or discounts.  

A customer 360 provides a real-time, omnichannel view of customers' journey, and omnichannel data is the foundation for this.

To create a customer 360, firstly map touchpoints – that is, outline each interaction a customer might have with your brand. Then identify omnichannel data sources, such as websites, ad platforms, mobile apps, social media, software tools, and SaaS applications.  

Then integrate data in a single location, like the Snowflake Data Cloud, to store, manage, and inspect large volumes of live data. Analyze the data for insights and create customer profiles describing behaviors, preferences, attitudes, and values.

Starbucks

In 2018, Starbucks introduced gate-free wifi, requiring customers to register with an email address for access. This created a digital relationship, with 10 million digitally registered customers since its creation.  

Starbucks rewards customer loyalty with unique offers and experiences, including becoming a Rewards Member, using the app to order ahead, and redeeming rewards within a week. The company goes beyond offering unique rewards to create whole experiences for its customer base.

READ MORE: Unlocking value: How 3D and AR can boost your returns on customer experience investment

Strategy 3: Personalization across channels  

According to Shopify, 60% of consumers say they’ll become repeat customers if they are given a personalized shopping experience.

Omnichannel personalization tailors customer experiences to individual needs and preferences across touchpoints, enabling businesses to create tailored, individualized experiences, converting customers into loyal fans.  

How to implement personalization across all channels  

According to research by Deloitte Digital, 61% of consumers made at least three purchases from their favorite brand in the previous six months, and 87% have been devoted to it for three years or longer.

To create an effective omnichannel personalization strategy, just as in the previous strategy, businesses must map the customer journey, define their strategy, and create a holistic data strategy.  

Accurate, real-time data is crucial for omnichannel personalized experiences, as it allows businesses to make real-time decisions about channels, avoid channel conflict, and provide a coordinated and cohesive customer experience.

Working with your own data is essential for creating personalized experiences that meet customer requirements. This data allows for a closed-loop marketing system, tracking and measuring results, and avoiding potential pitfalls of relying on third-party data.

Additionally, investing in the right tools and tech stack is essential for tailoring personalization to specific business goals and objectives. The right tool allows for data collection and analysis, while the right tech stack ensures personalization is delivered across all channels, from websites to email campaigns to ads.

IKEA

IKEA, the renowned Swedish furniture retailer, has embraced omnichannel personalization to provide a seamless experience to customers.  

They offer a mobile app, IKEA Place, that allows users to create shopping lists, browse products, and even visualize furniture in their own space using augmented reality (AR).  

IKEA's app also remembers customer preferences, allowing for personalized recommendations and offers based on individual interests and purchase history.

More recently, Google has added the entire catalog to its search engine so shoppers can see 3D and AR products without navigating elsewhere.  

Strategy 4: Embracing mobile  

According to Statista, the global furniture commerce industry is forecast to reach about US$41 billion by 2030. Mobile omnichannel is especially beneficial because it provides a seamless shopping experience, enhanced visualization of products that customers can see in their space, personalized recommendations, convenient customer support, and improved order tracking.

How to optimize your mobile experience for an omnichannel strategy  

According to data, mobile commerce sales are anticipated to account for 43.4% of all commerce sales in 2023 and 44% of all commerce sales in 2025.

Creating mobile-friendly content, whether for a website or an app, is essential for optimizing website performance for mobile devices. This includes shorter paragraphs, larger text, and visual elements like images and videos.  

Best practices for a successful mobile optimization strategy include understanding user behavior, responsive design, loading speed, navigation design, and proper mobile SEO techniques.  

By implementing these best practices, businesses can develop an effective mobile optimization strategy that enhances their omnichannel approach and delivers an excellent user experience, leading to higher engagement rates and driving better conversions.

West Elm

West Elm, a popular furniture and home decor company, developed a mobile app that offers a range of features to enhance the customer experience.  

The app enables users to browse products, receive personalized recommendations, make purchases, and track their orders.  

West Elm has also integrated its app with in-store experiences, allowing customers to easily locate products within their physical stores.

Read more: 8 ways to win the omnichannel game in commerce (part two)

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