Omnichannel: Wait or Move? 5 Points to Consider

For a few years now, omnichannel has been a key buzzword in the domain of customer experience. From delivering customer service to implementing creative marketing strategies, many brands have embraced omnichannel as the future of customer experience and an essential factor to their business growth. However, with the numerous channels people interact on these days—especially due to the rise of conversational commerce and the myriad social channels involved–some brands may question the feasibility of engaging efficiently with customers on all channels at all times and worry about the costs involved. Is it better to wait as conversational commerce evolves, or should your brand join the omnichannel movement? Here are five compelling reasons why moving now just may be more essential than ever.

Customers are active across multiple channels

The simple truth is that customers love to use multiple channels and want the flexibility to do so at any time. This means that brands that offer a seamless omnichannel experience are set for brand growth and greater chances for long-term customer loyalty. According to Accenture, 65% of customers are frustrated by inconsistent experiences across channels, illuminating the fact that customers tend to switch. The channels used also depend on demographics or the nature of customer issues. Millennials, for example, are active social media and messaging app users and big spenders: An MEC study found that 63% are active mobile messaging app users, and Advertising Age projects that they will spend $10 trillion during their lifetimes. Traditional channels like voice, however, may be more trusted by older consumers who are less active on social media and by customers who need more detailed support: A study by CX Act Inc. indeed found that over half of the customers surveyed preferred to reach out by phone. The key takeaway? Omnichannel is a clear path to serving different customers in different places and winning their trust and business.

Conversational commerce is on the rise

The new trend for conversational commerce is the result of the booming growth of smartphone use and messaging apps. According to The Economist, over 2.5 billion people currently have at least one messaging app installed, and many brands are embracing this trend to offer seamless and optimized customer experiences that enable customers to do everything from research products to make purchases within a single channel. So how does omnichannel play a role? While customers are seeking support on their mobile devices, many are still heading to brick and mortar stores to do or complete their shopping. Invesp cites that among digital shoppers, 82% want the capability to check a product’s availability before visiting a store, while 70% of US online shoppers have purchased online before picking up purchases in-store. What’s more, 72% of digital shoppers consider the in-store experience as the most critical channel when making a purchase. While mobile use is more dominant than ever, creating a seamless omnichannel experience for customers who shop in-store is vital.

Timeliness is more important than ever

A tremendous benefit of omnichannel is that it allows customers to engage with brands when and where they want, saving them time and effort. When a brand optimizes channels with skilled agents and quick response times and strategically reaches out to customers on their preferred channels, loyalty is often won. According to Forrester, 71% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing brands can do to provide good service. An eConsultancy report also found that 82% of customers claim that the number one factor that leads to a great customer experience is having an issue resolved quickly. Omnichannel is therefore key to providing timely service.

Omnichannel reduces costs and increases sales

Being accessible to customers across multiple channels dramatically increases sales opportunities, but it’s also worth noting that brands may reduce costs as well. It can indeed be expensive to hire additional staff to monitor all channels around the clock or implement new technology to set your omnichannel strategy in place. But brands should remember that once the strategy is set and all systems are in place, the loyalty won from old and new customers alike far outweighs the initial costs. The cost of customer churn is high, so giving customers a seamless experience is vital to growing a brand and delighting customers. In addition, many brands have noted that omnichannel strategy can reduce costs on expensive channels like voice, reduce shipping and packaging costs, and, through greater agent efficiency, reduce staffing costs as well.

Omnichannel marketing is key to engaging customers

When brands find out which channels their customers love, the next step is making sure to engage them on those channels. In addition to customer service, omnichannel has opened the doors to more creative and engaging marketing campaigns. For example, many brands have turned to social media to engage millennial customers in brand competitions, encourage them to share media clips, or even involve them in product development. Simply put, omnichannel enables brands to reach out to customers on their preferred channels with marketing offers and invitations to participate in brand development on a truly global scale. As customer experience practices evolve, many will argue that omnichannel will continue to play a pivotal role in the future. If your brand is pondering the question of whether to wait or move to omnichannel, one might say that the future is already here.

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