Think like the customer
Fact: We already live in an omni-channel world – a ubiquitous experience spanning multiple channels and devices. Companies in the business of selling, anything from packaged goods to services to ideas, need to address this reality and interact seamlessly with their customers across all channels, with relevant and timely communications. The return on this omnichannel strategy is already evident: customers who shop on at least two channels spend more money.
Attracting today’s customers and delivering connected and continued experiences requires companies to become truly omni-channel—breaking down departmental silos, creating new organizational blueprints, developing a omni-channel strategy that puts customers first. The result can be higher customer satisfaction, enhanced loyalty and greater sales.
Remember that visitor who didn’t make a purchase on your website? She may have completed the order in your store, without you realizing it.
A significant disconnect exists between what consumers want and the experience that retailers are providing them today, leading to lost revenue and dissatisfied customers.
One of the most important things to do when creating a new organizational blueprint is to put strategies in place that help the company truly put customers first. It is about developing a customer-centric mindset by:
Integrating pricing across online and offline channels.
Creating visibility into product availability across channels.
Enabling a single view of the customer across channels.
Developing flexible ordering options built around customers’ needs.
The new customer dynamics have changed business forever; now is the time to figure out how to better engage your customer for the long haul. By updating the blueprint to provide an integrated customer experience, where channels work together toward a common goal, companies can improve the bottom line and drive customer preference.
To create integrated customer experiences, companies must also keep certain fundamentals in mind whether their focus is business-to-consumer or business-to-business:
Business-to-consumer still thrives on the personal touch. omni-channel does not just apply to digital in this environment. A truly omni-channel approach must account for the in-store experience as customers are going online and coming into stores as part of the purchase process. Because of this, the online strategy is key to driving in-store business.
Business-to-business must think of customers as more than orders. Being truly omni-channel means thinking and acting with a business-to-consumer mindset. This means putting customer interests, expectations and even convenience at the center of transactions with more options to access important information and flexible, integrated operations that make for seamless purchasing experiences.
How do companies put omni-channel strategies into action? There are several key steps to moving toward a customer-centric future:
Break down barriers. Invite more groups into the room when setting an omni-channel strategy and action plan—from marketing to technology to the sales force.
Price it right. Have a clear, integrated approach to pricing.
Reward performance. Companies increasingly rely on all parts of the business—including operations and IT—to be successful. Compensation must be updated to reflect this.
Assess technology. Irrespective of the size of the company or number of resources, there is a need to focus on developing an integrated digital platform that is well understood by the entire organization.
Look to others. Create a flexible external infrastructure. The omni-channel approach goes beyond your own walls—engaging with partners, affiliates and franchises.