Wednesday, 28 January 2015
The customer is now asserting control of the shopping process and they now have virtually unlimited choices of what and where to buy through an expanding list of channels and devices. Vaughan Reed, Owner of Labyrinth Solutions, explains why omni-channel marketing cannot be ignored and shares some important emerging trends.
Over the last few years, digital marketing has been undergoing rapid advancements at stomach-churning speed. Marketing teams can no-longer simply rely on their website for their digital strategy. The number of digital touch points is growing and today’s tech-savvy consumers demand information be readily available at their fingertips across any device, regardless of whether they are online or browsing in-store. This begs the question…
Omni-channel implies the delivery of a seamless, integrated and consistent customer experience; irrespective of the channel or device.
If we take Air New Zealand as an example. I can start my journey by booking a ticket online via their website, then switch to their mobile application (‘app’) on my phone or tablet to view my booking details and use the ‘check-in’ function to avoid any queues. The app also allows my phone to act as my e-ticket, boarding pass and keeps me informed through-out my journey, including notifying me of any flight delays, the weather conditions at my destination and when my flight is ready to board. If I enter the Koru Lounge my phone acts as my Koru pass, again all thanks to the app - it even asks if I would like to order a coffee so it can be ready for me when I get to the café counter.
All of this is about making my life easier and providing me with a great experience so I continue to fly with them and truth be told…it’s working. It’s also about facing up to the reality which is that today’s consumers use multiple devices during a single transactional process. If I start my journey or experience with an organisation from my desktop computer, it should be backed-up by a similar experience when I’m on the run via my mobile device or in-store via an interactive kiosk.
Omni-channel marketing can give a business the upper hand over its competitors by allowing them to deliver an enhanced customer experience. And since people buy based on emotion rather than price, you take yourself out of the price war. Sticking with the Air New Zealand example, while they may not always be the cheapest airline available, many people choose to fly with them because of the superior experience they receive, which in part is thanks to their smart use of technology.
There is the common perception that managing communication across multiple digital touch points is a difficult and complex process. But increasingly businesses are overcoming these ‘barriers’ by positioning their website at the heart of their omni-channel marketing strategy and leveraging its content across other devices to automate and enhance the customer experience. Some of the other trends we are seeing:
A website’s content is therefore the lifeblood necessary to fuel an omni-channel marketing strategy and it is going to play an increasingly vital role in the race to deliver a superior customer experience. Retailers and businesses that ignore this trend and try to deliver a brand experience, which relies on engaging with customers via siloed touch points will miss-out on a substantial competitive advantage. Retail and business success today is about working to optimise the online-offline mix through better leverage of content and introducing a platform that is capable of centralising customer interactions across multiple touch points.
Vaughan Reed is the Managing Director of Labyrinth Solutions; a leading omni-channel platform provider in Australasia, which centralises the management of content across the four primary omni-channel touch points – Website | Mobile Application | Kiosk | Digital Signage.