If there is one golden rule of omnichannel experiences all retailers need to remember, it’s this: Customers want what they want, when they want it, from wherever they are.
This may sound straightforward enough, but if you break that rule down into its three core pillars, it’s easy to see why many retailers have struggled to operate in a truly omnichannel manner.
Even before we delve deeper into those issues, though, perhaps the first challenge is simply understanding what we mean by an omnichannel customer experience. Let’s start by giving it a proper definition.
What is omnichannel customer experience?
Customers were once limited to a single channel – a physical store – to buy the products they wanted. As more digital options emerged, many retailers began taking what was called a multi-channel approach, where they offered several ways to browse and purchase items. In many cases, however, physical stores and digital channels operated in silos.
An omnichannel customer experience works far more cohesively, recognizing that customers may use some channels to research their purchase and another to actually make an eCommerce transaction. Exploring this kind of journey using the what/when/where framework may help show what this should look like.
The ‘what’ every omnichannel experience needs
Let’s start with the what: Consumers shopping for luxury goods want to easily find their way to their favorite brands. They likely have a specific size and color in mind. They don’t want to waste time sorting through the wrong items, whether they’re online or in a store.
The ‘when’ that meets customer expectations
Next comes the when: You build customer satisfaction as a brand by only showing what’s currently in stock, with the prices that reflect current promotions or discounts. Tracking e-commerce orders and ensuring items will be ready to pick up in-store on time is essential.
The ‘where’ that defines an omnichannel shopping experience
Then there is the where factor: While shopping in person is slowly coming back, customers are proving highly adept at finding inspiration across a variety of digital touchpoints. They might spot the skirt on an Instagram influencer and want to add it to their own wardrobe. They might see a search ad and think, “Yes!”
The most successful retailers develop an omnichannel customer experience that leaves no stone unturned – and in this case, the stones are all the places a customer might be ready to engage with a brand.
Enhanced product data feeds can help address all of these areas. According to Gartner Inc., time is of the essence: the market research firm has predicted that 50% of brands will fail to unify customer engagement channels in 2022.
Get ahead of the pack by addressing the following common omnichannel eCommerce challenges and making the most of your technology investments:
Reimagine what a ‘shopping trip’ looks like
Before eCommerce options became widely available, consumers might have visited their favorite stores on the weekends, during their lunch hour, or whenever they had a few minutes to spare in their schedules.
This notion of a “shopping trip” has been completely transformed thanks to digital channels. Research from Radial shows that 54% of consumers are shopping more online than in 2020, with one-third saying they are looking for items multiple times a week.
That means they might click on an ad one day, come back to the brand’s site via social media a few days later but only hit the “order” button when they’re on a marketplace the following evening.
Synching your products via enhanced product feeds streamlines the process of creating omnichannel experiences by being visible across multiple shopping destinations at once.
As you do so, develop marketing campaigns that recognize shoppers’ changing online behaviors, using personalized offers or expert recommendations for complementary products to nurture them to make a purchase.
Provide details and support across the full customer journey
Product feed management technology provides retailers a single view into their orders, which makes traditional inventory management challenges less of a hassle. Your customers deserve the same ease and convenience in how they do business with you.
According to research from insights firm Incisv, for instance, only 16% of retailers allow shoppers to modify their eCommerce orders before they’re completed, even though 60% offer the option to cancel the order.
The same report notes a dearth of digital support mechanisms to assist with returns.
Beyond ensuring product listings are accurate and accessible, assess your policies and tools to ensure delight from the moment a customer clicks “buy” onwards.
Build buyer confidence by providing comprehensive product data
A picture may tell 1,000 words, but sometimes shoppers aren’t getting nearly enough information about what they see online to go through with a purchase.
A brand may have an optimized title and description for every item listed on its website, for instance, but fails to tell as rich a story on popular marketplaces. This leaves customers having to fill in the blanks on their own, and they’re more likely to simply look for a retailer with more detailed listings.
In-store associates often become very good at knowing the most common questions customers will have when they’re browsing the aisles. Your omnichannel experience needs to be just as thought-through.
Product feed management technology will simplify the process of optimizing product listings based on the needs of different marketplaces, but you can also improve your odds of conversion by including all the features and details that differentiate your products from competitors.
Create a consistent look and feel the entire world can recognize
Even if you’ve developed a loyal customer base in your local market, ignoring the growth opportunities in other geographies means you’re leaving money on the table.
Just look at a forecast from eMarketer that showed how rising players in terms of global eCommerce sales are emerging in areas such as Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Retailers might have delayed plans to expand due to concerns over how to ensure a quality experience, but that’s not necessary.
Product data feed management can not only allow retailers to show up in new markets but to tap into the power of local inventory ads.
Create a more fulfilling employee experience that puts customers first
Brands have gone through unprecedented disruption over the past few years, and the impact is being felt on the frontlines. Retail Touchpoints reported on data that overall internal employee satisfaction with employers has dropped by a staggering 44 points over the last year and a half.
You’ll be taking away a lot of manual and time-consuming chores by moving to product data feed management. At the same time, conduct an internal survey to reevaluate employee expectations and how you can position them for greater success through additional training, mentoring programs, or remote work policies.
Partner for a seamless omnichannel experiences
Tackling all of these challenges at once might seem like a tall order for retailers, but you don’t have to develop an omnichannel customer experience alone.
Highstreet experts can not only help your team adopt enhanced product data feeds but offer insights and best practices based on working with some of the biggest luxury and fashion brands in the world. To get started, book a free consultation with Highstreet.io.