You’re considering purchasing a new pair of running shoes. You use your phone to do a little browsing and find a pair you like at a large sporting goods retailer. You add them to your cart, but you’re a little unsure and don’t complete the purchase before getting distracted by something else.
The next day, you check your email and see that you have a message from that same retailer highlighting the pair of shoes you were looking at yesterday along with a 15% off coupon. You’re interested, but decide that you’d like to try the shoes on to make sure they’re comfortable. You head to the store’s local brick-and-mortar location and try on the shoes in your size, but not in the color you were hoping for. The sales associate offers to order them from another branch and have them ready for curbside pickup tomorrow. You complete your purchase and happily await your new pair of running shoes!
This is the omnichannel customer experience in action. When you, the customer, interacted with the retailer through online and offline touchpoints, the retailer was able to persuade you from an abandoned purchase to a sale by utilizing a follow-up message, coupon code, and in-store service.
Defining the Omnichannel Customer Experience
Most simply put, omnichannel marketing is a customer-centric strategy. Typically, this strategy involves the seamless integration of branding, messaging, and both online and offline touchpoints as customers move through the sales funnel and, ultimately, make a purchase.
Retailers who have implemented an omnichannel strategy are seeing success. Take Target, for example, a company that prioritized its omnichannel strategy to integrate digital and physical retail. Today, Target shoppers who use multiple channels to shop spend 10 times more than online-only or in-store-only shoppers. Digital reward programs, like Sephora’s Beauty Insider Rewards or Chipotle’s Extras, give loyal customers a gamified shopping experience that results in stronger customer relationships and increased sales.
The omnichannel approach has a proven success record and is here to stay. While many retailers understand this and are taking steps toward a comprehensive strategy, omnichannel marketing is not without its own set of challenges.