The smart brands that are embracing an omnichannel future

The smart brands that are embracing an omnichannel future

Mar 12, 2020
Director, Content and Channel Marketing
The smart brands that are embracing an omnichannel future

Customer buying behavior and expectations are changing. These days, 55% of shoppers search for a product on Google and then go to YouTube before buying. So, let’s look at some brands investing in great omnichannel strategies and reaping the rewards.

Did you know, your average customer will encounter at least four to six touchpoints during their customer journey? And that’s great news for you, as omnichannel shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than their one-channel counterparts.

Unless, of course, you’re not ready for that.

Taking an omnichannel approach to business should be as obvious as taking a toothpaste approach to cleaning your teeth. Yet many don’t do it.

It’s reported that businesses with strong omnichannel strategies can achieve 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue (compared to 3.4% for weaker strategies), 7.5% year-over-year decrease in cost per contact (compared to 0.2%), and 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates.

Omnichannel strategies are the only ones relevant to customers nowadays because if they are executed correctly with the right digital experience platform, they deliver seamless, personalized, and innovative experiences to customers across all channels and devices. And they expect no less.

Here are three brands that seem to be making the most of omnichannel:

1.Burberry – Social first

Luxury fashion brand, Burberry is a pioneer in all things omnichannel. And that’s a good thing, with nearly one-fifth of personal luxury sales expected to take place online by 2025.

As the average luxury shopper engages with as many as 15 touchpoints and social media is crucial in the inspiration phase for luxury goods, and considering the brand’s key market is Generation Z and millennials, it’s smart that Burberry is taking a social-first strategy.

As 65% of their target audience check Instagram daily, they partnered with the photo and video-sharing social network to launch Instagram Checkout, which allows users to purchase products with one click, without having to leave the app.

They were the first brand to make their entire catalog shoppable on WeChat. They drew more than 200m views on the channel during a localized Qixi Jie campaign (equivalent to Chinese Valentine’s Day), earning them double-digit quarter-on-quarter growth in WeChat engagement.

They also created their first social-native product line "B Series", comprising products only available via social channels and only purchasable during a 24-hour period one day a month. A great way to create hype among their target group.

Now, in partnership with Chinese tech business Tencent, Burberry is pioneering the social retail store designed to blend social media and retail in both the digital and physical space. Technology innovations will connect luxury customers’ social and online lives with their physical environment and encourage shoppers to interact, share, and shop.

Davis Lin, Vice President of Tencent, says: “The future of retail lies in digitalization. Through more efficient online-to-offline connections, more personalized engagement and shopping experiences, along with exceptional, differentiated content and value-added services, we will enhance the customer experience and deepen brand loyalty.”

Couldn’t have put it better myself!

2.Neiman Marcus – Dressed for 360° success

American luxury department brand, Neiman Marcus, is always searching for new and innovative ways to delight its customers with outstanding omnichannel experiences throughout their 42 stores and online.

The brand puts a heavy focus on the personalization of the customer experience. They collect customer search and behavior data to identify specific interests (items, brands, sizes) and then use it to present similar products matching the criteria in nearby brick-and-mortar stores where the customer’s size is available. They also send tailored promotions of local events and new arrivals from relevant brands at nearby stores.

Their app seamlessly blends the customer experience online and offline, helping customers find products quickly no matter where they are. Sales-rep-distributed tablets encourage customers to browse through the mobile store while in the physical one, echoing the customer-driven trend of researching online while shopping instore. And customers can also contact the sales rep via text, email, call, or FaceTime via the app for assistance.

The brand’s innovative image recognition tool, Snap.Find.Shop, allows shoppers to take photos of clothing and accessories they see at the store, and will then find the exact or similar products on the mobile store.

And the brand has bought the digital realm into the physical store with its “Memory Mirrors”. These act as large video screens with cameras. Logged-in customers can compare items by reviewing outfits previously tried on in the form of 8-second 360° videos, which can then be emailed or shared on social media, or saved for later consideration and online purchase.

It’s no wonder that Neiman Marcus won the IRT Retailer Innovation Award in Customer Engagement for its omnichannel efforts.

3.Starbucks – Omnichannel on caffeine

Two years ago, Starbucks was not as hot on its digital relationship with a staggering 60 million customers across its 28,000 stores. So, they set about amending that.

We’ve seen them gate their previously free WiFi , enforcing digital introduction to customers by requiring email sign-up. This added 10 million registered customers to their database, enabling them to drive loyalty and nurture them towards their Starbucks Rewards Program.

The Starbucks app offers a store locator (with directions), mobile ordering and payment, account management, gift card options, survey-for-rewards options, and a tool for leaving a tip for your barista! You can even find out what songs are playing at your local store.

Membership of the Starbucks Rewards program is incentivized with a free drink and then continues to deliver value through customized offers (based on purchase history, local store inventory, popular favorites, weather, and time of day).

Limited-time barcode offers on specific (usually premium) product categories encouraged customers into shops during off-peak hours. They can manage your account anywhere at any time via phone, website, app, or instore, and any changes are updated across all channels in real-time.

Is it any wonder the loyalty program has 17.2 million active members who account for 42%  of all U.S. tender?

The brand is even augmenting its drive-thru experience with smart recommendations based on store transaction histories (and more than 400 other criteria) displayed on digital menu displays from which customers can order.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are also helping the brand design stores, optimize inventory, and build barista schedules. And while they’re delivering an exceptional omnichannel experience to their customers, they’re busy gathering data that will help them further improve it, keeping them ahead of the competition while building lifetime loyalty in their customers.

Need more reasons to go omnichannel? Here’s one: Starbucks results for Q1 of 2020 beat analyst expectations with revenue of $7.1 billion.

Your customer is omnichannel

Omnichannel is where your customer is. They switch devices and channels all day long, and if you don’t want to miss out, you had best be there with them. With a whopping 90% of customers expecting consistent interactions, and with 87% of them wanting brands to put more effort into a seamless experience, you can’t afford not to.

While 87% of shoppers begin product searches on digital channels, 63% of them will research products and inventory while at your physical store. 71% consider it an important part of the experience, because 46% of shoppers still prefer to buy in a physical location.

Nearly half of your customers expect in-store salespeople to be knowledgeable about online-only products and expect to be able to pick up a purchase made online in-store. And 39% of your customers won’t bother coming to your store if you don’t provide in-store inventory data on your website.

The evidence is clear; your future is omnichannel. If you need help getting there, check out our whitepaper and take a deep dive into the omnichannel world. You'll get best practice advice on how to leverage omnichannel capabilities to create meaningful interactions with your customers.

More by this author