A few years ago, mobile shopping was big news in the retail world, and businesses had to respond quickly in order to survive. Rather than lose access to their customers, many became omnichannel retailers to court savvy mobile consumers.
But the omnichannel marketplace has its challenges.
More and more, customers expect a seamless experience across all devices and channels. They expect brick-and-mortar stores to match the online price of a product. They expect to be able to experience a product before purchasing online. They expect to get timely notifications of new products and discounts.
How can your singular voice rise above the clamor of every other strategic marketer out there? How can you avoid the customer tuning you out?
Simple – while other brands are focused on developing the Next Big Product or are busy concerning themselves with Big Data, focus on your customer and his perceived experience.
Customers want personalized attention across all channels.
They attract repeat customers through their Beauty Insider program, which rewards frequent customers with gifts, free shipping on online orders, and special services and incentives depending on the customer’s Beauty Insider status.
Across each touch point, a Beauty Insider knows her status, her points, and the products recommended for her and why. She also knows how many more points she needs to get to the next, more exclusive level.
With more than 10 million members, this program has been so successful that Sephora recently added a premiere tier – VIB Rouge – that rewards members who spend $1000 annually.
Sephora’s parent company, LVMH, now calls the beauty chain its primary growth vehicle.
Customers want to feel like they’re dealing with one person.
Brand channels need to tell the same story. The customer expects that an in-store associate will match an online price, and vice versa. He expects that the customer service representative on the phone or online will give him the same level of engagement as an in-store employee.
Increasingly, the customer expects that the brand representative, no matter the channel, knows who he is and what his history with the brand is (this is where effective clienteling becomes important).
In an omnichannel market, you can’t have one arm of your brand presence provide an excellent customer experience only to have another channel drop the ball. Customers expect brands to operate like an individual, recognizing them and continuing the relationship at every touch point.
Customers like doing business with people, not faceless companies.
Due to the deluge of advertising they experience, customers trust commercials and company-sponsored ads less and less. Instead, they look to the opinions of their peers.
Businesses, then, need to leverage social media and real-time marketing strategies to effectively engage their customers. Not only will they be more present where their customers are interacting, but they are seen as more approachable.
Social media is where businesses can connect with their customers on a human level. It also creates a richer experience for the customer, who can get an immediate response to a product or service issue. When a brand diplomatically addresses a complaint in a public way, they are seen as more transparent and trustworthy not only by the person with the issue, but by a broader audience.
The omnichannel marketplace can be overwhelming when you think of it as a place you compete against other businesses. When you instead think of it as the site of your relationship with your loyal customers, it gets really simple. You just need to act on what the customer wants and how they want to interact with you, and then it becomes a matter of them coming to you.
An added benefit: you will be seen as a business that empowers customers to interact with your brand on their terms.
Do you know your customer and what they perceive when they shop your brand?
Customer Intercepts will let you do just that.