Whether you want to call it cross-channel, multichannel, or omnichannel, you’re probably past the point of debate about the need to develop and implement a strategy that delivers a consistent brand experience across all channels. And while the task of becoming a true omnichannel retailer is complex and difficult, it still needs to be addressed.
Because the reality is, true omnichannel retailing – not simply multichannel retailing that attempts to pass for actual omnichannel capabilities – is now the foundation for maximizing sales and profitability.
But even though retailers no longer need to be convinced that omnichannel strategies need to be put in place, far too often retailers put their focus on building their business around their various channels as opposed to building their business around the one thing that actually matters the most: the customer.
And maybe that’s because the biggest thing blocking most retailers from achieving a seamless customer experience is that they don’t have a unified view of their customers.
However, that point brings up another foundational challenge when it comes to implementing an omnichannel strategy: deconstructing organizational silos.
While it might not sound this way – the easiest way for retailers to overcome these challenges is to develop a customer analytics-based solution that draws out insights from the deluge of customer data accumulating every second of every day.
Knowing who your customers are is the first essential step when defining your omnichannel strategy, setting business goals, optimizing your marketing activity and shaping retail strategies.
But that begins with deconstructing organizational silos, which are the Achilles’ heel of a seamless customer experience.
A siloed business structure results in duplicative customer databases and prevents the creation of an accurate and unified view of your customers. It’s important to remember that every channel and every touchpoint produces data that can be leveraged to understand customer behavior and improve customer experiences. With the proper analytics solution, retailers can bring together the data from every possible customer touchpoint.
By creating this customer analytics ecosystem, you can enhance your omnichannel roadmap by putting the customer first and discovering the insights needed to realign your business and develop a solid customer experience strategy.
And through the proper integration of transaction data and other household-level customer data sets, you can create customer profiles that will give you an understanding of who your current and potential customers are as consumers.
Customer profiles allow you to see more than just surface differences to understand the differences that actually affect buying behavior – identifying what triggers people to buy, what features matter most to them and the types of marketing communication that will resonate with them. The profile paints a detailed picture of customer behavior that allows retailers to offer a truly omnichannel experience from start to finish.
The fact is, the industry’s future winners will be the retailers that deeply understand customer desires and build a tightly integrated, highly flexible hybrid model rooted in treating different customers differently.
To gain share of attention and promote deeper engagement, brands will need to take segmentation and customer analytics to a whole new level – and that means a transformation of most brands’ business models.
The retailers that will emerge from the retail revolution successfully will be the ones that realize the first step to defining and shaping an omnichannel strategy is to know who their customer is, not just the so called “average” customer.
But to understand who your customers are as consumers, you must break down the silos in your organization. Only then will you be able to eliminate the duplicative customer records that prevent the effective use of customer data.
Without the proper insight, it becomes nearly impossible to meet customer expectations or optimize your various channels, and the consequences of that can be devastating.
It’s no longer an option that can wait “until next year.” Analytics now serve as the foundation upon which the future retail model will rest.