Why Should you Build an Omnichannel Retail Strategy?
There has been a massive shift in customer expectations in just the last few years. In today's digital-first retail landscape, consumers expect a seamless customer experience across every channel they are interacting with - whether they are searching for something on your website, are in direct contact with a support agent, or are ordering curbside pickup through your app.
In other words, consumers today expect retailers to transform their multichannel retail approach into an omnichannel retail strategy, moving away from a set of individual engagement channels, to one, unified customer experience model.
Omnichannel retail definition: A unified, frictionless retail experience that enables easy navigation and movement between every interaction channel - including physical stores, social media, websites, phone, text, chat, and more. This integrated customer experience (CX) strategy gives customers the ability to travel seamlessly from channel to channel, empowering them to have their needs addressed more quickly and easily, and on their channel of choice.
How do you Build an Omnichannel Retail Strategy?
While the concept is simple, building an omnichannel retail experience that lasts takes a experience-centric, customer-first approach combining ease-of-use, convenience, and personalization. And it always starts with the right strategy.
1. Map Your Current State
Consider how you can gather the right insights from both employees and customers and map out your current customer journey to create a visual representation of the path—and channels—your customers take when they engage with your brand. Remember, this step is about establishing a foundation on which you can build phased improvement.
2. Define Your North Star
Your North Star is the first step in transforming your multichannel strategy into a bold omnichannel retail strategy. Your North Star is your retail business’s overall philosophy. It should clearly convey your overall approach to the customer experience and at the same time, serve as a rallying point for your team.
Defining your omnichannel retail direction and your important business outcomes will guide the business outcomes you want to achieve for your omnichannel retail strategy, and in turn, improve business drivers like employee engagement, customer loyalty, brand perception, and revenue.
3. Identify Opportunities for Improvement
Once you’ve defined your North Star and decided on your desired business outcomes, it’s time to uncover the challenges that currently stand in the way of success. Sometimes those obstacles are obvious, but often, it's less apparent as to when or why unhappy customers are leaving. That's why it's important to do some digging to find out the real problems in your current CX.
Comparing the experience you’re actually giving your customers to the experience you want to deliver can help identify gaps hiding in your existing retail strategy. Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs and customer journey mapping are great tools for identifying these gaps, unveiling how and where you need to make improvements.
Your teams are an invaluable resource for providing deeper insights on the current customer experience and the pain points they’re currently hearing. That's why Voice of the Employee (VoE) programs are another great resource for identifying improvement opportunities, while also shining the light on issues and snags your employees are experiencing in the interaction journey.
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4. Develop a CX Transformation Roadmap
Once you’ve uncovered what your customers and your employees have to say and have identified the gaps between the current and desired state of your CX, it’s time to create a roadmap to help you achieve a strong, sustainable omnichannel retail experience.
The best roadmaps are designed with three pillars in mind: logistics, timing, and success metrics. Shifting your overall experience to a true omnichannel retail strategy means making sure every initiative incorporates CX, and a good CX Improvement will help you do just that.
5. Orchestrate the New Experience Strategy
Orchestration means utilizing people, processes, and technology to enable the foundational components of CX, and it’s critical to the success of your omnichannel retail strategy. Just like the name implies, orchestration means pulling all the pieces together to execute your roadmap and build a seamless, frictionless omnichannel retail customer experience.
This requires investing in technologies that streamline and simplify brand interactions throughout the entire experience for both customers and employees. Just as your CX needs to be unified and integrated, your data and technologies must also work in sync to support this new vision. That includes:
- Making sure your contact center and interaction systems are connected so your customer support agents have a single view of what’s happening for your customers.
- Deploying sophisticated customer data and analytics so every touchpoint in the CX is informed with the most up-to-date customer information and insights.
- Connecting your commerce systems so customers can move seamlessly from one channel to another based on their own preferences.
- Finding the best automation and AI solutions to complement your "live” interactions, so your employees are focused on the most critical tasks, and your customers can find the information they need at the right time, and in the right place.
- Capturing customer feedback at the most critical touchpoints and acting in real-time to improve the experience.
6. Measure Your Success
Your final step in this CX transformation process should be to set aside both the time and resources to measure the success of your modernized omnichannel retail and determine if this strategy is actually meeting your objectives. It's important to establish ways of tracking and measuring your CX delivery on an ongoing basis, to ensure your omnichannel retail approach adapts to changing customer expectations and market trends.
Surveys, interviews, polls, VoC, and VoE programs help collect feedback and data and give you helpful data points and a rounded perspective of your success, while helping to uncover challenges, growth opportunities, and pain points. These tools can help your retail brand answer questions that inform your omnichannel strategies. Questions like:
- What are your customers saying about their agent interactions or eCommerce experience?
- What do your customers think about your self-service channels?
- How has brand loyalty been impacted by your cross-channel experience delivery?
- Has your omnichannel retail strategy made it easier for your employees to meet their objectives and maximize their productivity?
Avtex offers CX consultation and technologies to build, manage, and measure your omnichannel retail strategy
How Does Avtex Fuel Exceptional Omnichannel Retail Experiences?
Avtex helps retailers transform the customer experience by combining industry expertise with our cutting-edge, end-to-end CX design, orchestration, and consultation services. We identify opportunities and gaps in your customer experience and develop plans for facilitating more impactful, customer-centric interactions and service engagements at every touchpoint in the omnichannel retail journey.