The game has changed for retailers and brands online. Today’s eCommerce is no longer strictly transactional - it’s all about the customer experience.
Customers are more informed than ever when making a purchase, and their journey starts well before they visit a brick-and-mortar store or online marketplace. They have unlimited options at their fingertips, with vast amounts of content across channels to help them make informed buying choices. With content guiding them to compare different products, reviews and prices, often their journey does not start with the brand.
To successfully market their products online, brands must provide the correct blend of functionality, experience, and storytelling to keep buyers engaged throughout their journey - no matter the channel.
Buyers expect seamless, rich commerce experiences with valuable content, in which they can learn more and connect with brands from anywhere. An omnichannel commerce experience is a seamless one no matter the channel; it offers a high-quality experience for customers wherever they are — both offline and online channels. According to findings from the Aberdeen Group, companies with the strongest omnichannel strategies will retain an average of 89 percent of their customers, as compared to 33 percent for companies with weak omnichannel strategies.
In preparing for omnichannel commerce, here are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure success in your strategy.
Tip 1: Break Down Disjointed Experiences
Consumers are moving back and forth from initial discovery to consideration, then directly to purchase — and on it goes. Brands have tremendous opportunity to engage directly with consumers and influence the entire customer lifecycle, from awareness through conversion to the real end-game: brand advocacy. However, this remains to be a challenge if your end customer experience isn’t connected. Legacy technology and traditional strategies have led to the commerce experience split into the brand experience and the shopping experience, making the consumer’s journey confusing and disjointed.
The importance of meeting consumers where they are in the lifecycle and serving up content relevant to their needs as part of the customer journey is critical.
To capitalize on this new opportunity, brands need to set up their teams for success. In most cases this will require a much tighter alignment between the marketing and commerce teams. This may mean coming together on brand and commerce strategy and integrating siloed technologies.
Paving the way to a seamless experience for your customers requires investing in the integrations and technologies that enable it. The first step is to bridge the gap between content and commerce by integrating your web content management system and eCommerce platform to create a unified experience.
To reach the point of omnichannel commerce, you must work toward connecting disparate martech, adtech and analytics, much like you connected your disparate teams. Allow all of your tools to work in unison so you’ll have a holistic profile view of your customer.
Tip 2: Incorporate Storytelling
Today, it’s not only about the sale — it’s about the ongoing consumer experience, building engagement, and converting the consumer into a brand advocate. While digital technology has disrupted the old, safe, and comfortable path for the consumer shopping experience, it’s also provided powerful tools to create a great customer experiences that tell your brand’s story.
Customers want to be delighted and expect to find the most relevant information at the right time on the right channel, related to the topics or products they’re interested in to help inform purchasing decisions.
A great example of a brand that is committed to providing a seamless, engaging experience for its shoppers is Wilson. Through digital, Wilson has been able to incorporate storytelling about its audience’s favorite sports and athletes into product pages, marrying content and commerce for each of its brands.
Tip 3: Personalize Your Customer’s Journey
You can take storytelling one step further by offering content and product that’s personalized based on your customer’s interests - what they’ve previously read or consumed, purchased or added to their cart. Rich content and experiences that tell your brand story and that are personalized and recommended at the right place and time for your customers can better engage them and get them to convert.
Delivering curated content experiences that are personalized across channels to prospective customers will be a significant competitive advantage. To make personalization work at scale across all of your personas, personalization and journey orchestration solutions are often needed. This new tech lets you plan for personalized journeys that are both digital and nondigital, from in-store digital signage to web, email, or even social.
Bring it All Together: Create an Immersive, Omnichannel Experience
A connected experience that’s personalized to the buyer across touchpoints feels cohesive and relevant. And, it can help a browser turn into a buyer if you can remove friction, or get them over the hump that’s preventing them from buying.
Vodafone is a great example of a brand that’s achieved an omnichannel commerce experience for their buyers. This experience goes beyond web through to push-based interactions and smart digital displays in their retail stores to grab customer attention and support product selection.
As we know, today’s consumer is a well traveled digital shopper who researches, conducts price comparisons, checks official reviews and the advice of friends—and does this both online and in-store. Omnichannel commerce will soon become the norm, not the exception.
We hope these tips are useful. To learn how Acquia can help you deliver experiential commerce, please visit acquia.com/commerce.