Why Do Brands Need Omnichannel Personalization?
Customers today are connected across screens, channels and devices. The average american spends 10 hours a day looking at a screen, and that number is only growing. Omnichannel personalization is all about being available for customers and empowering your audience to succeed wherever they may interact with your brand. This means seamless transitions between an online store, a mobile shopping experience, and a visit to a brick-and-mortar establishment of your brand. These experiences all need to create a feeling of unity that make the customer feel secure and comfortable no matter where they access a brand from. When done right, this can have a direct impact on revenue and customer loyalty.
Big brands today are embracing different digital channels to build a more well-rounded, personalized customer experience for every individual customer. To understand the value of optimizing your omnichannel experience, we’ve broken down how some of the best brands plan their strategies, and the results they see. This is a good place to start making changes and maximizing returns from your omnichannel personalization strategy.
Omnichannel Personalization: From Past to Present
Back in the day, brick-and-mortar stores had to manage inventory and keep tabs on catalogues they were available in. With the arrival of the online store, customers can now access entire collections of clothing, accessories, furniture and a whole lot more, right from their laptops, tablets, or mobile phones. These channels makes it easy for customers to do the research they need before they decide to make a purchase. Although many customers increasingly prefer to shop online, there is still a big audience that prefers to go to brick and mortar stores to get for their final purchase done.
The Omni Channel Difference in Retail
This is why investing in an omnichannel experience helps you keep customers in focus and understand them better. One of the best ways to keep customers engaged and increase their LTV (lifetime value) today is to employ personalization.
Go Beyond Demographics, Build Personas
Collecting customer data alone isn’t going to make your omnichannel personalization strategy work. However, you need data to build an omnichannel personalization strategy. You need to know where your customers are, what devices they use to explore your brand, and what kind of communication they like to receive. The key to maximizing your omnichannel retail strategy is to go beyond demographics and build personas. Ask questions like
- Which channels are your customers most active on?
- What devices do they love to use?
- Where do they like to hear from you?
- Where do they not want hear from you?
- What do they believe in and value?
Understanding and respecting these preferences, as well as your customers activities across the various channels your brand is present in make up the basis of omnichannel personalization.
Optimizing The User Experience With Personalization
A personalized user experience can go a long way to increase a customer’s loyalty and their life time value with your brand. Nurturing your audience for every customer journey means keeping track of customer data in real-time, sharing that data across your channels and building effective campaigns around them. Brands today are experimenting with personalizing the online user experience today with collaborative filtering to make product suggestions and recommendations and 1:1 personalization on web and mobile channels. In the offline world, connected stores and pop up shops with digitally curated experiences are all the rage.
Let’s say you need a new couch. Instead of going to the store first, you log on to your favourite online retailer and do a virtual fitting in your room your mobile phone or tablet and an augmented reality tool they offer. You can see the couch exactly as it is, in your living room, against all your furniture. You get recommendations, personalized for you about other products you may like to try. Once you are happy with the look, you can explore the actual product in a shop where it is available, or place your order instantly. All you need to do now is sit back, relax, and wait for the product to be delivered! Shopping for a couch just seamlessly crossed three different channels and saved you a bunch of time.
Using The Mobile Platform Today: Starbucks Mobile Pay and Order
Customer data today lives across brands, their websites and social networks. Personalizing across channels can put this data to use, building a unified experience across devices and locations.
The mobile platform today is abuzz with customer conversations and transactions. Considering there are 5x as many cell phone users as email, this definitely a channel to be present on. Starbucks’ experiment with an omnichannel user experience was launched for iOS in 2010, allowing users to use the Starbucks app to book their orders in advance and get their morning cuppa joe that much faster.
Lines to the cashier in stores became shorter, service more efficient, and customers’ mornings got that much better. This was a good way to make customers lives (especially their mornings) easier, and to stay engaged with customers personally, on the mobile channel. In the first nine weeks of the program, there were 3 million transactions. Today, the program exists at 4000 US stores and clocks in 9 million transactions a month. Customers loaded over $1.9 billion onto the app in 2016. A pretty phenomenal example of how targeting users at the right channel at the right time increases their customer lifetime value,
How Brands Go Beyond Email and Mobile To Win
In the eCommerce space, customers today want to see options and customizations to the products they use. If you can give customers exactly the experience they need, by personalizing your offering and recommending similar products, half your work is done.
Shops like Crate and Barrel’s, Sephora and Walgreens all have great websites and apps that offer a seamless user experience. Products you add into your cart are present across devices, information you fill repeatedly is stored to make your experience faster and more efficient.
The best ways that these brands build personal connections with their audience is by understanding user personas and recommending related products. Some of the ways they do this is by using collaborative filtering tools.
Collaborative filtering is based on real time customer data. Artificial intelligence powered algorithms understand that when a user likes a product a and another user likes a product a and b, then chances that the first user will like product b as well. Brands use these algorithms to show users products they may like across devices and channels – motivating customers to make sales.
Reaching Out for Help
Another essential way to go omnichannel, benefit customers, and increase loyalty is to offer multiple points of contact and support for customers to answer questions about your service or product. Online messengers like the Boomtrain Messenger can help you answer customer questions with context of their geography and whether they are a regular customer or new to your website.
The great part about an omnichannel messenger is that it is two way. You can trigger push notifications to customers that bring them to a conversation on your website, or send them a promotional message while they are on your website. Customers who want to have their favorite brands at their fingertips can use messenger bots to check on orders or make decisions about orders. A messenger is a great way to stay relevant and fresh in a customer’s mind and create a space for conversational commerce.
Increasing Customer Lifetime Value and Revenue
Harvard Business Review’s in 2015-16 did a survey of over 46,000 shoppers, asking them about every aspect of their shopping experience. The results? Only 7% were online-only shoppers and 20% were store-only shoppers. The remaining majority, or 73%, used multiple channels during their shopping journey. So 73% of retail customers are now omnichannel customers.
While these customers use smartphone apps to compare prices or use coupons, they also used smart devices in-store and made online purchases over web and mobile. Omnichannel customers spent an average of 4% more on every shopping occasion in the store and 10% more online than single-channel customers.
Source: KPMG, MIT
With every extra channel they used, shoppers spent more money in the store. For example, customers who used 4+ channels spent 9% more in the store, on average, when compared to those who used just one channel.
Going beyond segmentations and demographic data to share truly personalized content is essential to grow your customer engagement. With an omnichannel personalization strategy, you can use customer triggered activities to engage them across devices and provide value at every step.