Omni Channel is More Than a Buzzword

I love coupons.

No matter what’s on my shopping list, when I receive a coupon, I begin to imagine how to get the most value from the discount.

But one type of coupon drives me crazy: the coupon that treats in-store purchases as somehow different than online purchases. The coupon that I print out at home, but arrive at the store to find that I can’t use it. Or the coupon I receive in the mail that I can’t use for online purchases.

Why can’t I use my coupon wherever I want? Whether online or at the retail location, it’s the same store, isn’t it? They’re selling the same items, right?

The answer is: because the retailer that sent me the coupon does not have an Omni channel marketing calendar. They’re still treating brick and mortar retail as a separate entity from their online business, which means they’re also treating those customers who shop in-store vs. online as separate customers.

But they’re not separate. Today’s customers shop whenever and wherever is most convenient for them at any given moment. Sometimes that means online, and sometimes it means stopping into your brick and mortar store. Either way, consumers expect to find the same retailer they know and love wherever and however they choose to shop.

A recent white paper written by the team at FitForCommerce highlights the importance of delivering a consistent Omni channel experience as follows (emphasis mine):

“The most sophisticated retailers are enabling customers to convert on any channel. After all, shoppers who buy in-store and online have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel. In other words, Omni channel shoppers are the most valuable customers.”

Customers who shop across several channels spend more money, but there’s a catch. Omni channel customers expect their retailers to deliver a consistent experience across every channel – in-store, online, and even via mobile app. If your brick and mortar stores are beautiful but your website is dated or confusing, you’ll have a hard time retaining valuable Omni channel customers. Likewise, if your online shop has everything, but your inventory is lacking at your brick and mortar locations, you can expect some very disappointed customers.

The FitForCommerce white paper goes on to detail five specific challenges and recommendations for delivering the Omni channel experience that today’s customers expect:

  1. Closing the gap between customer expectations and Omni channel retail execution
  2. Engaging in a consistent, personalized way across channels
  3. Focusing on customers instead of products
  4. Mobilizing stores to serve Omni channel customers
  5. Weaving Omni channel into the fabric of the retail organization

And while the white paper provides great insight into how to overcome each challenge, these five principles could be summed up thusly:

To serve Omni-Channel customers, you have to deliver consistent, personalized, customer-focused marketing and experience at every touch point across every channel.

So what is the key to delivering consistent, personalized, customer-focused marketing and execution? Shared data and coordinated promotion management throughout your organization, from executives to marketing & creatives to merchants to store managers.

The best Omni channel organizations recognize that delivering a consistent cross-channel experience involves every layer of the company, and they put tools in place to ensure that the left hand always knows what the right is doing, and vice versa. The best tools provide a complete feedback loop from the boots on the ground, to the corporate teams, to the global executive decision makers, and back. A comprehensive feedback loop ensures that your organization delivers a consistent experience across all channels, and that feedback from all customer-facing channels is incorporated into strategic decisions.

CrossCap empowers such a feedback loop by coordinating your entire marketing organization, from strategic executive planning, to merchandisers, to execution specialists at the store, media, and online levels. We keep your entire team moving in the same direction, and enable smarter decisions thanks to online, real-time data and communication between strategy and execution. When your team is working together – like a network, and, sharing information horizontally and vertically, you can deliver a true Omni channel experience to your customers.

No more complaints about inventory online vs. in-store, or in-store signage that doesn’t match your online promotions. And definitely no more coupons that only work in one channel.

Omni channel matters, and we can help. Contact us today to learn how CrossCap empowers true Omni channel marketing.

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