The phrase “going online” has become superfluous. While there was once a clear divide between our physical and digital lives, that gap no longer exists. Today, we live as much in the digital realm as we do the physical, often sharing the two spaces simultaneously.
Our day-to-day needs and expectations exist in a multichannel environment. When meeting friends for lunch, for example, we may use Yelp to find the right place, forward a link in a text chain, and send a calendar invite to lock in a time. We may also use a QR code to view the menu once seated, post photos of the meal on Instagram, write a review, and so on. From discovery to experience to follow-up, everything we do today relies on the connective tissue of digital tools and channels. We combine these tools to curate our own experiences, so why wouldn’t we expect brands to do the same when curating the customer experience?
Brands of all sizes understand the need to exist across multiple channels. They know that they must connect with customers on social media, over email, on their website, on chat, and more. But many are missing the opportunity to merge these digital touchpoints into a highly curated, omnichannel customer experience–an experience that nearly 80 percent of customers want to have.
What exactly is omnichannel anyway?
Unlike a multichannel approach, which leverages myriad digital tools to communicate with audiences directly, an omnichannel approach unites these disparate tools to deliver one, singular experience unique to each customer. In other words, if a customer interacts with a brand on one channel, that interaction carries through to any other channel the customer may use rather than getting lost between touchpoints. For example, a customer may reach out first on Facebook before continuing the conversation on a customer support line without missing a beat.
While an omnichannel approach was just a pipe dream years ago, modern technologies have made it easy to achieve for brands willing to invest. These advances have led to a drastic increase in companies hoping to flex their omnichannel muscles with just 20 percent of companies investing in this strategy in 2010, versus 80 percent at the height of the pandemic in 2020.
Is omnichannel worth the investment?
Companies delivering strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies realize significant growth. One recent Adobe study found that these companies average a 10 percent year-over-year increase in revenue, a 10 percent increase in average order value, and a 25 percent increase in close rates when they prioritize an omnichannel strategy. In addition, omnichannel customers deliver a 30 percent higher lifetime value when compared with those stuck using a single channel.
A good omnichannel strategy doesn’t just focus on connecting with customers seamlessly throughout the initial customer journey. Implemented correctly, a strong omnichannel approach retains previous conversations, customer habits, and preferences to provide a more personal approach to service going forward. But only 77 percent of top performers in omnichannel service do this, suggesting that this strategy offers vast growth opportunities for organizations who haven’t yet implemented it.
Invest in omnichannel, even in a recession
As fears of a recession loom, the thought of investing in new technologies and strategies might make you apprehensive. But during recessions especially, customer-centric companies outperform those who don’t invest in the customer experience. In a world where we use technology to deliver a seamless experience between the digital and physical realms, we expect brands to do the same. Your customers have already leaped to an omnichannel personal life, it’s time to deliver the same experience along their path to purchase.