The year's second half in India is full of festivals, beginning with Raksha Bandhan right until the New Year. That’s when people shop the most. In other words, businesses encounter a massive influx of online and offline customers during this festive season. On one hand, digital native retailers such as Amazon, Flipkart, and Myntra launch sales and promotional campaigns to attract customers online, and on the other hand, traditional brick-and-mortar stores try to compete and increase their digital presence. This is where omnichannel integration would play a vital role. It helps retailers offer personalized shopping experiences across channels (WhatsApp, Messager, Insta, SMS, Viber, Email, etc.) that are right for their customers and then integrate them effectively so communications can move seamlessly between them.
Traditional retail has been in the throes of a digital revolution, and omnichannel engagement is the next stage of that evolution. In 2012, Amazon first used the term ‘omnichannel’ to describe its cross-channel strategy that involved e-commerce and digital marketing on top of its existing online marketplace. In recent years, however, omnichannel engagement has become more than just an Amazon buzzword; it's become a necessity for retailers worldwide.
A Fundamental Shift in Consumer Behavior
Today’s customers want consistency, agility, and personalization across all channels for the same product or service. In fact, according to a recent survey, around 74 percent of Indian customers prefer an omnichannel experience. Another research claimed that 85 percent of customers are willing to switch brands after one bad experience.
Hence, retaining customers without incurring too much money in marketing and promotions can be achieved via an omnichannel approach. Communication and interaction with the brand should not be restricted to a particular platform because customers' preferences keep changing. Hence, omnichannel marketing is the need in the current business environment.
Omnichannel: The Most Relevant Strategy for Achieving Superior CX in Retail
Customer experience is not just about buying something. It also involves finding the proper size or color, using loyalty points during checkouts, and identifying the ideal payment mode across multiple payment gateways. If anything goes wrong with the order or return process, it affects the customer's loyalty too. Hence, retailers need to be much more customer-centric than ever, especially considering how omnichannel engagement impacts their business strategy.
It is estimated that 89 percent of businesses with a robust omnichannel approach end up retaining their customers. Regarding customer preferences, around 73 percent of them have agreed that they like to shop through multiple channels. In addition, the purchase frequency in omnichannel platforms is almost 250 percent more than the conventional ones.
With an omnichannel approach, retailers can better understand what customers want and offer them exactly that - whether that’s marketing, sales, authentications, reminders, or the multitude of other interactions businesses need to have with customers. This, in turn, drives higher conversion rates and sales volume as well as increased customer loyalty due to the feeling of being understood by the brand. The above-mentioned statistics are proof enough.
Emerging Technologies are Fuelling the Omnichannel Retail Revolution
Retailers today must focus on strengthening customer relationships. This can be accomplished by embracing new technologies that deliver convenience to customers. They want consistency across all channels, and technologies like AI can help retailers deliver these personalized CX as tech-driven solutions can help analyze data sets and identify trends based on those insights. This information enables brands to understand what products are most popular among certain customers and how they use different channels. It also allows them to make intelligent decisions about allocating resources for marketing campaigns to reach new audiences at scale.
Furthermore, through integration with cloud communication platforms, AI can ensure loyalty and retention programs are aligned with omnichannel engagement strategies for each customer segment. The various avenues for using technology to boost CX are automated welcome emails, WhatsApp delivery or payment updates, marketing deals for events specific to the customer, chatbots for speedy ticket resolutions, and even 3D portrayal of goods online through augmented reality. Omnichannel engagement is also essential for brick-and-mortar retailers to survive in today's chaotic environment. Consumers have been demanding experiential services they can get in-store, such as Amazon Style, not just on their computers or phones.
Omnichannel engagement is the future of retail. It will improve the overall reach of retailers across different platforms (both online and traditional retailers). Personalization and automation shall help cut down slack time and meet long-term business targets. In today's world, retailers have been challenged by an evolving customer base constantly seeking new and convenient ways to engage and interact with brands. Therefore, retailers must evolve their business models and strategies to remain relevant.