By now, you’re probably familiar with omnichannel marketing. It’s been around for nearly a decade and has proven to be quite effective.
But moving from single or multi-channel marketing to omnichannel marketing can be challenging.
It’s not quite as simple as adding an app or widget to your sales funnel. And social media advertising alone won’t quite go the distance.
To successfully transition to an omnichannel model, you need to go one step further than adding a method of purchase or information channel.
Your omnichannel marketing needs to solve a problem that customers encounter during their buying journey.
The thing that makes this tricky is that the obstacles to buying are different for every business.
So, you’ll need to learn how your customers buy from you, then create a solution to one of the roadblocks they run into.
To give you an idea of what sort of buying problems omnichannel marketing can solve, here are omnichannel examples from businesses that have nailed the omnichannel approach.
Problem solved: long lines at the register
Every coffee shop has wait time woes. Especially during rush hour.
Starbucks created an app that enables customers to order and pay on their phone. Then they just stop by the shop and pick up their coffee.
Customers don’t even need their wallet, since the app accepts Google and Apple Pay. And they can complete the entire process on an Apple Watch, if they don’t even want to be bothered to use their phone.
Super easy, right?
Starbucks is a solid example of how to perfectly use an app.
A word of warning about apps: when you implement an app, getting people to download the app is a sales process in itself. So you need to be sure that the app is truly going to make the buying process easier.
A very common mistake is requiring new customers to download the app to make purchases.
Nobody likes creating an account and having to add another password to their already absurdly long list of passwords.
If a potential customer goes to your website and adds items to the cart, but is required to download an app and create an account to complete their purchase, you will most likely lose that sale. And all the other sales that run into this roadblock.
Making your app an optional download is a good litmus test for whether or not it helps your customers make purchases. If your app really makes buying easier, people will download it and use it without much persuasion.
Problem solved: logistics
One of the biggest hurdles to visiting Disneyland is getting there and getting around once you’re there.
Disney’s online trip planner, My Disney Experience, goes one step further than trip planning.
Customers can map out their entire trip on the My Disney Experience website. Once they get to the park, they can see the wait time for each attraction they planned to visit on their phone.
Then the Disney Magic Band works as a hotel room key, photo storage, food ordering tool and as a Fast Pass. This way customers can do everything they want using just two devices.
But this is a lot of technology, right? Not every business has the same budget to spend on building proprietary hardware.
The big takeaway here is that going places and moving products around are challenges for customers. The easier you make this, the more people will buy.
Solving the problem of logistics is especially vital if you sell large items, like furniture, or provide a product or service that people must receive in person. But making the logistics of purchasing easier will go a long way for any business.
Problem solved: purchasing flexibility and inventory availability
For businesses that sell both online and through brick and mortar stores, purchasing flexibility and inventory accuracy are kind of a big deal.
This is what happens: the products that are available online are not the same as the products on the shelf at the nearest store.
This causes issues for customers who find an item out of stock or who want to browse online and purchase in-store.
Oasis solves this problem by giving their in-store employees instant access to online inventory and shopping carts via iPads.
The store associates can find product information, customer shopping carts, and place orders in real-time.
Also, this street runs two ways. If an item is out of stock online, the system will locate the item at an Oasis store. The store will ship the product directly once it’s ordered.
To address the issue of purchase flexibility, customers can make purchases on the website, through the Oasis app or directly from an in-store employee who can complete the checkout process on their iPad. So the customer never has to wait in line.
This system definitely solves the problems of product availability and wait times for the customer.
But the big problem that Oasis solved was actually an internal one: communication.
It’s impossible to provide a truly omnichannel experience if there’s a disconnect between the different parts of your company.
If the people on the ground at your brick and mortar stores don’t have access to the online portion of your sales funnel, your omnichannel experience suffers greatly.
Freely sharing information is almost mandatory for delivering an omnichannel customer experience. So start breaking down those silos!
There are other companies knocking it out of the park with their omnichannel efforts. But the reason their approaches work is the same: they solve a buying problem for their customers.
So start by sniffing out the hiccups in your purchase process, and build an omnichannel experience that eliminates them.
Then hit us up on social media, and let us know how delivering an omnichannel experience is improving your business!