Can you see your customer? I mean, really see her?
In today’s fast-changing marketplace, retailers need a single view of customers. That view should include purchasing history, personal demographics, shopping preferences, contact information, loyalty-card details and more.
Achieving this 360-degree view empowers retailers to, among other things, make real-time offers of new products and services in ways that correlate with customer preference and context.
But that’s only half of the equation. The other half is the benefit consumers derive. Omnichannel creates a world where consumers experience the brand as if every channel — physical stores, websites, mobile apps and more — were one, and the shopping experience is greatly improved.
Digital platforms allow retailers to achieve this cross-channel integration. And consumers enjoy the seamless, consistent and relevant experience enabled across all touchpoints. That’s the world — and promise — of omnichannel engagement.
But, for many retailers, it’s still just a promise.
To be sure, these retailers have wisely invested in digital branding and marketing efforts. But many still need to take a new and different approach to audience targeting, one that includes information about the consumer endpoint and preferred delivery channel.
As it stands today, retailers must make extra efforts to reach their consumers. Even then, consumers too often experience the brand as a series of isolated channels. The brick-and-mortar experience is separate from the website, and the mobile experience is another step removed.
So how can retailers move forward with omnichannel engagement? We’ve identified 5 key issues businesses need to address:
- Convenience: Consumers expect, even demand, the ability to view in-store inventory from their personal computing and mobile devices. They also expect to be able to mix and match the physical and online world.
- Consistency: Can you offer the same products and services, and the same promotions, across all your touchpoints? That’s consistency today.
- Relevance: Consumers expect their interactions with you to be real-time, personalized, and tailored to their buying history, preferences and behaviors. Consumers are willing to share their personal information with you, but only if it means you’ll create customized experiences for them.
- Empowerment: Consumers want your help in making the best possible purchasing decisions. Get this right, and you’ll win their loyalty.
- Agility: Use social media, analytics and other tools to respond to market changes, shifts in buyer behavior and more. Scalable cloud-based systems are important, too. These help you quickly add or shift capacity as new opportunities appear.
We’ll be talking more about omnichannel engagement and other topics relevant to the digital transformation in retail in the days ahead, in concert with the National Retail Federation’s big show. Connect with me on Twitter (@mdtricky) and read our new position paper Digital Retail & Consumer: Brand Affinity Through Customer Centricity for more insights
Mike Deittrick is the industry CTO for the Consumer, Retail and Transportation business at CSC. A thought leader in enterprise architecture and business enablement strategies, he is responsible for enterprise solution development and enterprise strategy for the Consumer, Retail and Transportation team. Connect with him on Twitter, @mdtricky.