Five challenges for the omnichannel strategy

By “omnichannel strategy,” we refer to any strategy that can be applied simultaneously across all channels. If the multi-channel strategy consists of doing things through different channels, the omnichannel strategy means doing the same across all channels…although “the same” contains some nuance that we’ll take a look at below.

“The omnichannel strategy is crucial for creating a unique experience focused on providing value to the customer.”

Does that ring a bell?

I think that any combination of the words in bold looks to be true.

Therefore, if you ask any retailer about the omnichannel strategy they will likely say:

“Yes, of course, we are already using the omni-channel strategy!”

In addition, they will probably provide you with some examples of integration tactics that they have implemented. However, it is unlikely that they will explain a global omnichannel strategy or give you any concrete information.

Why?

#CHANNEL 1: What channels do my customers visit?

It is important to be certain about what these “channels” are, which link our brand with our clients. It’s not necessary to have all of them, but rather those that adapt to our product and customer: more channels do not mean more omnichannel.

Here it is a good idea to distinguish between two types of channels:

  • Transactional, that is to say those that allow a purchase: of course, the physical and online stores, but also sales via app, interactive television (streaming, shopping channels…), social networks (Instagram, WhatsApp…), or through the phone.
  • Communicative, that is to say those that do not allow for purchase but project the image of our brand: emails (informative, newsletters…), once again social networks (those previously mentioned plus YouTube, Twitter…), traditional advertising systems (radio, television, outdoor, press…), public relations, collaborations (affiliates, clubs, customer loyalty groups…), referrals (blogs, news…) and even the declarations or public profiles of our management and employees.

Hence, the #First Challenge of the omnichannel strategy will be to identify my clients in each one of their interactions with my brand. There are systems that identify telephones, IPs, behavioural algorithms, geopositioning, etc., but it is exceedingly difficult to trace all the contacts of a single client.

#CHALLENGE 2: How much does each channel participate in a purchase?

Each one of the interactions that a client has with our brand has some influence on their purchases. Even if we could know all of their interactions, it would be overly complicated to determine how much “weight” each contact has.

All digital marketing managers face this problem on a daily basis (the “attribution”), calculating the impact (the ROI) of each one of their marketing campaigns. In other words, knowing how much each euro invested in a certain channel contributes to a sale.

The #Second Challenge of the omnichannel strategy is thus to assign a certain % of each sale to a certain channel.

#CHALLENGE 3: The Omnichannel Organization

Let’s imagine that we have overcome challenge one (assigning each interaction to each client) and two (assigning each sale to each channel). Now, we would have to define objectives and assign a marketing budget per channel.

If we wanted to measure the people in charge of each channel by their sales results, it would probably create some resistance: not all strategies will go as well as others.

We would be facing a new challenge: omnichannel objectives cannot be downscaled to the channel level. For that reason, applying an omnichannel strategy demands that you look beyond the interests of each individual channel.

The #Third Challenge of the omnichannel strategy is then to define an organization that integrates channels and keeps each one from “fighting the war on its own.”

#CHALLENGE 4: Should we do the same thing through every channel?

Launching the same actions through every channel is practically impossible, and also doesn’t make any sense. The important thing is to project the same message and transmit the same experience across all channels: if everything that we do emanates from the brand strategy and not the individual objectives of each channel, it is possible.

It is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach: having an omnichannel strategy does not mean passing over customer segmentation or the particularities of each channel. We can and should adapt our messages for each audience, but they should be coherent messages, with a unified image and adapted to the characteristics of the audience and not the channel we are using.

The #Fourth challenge of the omnichannel strategy is to be capable of adapting actions and messages without losing brand coherence. It deals with maximizing the potential of segmentation and the capacity of each channel without compromising the unified experience.

#CHALLENGE 5: Measure

The optimal metric for the omnichannel would be a sort of “coherence index,” one that would message how consistent your messages are across channels. Just as in the case of the NPS (Net-Promoter-Score) that measures satisfaction, this can only be evaluated by asking customers.

There is currently no generalized index for measuring the omnichannel, and for that reason businesses focus on parameters or KPIs that measure the impact of concrete strategies:

  • Use of the channels: average number of channels visited by a single client.
  • Click&Collect: % of purchases or online reservations delivered at the store.
  • Returns: % of online returns that are delivered at the stores.
  • “Ipad” sales: % of store sales carried out through the online shop.
  • Affiliation: number of customers signed up for the Newsletter.
  • Loyalty: % of customers made loyal through each channel.
  • Digital receipts: % of receipts sent by mail to the customer.
  • Clusterization: number of segmented customers (with enough information).

Then, the #Fifth Challenge of the omnichannel strategy is to be able to measure each one of the actions we carry out in terms of “how omnichannel is it?” As mentioned, this is something perceived by the customer and cannot be measured through traditional KPIs.

In conclusion, the omnichannel strategy is everywhere and seems to be a customer demand. Nevertheless, it can be difficult to transmit a similar experience across all channels, and above all to measure this experience and its impact on sales, something that nobody or almost nobody is doing rigorously.

Having said this, I do not want to deny the importance of the omnichannel, but I would like to clear up some of its mystical aura and look at it on the level of concrete actions. These actions need to be coherent in regard to the brand strategy or image, bring us closer to our customers, and facilitate interaction with our products.

How can this be done? With tools made for and by retailers, for improving the flow of feedback when it comes to the brand perception, product, and brand universe of each one of our customers with wemuse. This tool allows you to make accurate strategic decisions and provides you with speed in data analysis for making the correct decisions.

If you would like a demo for your business, learn more, or be up to date on our latest news, contact us or subscribe to the blog newsletter.

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