With companies across many sectors running digital and physical operations concurrently, the benefits of unifying these two fronts through omni-channel solutions are becoming greater than ever – at least for some.
Other organisations have faced greater challenges receiving a return on investment after transitioning to the omni-channel experience.
This can be explained by the fact that many organisations are currently utilising a number of solutions sourced from different companies, failing to overcome the legacy of compartmentalisation. Some of these organisations use as many as four or five unsynchronised views of the customer, spread throughout several systems.
Situations such as these have proven to be the biggest hurdle to overcome when transitioning a company into an omni-channel organisation. As a result, each channel’s promotions are handled differently, giving customers the impression that they are doing business with several different companies, rather than a unified group of unique brands.
Bringing omni-channel benefits to customers
When making the transformation to an omni-channel operation, regardless of industry or sector, achieving a rapid return on investment requires a seamless and agile connection between all of the organisation’s digital channels and physical outlets. The benefits of doing so are irrefutable. By providing a single customer view, companies open up a wide array of convenient and efficient options for their customers.
Within the retail sector, for example, online shoppers gain the opportunity to shop at any time from a number of devices, create wish lists and digital shopping carts that carry over into brick-and-mortar stores, receive personalised offers and recommendations that reflect their shopping history, receive updates on current orders, take advantage of click-and- collect and gain access to membership or loyalty schemes that carry over to other brands within the same retail group, exposing them to all of the organisation’s brands through cross-promotion.
Omni-channel retail also opens up more opportunities for shoppers while they are in the store, including: ordering online items from in-store kiosks or other devices; browsing or buying items not currently stocked at the particular location, which can be shipped to the store for pick-up; paying using the method they find most convenient, whether it is through a mobile app or the electronic wallet they use in the store’s online counterpart; redeeming personalised offers they have received on their phone or loyalty points they have accrued online; and a unified shopping experience across in-store brands.
More options for organisations
For organisations, making the transition to an omni-channel operation with a single view of the customer, stock and basket across all their digital and physical destinations brings forth a number of key marketing benefits.
Promotional material, including exclusive offers, can be tailored to each specific customer using their shopping history or wish lists, resulting in a substantially higher rate of success than traditional “scatter shot” promotions. These are sent to the customer’s email address, or even better, directly to the smartphone or other devices they use to shop with the brand online.
Customer journeys, taking place across various channels, can quickly be created and adapted to maximise return on investment. With all brands, both physical and digital, unified into one system, organisations can painlessly create rewards programs that track customer activity and reward their loyalty with discounts or other exclusive deals. A unified view of inventory enables companies to say “yes” more often by giving them the ability to have products quickly shipped from one location to another and allowing customers to take advantage of click-and- collect or return items at any location, if necessary.
The unified solution
In order for these benefits to be realised, organisations must do away with the tangle of mismatched solutions they may have built up over the years, and instead opt to create a single, unified system. This can be achieved through the use of innovative software and an agile services company with the necessary expertise to create a tailor-made, omni-channel platform.
By utilising such a solution, organisations can achieve a seamless integration and migration process, as well as other sought-after features such as cloud-based delivery and cost-efficiency. Experienced service providers can also bring in security assurances, a necessity for companies seeking to do more of their business online.
This previously unprecedented level of convenience for shoppers puts omni-channel organisations at a distinct advantage. Companies who have made the transition to omni-channel excellence have found higher footfall, increased spending per visit, a higher volume of repeat visits and a rapid return on investment.
To get the best results from any omni-channel solution, it is crucial that organisations enlist the help of a trusted and experienced service provider, along with proven software.