This is a guest post from our friend Levi Olmstead at G2, a Business and Software review company.
Omnichannel shopping has been a driving force in online and in-store shopping experiences. With 71% of in-store shoppers using smartphones to research their in-store purchase and 24% using social media at one touchpoint in the buyer journey, your omnichannel approach to eCommerce needs to be top notch.
Customers must be able to do more than shop at your online store. They need to be able to connect with your company in different ways, get help with products, and spread the word about your company. With so many channels of communication and customer service running simultaneously, it can be difficult to manage them separately.
Omnichannel strategies are changing how you sell to your customers. People are engaging with (and purchasing from) brands across more channels than ever before. If you want to sell more across multiple platforms, here are nine tips to help you develop your strategy.
1. Create a Mobile App
One effective and increasingly common method is to create a mobile app. Mobile apps reach customers in multiple ways. Most apps let you shop online, make purchases, schedule deliveries, and retrieve customer support. A mobile app allows customers to connect with your company no matter what device they are using.
If they want to make a purchase from your company, the process should be as smooth on your mobile app as it is if they were to launch your eCommerce store’s website from their laptop’s Internet browser. They shouldn’t be forced to view some content only on a computer with a limited amount of capabilities in your company’s mobile app.
Since mobile apps facilitate so many ways to interact with customers, it is easier to create a unified and consistent experience for them. The messaging, content, and branding of your app can easily match other assets inside of your website builder. Mobile apps are also flexible in their designs so that they can change with your company over time. Plus, your mobile app makes it possible for everyone to have the same experience regardless of what device they use or their location. This versatility makes it easier to design a comprehensive experience for all of your customers.
2. Offer Cross-Channel Customer Support
Making customer support a priority and available across multiple channels improves the customer experience as well. This means customers get customer service no matter what channel they use. As a result, there is no worry about picking the right channel, and they can work through the one they feel most comfortable with to get support where they need it. Develop a net promoter score (NPS) and focus on increasing that number with high-quality, cross-channel support.
3. Publish the Right Content on the Right Channel
To create the most effective omnichannel strategy, it is important to create relevant content and then publish it to the right channel. If customers tend to buy certain products from a smartphone while other products are popular for customers who shop through Instagram, you want to make sure to prioritize the most effective content on each channel.
Make sure to check your grammar with grammar tools and know the best way to speak to your customers across different channels. For example, you may speak to your customers slightly differently on Instagram than you would on LinkedIn.
4. Enable Shopping on Every Platform
One thing that will make your omnichannel strategy more successful is enabling shopping on every platform, including your eCommerce software, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, and more. With 95% of online adults following brands on social media and 26% saying they use Facebook to discover and purchase new items, you need an active social media and eCommerce strategy.
Add eCommerce into your social media strategy and use a tool to schedule and publish your social media posts in batches.
You can even start a blog and integrate WordPress with an eCommerce platform to build out a content and commerce strategy. Ranking on Google and eCommerce SEO strategies requires a content-heavy approach,
In many cases, most customers want to complete their transactions with as few steps as possible. Making it more difficult to buy something by only selling through specific channels can stop your potential customers from finishing the sale. Integrating a simple buying system on each channel means customers can finish transactions without delays and have a better overall experience.
5. Sync Your Marketing Systems
Reaching people across multiple channels can be easier with integrated marketing software. These programs take your products and services and send them across multiple channels. For example, you can sync your CRM or eCommerce platforms to multiple social media channels to push your product catalogs to them seamlessly.
You can also use marketing software to repurpose your content in ways that drive more engagement. If your brand just started hosting a new podcast, you can use that content on your product pages, social media channels, video assets, and your entire marketing plan.
6. Mobile Responsive Websites
A mobile responsive website is a good alternative to a mobile app, as it will adapt the user experience to the device they are on. Online stores often focus heavily on their desktop experience and see higher conversion rates there, but smartphones now influence more than 28% of retail sales.
Make sure to keep mobile-first design in mind when building your eCommerce site. If a user visits your online store from Instagram, your content, brand message, and user experience should remain consistent.
7. Personalize Customer Experience
Customer service is best when it is tailored to each of your customers. The My Disney Experience app really demonstrates how to do this effectively. A customer can access and modify their account from their smartphone, tablet, or computer, or via a phone call with customer service at any time, and it will be reflected in their real-time experiences.
If a customer changes their last name on their account, for instance, the customer service associate they call on the phone will use their new last name instead of their old one.
8. 24/7 Support
When customers have a problem, they want to get help from the company. Making help available at all times makes it possible for everyone to get the same level of customer service regardless of where they are or what time it is. Customers that generally use your products at night or only have free time at night to address issues will get the same experience as customers that are available during the day.
9. Figure Out Where Your Customers Are
Another good idea is to locate your customers. If you know where they are, then you can set up resources specifically to help them. If your customers don’t spend time on Twitter, it doesn’t make sense to maintain an active presence on Twitter. Rather, opt to maintain your company’s presence where your customers actually spend time and on the devices they use instead of trying to be on every channel.
Developing an omnichannel strategy does not need to be complicated, expensive, or time-consuming. Many of the tips on this list can be quickly implemented into your company’s operations, while others require more intensive planning.
Whatever it takes, developing an omnichannel strategy for your online company is worth it. Research shows that companies that utilize omnichannel strategies can retain their customers longer. Since much of a company’s marketing budget goes toward customer acquisition, this can lower marketing costs and increase profitability.
About the Author
Levi Olmstead is the Manager, Community and SEO at G2. In his spare time he enjoys spending time on Lake Michigan with his dog Frodo, finding Chicago’s best dance spots, and getting into YouTube rabbits holes. You can follow him on Twitter @levi_olmstead and find him at https://leviolmstead.com.