Marketing is now moving from multichannel to omni-channel, and this is not about a new terminology! It outlines the urge to become digitally transformed. The term multichannel was adopted by marketers when internet transformed day-to-day business, e-commerce supplemented in-store experience, social media became an extra communication channel and online advertising supported brand awareness. Multichannel meant that customers had the ability to contact a company through different channels, even use different channels to buy the same product.
Starting communications via one channel and ending them in another, without having to start over, is what omni-channel is all about! Companies in several industries (such as retail and consumer goods) need to be present in all available channels and offer services in a seamless, easy to use, simple and innovative way for the customer. For example, a successful omnichannel approach would enable a customer to buy a product through his smartphone while visiting a physical store, after scanning the product barcode in order to compare prices.
Avoid data and operation silos when planning your customer engaging strategy. The different departments of a company collect and store information about customers which is really valuable. The more available operations and customer end-points, the more information is collected. The challenge is to enable interaction between different departments and avoid silos of data, in order to make more informed decisions.
Digitalization has a disrupting role in business across channels and it will radically change how companies function; from operations to marketing and sales. Smart devices are a good example of what this change is about. Customers’ expectations of an enriched experience have increased due to all new sales channels available, more personalized communications and the great variety of products, and this has driven companies to a more customer orientated approach.
When talking about digital transformation we are not only referring to digital sales and communication channels, which is just one (essential) part of the whole picture. Physical communication and engagement shouldn’t be neglected or ignored. Integrating it with its digital counterparts can help you overachieve and, at the same time, your customers will benefit when starting their journey online and finishing it offline (or vice – versa).