In the age of the Internet and digital technology, we all experience how arcane terms quickly become understood by the masses. “Omnichannel” is one of them – at least for those in the world of retail. From a simplified perspective, it’s when a company’s online and offline business processes are perfectly synched, providing customers with the same experience no matter how they shop.
But while the benefits of omnichannel are clear, many retailers haven’t fully embraced the strategy. The desire may be there but not the execution. The obvious question is, why?
Today’s shoppers have more choices than ever. More brands to choose from, more offers, more deals, more personalized experiences, more channels from which to buy.
If you don’t satisfy – or more to the point, impress – a first-time customer, she will go away, probably forever. Retailers who want to compete and get ahead simply can’t afford to be one-dimensional anymore. They need to go full-bore omnichannel.
And one key element of the overall omnichannel plan is to implement an omnichannel contact center. A fully integrated omnichannel contact center allows retailers to connect all of their digital channels on a single platform. This provides a rich and convenient customer experience, allowing them to shop without any bumps in the road, no matter what channel they’re coming from. Data and communications are all integrated in real-time.
Remember that in our era of multiple devices, someone may begin the shopping journey on a smartphone and complete the transaction on a laptop. Having an omnichannel contact center allows you to be there to answer any questions, including those about product availability.
This is crucial for any retailer who wants to compete. A study in the Harvard Business Review showed that over 70% of shoppers used more than one device when making shopping decisions. And within six months after an omnichannel experience, 23% of these customers returned to retailers with omnichannel options. Even better, they were more likely to recommend the retailer rather than online stores who offered only one shopping option or channel.
As you can see, it’s obvious how an omnichannel contact center can provide an array of business benefits, as well as boost the bottom line. That’s why it’s a head scratcher to realize that 85% of retailers haven’t developed a clear omnichannel strategy.
Some are afraid about the migration that’s involved. Indeed, it’s a complex, time-intensive task to move everything to an omnichannel platform. Among others factors, you can have issues with legacy infrastructure and CRM integration. You need the precise mix of skills, partners, technologies, and a clear plan from going from point A to point B. With omnichannel you can’t be vague – you have to know exactly what you want and how it will work.
Smart retailers know that the cost of acquiring customers can be high. They also realize that the cost of losing customers can be even higher. A well-conceived omnichannel strategy, combined with a contact center, reduces the price in both instances. In fact, you’re more likely to shift from into the red to into the black.