An omni-channel is a multi-channel strategy that creates a seamless customer experience with consistent branding across every platform. It connects all the channels of your business—from mobile shopping to a bricks and mortar shop. It links every facet of your business whether it’s online or offline.
An omni-channel experience retains your customer’s information once they input it, making their experience more streamlined. In a world that’s so plugged in, you want to stand out and provide excellent customer experiences, and omni-channels can do just that.
In fact, according to Research Live, 90% of retail leaders agree that “a seamless omnichannel strategy is critical to business success.”
The digital landscape has brought with it a need for speed, reliability, and instant gratification. If a customer wants something, they want it immediately and in the easiest way possible. If they have to switch to multiple platforms, log in all over again, and have to re-explain their situation to customer service, they’re more likely to switch to a competitor than wait for your brand to cater to them.
Omni-channels optimise every platform to their fullest potential.
What is an omni-channel experience?
An omni-channel experience for a customer can be as simple as seeing a product on your brand’s website and being able to pick it up at the physical store because of how interconnected the platforms are. It makes things more convenient for a customer.
A multi-channel experience, on the other hand, is not as seamless. Sometimes you have to log in from mobile to desktop and once you’ve found the product or service you want, it’s possible that it’s not available. It can be frustrating because not everything is tied together like an omni-channel is.
Omni is all-encompassing, it means every part. But multi only crosses several platforms and they’re not all linked together. Omni-channels are even proven to have customers purchase more and stay loyal to a brand because of its convenience and ability to engage with them more.
Omni-channels are considered adaptive content because it adjusts itself to the lives of consumers. Businesses are more aware of how consumers act and how they shop online. So being able to respond to the changing needs of potential customers definitely shows that the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work.
As a brand, you need to effectively link every channel and platform you have and make sure that your customer has a hassle-free experience. But it’s much easier said than done.
By following these tips, you can achieve the best omni-channel experience for your customers:
- Know your target audience intimately – By understanding who you’re selling to, you know how to adjust your marketing, branding, and how to make things more convenient for them.
- Upgrading your tech – Having a seamless experience with your platforms demands a certain budget, so being able to invest in your technology will help.
- Optimise your content – Having a good content strategy in place can drive people to your channels, make your brand more cohesive, and draw in more consumers.
7 brands that used omni-channel experiences in their content marketing
Providing an omni-channel experience can be challenging but these seven brands have got it down pat.
Part of what makes Disney so magical for people of all ages is their effective customer experience. Unsurprisingly, Disney has some of the best omni-channel experiences that make things convenient for their park-goers and fans alike.
Disney offers a mobile-responsive site that allows people to book tickets, check out maps, reserve fast passes, order food, and even more features.
Their “My Disney Experience” tool helps users throughout the entire journey—from planning the trip to actually visiting the parks. Whether it’s online or mobile, they can craft how they want to go about their trip. By helping you with your itinerary even prior to the trip and allowing you to see what attractions to go to, Disney has mastered the omni-channel experience.
The Magic Band also allows you to open doors, get instructions to different attractions, and even lets you buy food or merchandise. It acts almost like a radio frequency identification wristband that lets you enjoy the park hassle-free (you can even personalise it).
Every channel is seamlessly integrated and ensures that you have a terrific, frustration-free time.
2. Virgin Atlantic
When addressing customer concerns, one example of exceptional service is Virgin Atlantic.
One Twitter user named Robert Fransgaard was particularly irritated with Virgin Atlantic when an engineer he was expecting was a no-show. The company immediately responded with sincere concern about the situation, asking how they could better it and then resolving it.
People are constantly stuck hanging on the line and being asked not to hang up the phone only to be met with the statement that their customer service agents are all busy. But Virgin Atlantic allows customers to call their agents directly.
Reuben Arnold, Senior Vice President of Virgin Atlantic, said that he found that having a tangible impact on a customer can really make a difference, especially with how they perceive you.
Starbucks is known for its coffee and its relaxing ambience but its omni-channel experience is just as idyllic, convenient (like a coffee to go), and free of frustration.
The Starbucks rewards app is always updated, lets you know what’s on the menu (which keeps you from disappointment when you can’t get that pumpkin spice latte you’ve been looking forward to all day because the site told you it was available when it’s not), and even offers suggestions based on where you are.
The app rewards you for your purchases, keeping customers loyal and even appealing to potential new ones.
Starbucks is also working on personalising the experience, through their drive-through locations. Soon enough, you’ll be able to choose your coffee from within a more customised menu that has your favourites.
The NikePlus app maximises the customer experience through their omni-channel strategy. By inputting a profile and preferences, they integrate real-world experience with their digital technology to provide the best customer experience. They allow customers who use the app to see the latest releases, buy products in-store or online, and even experience hassle-free delivery.
By partnering with Apple, NikePlus can also personalise recommendations for you based on your activities. If you’re a football player, it can adjust to more football-related products. A runner might get more recommendations for running shoes, etc. By becoming a member and being loyal, you also experience perks in-store.
Their real world stores are also just as impressive and are winning the proverbial race when it comes to omni-channel experience. Their SOHO location has a mini basketball court, a soccer area, and running simulations, too. Nike’s upping their game when it comes to different platforms.
When it comes to omni-channel strategies, award-winning brand Orvis is a contender for having the best omni-channel experiences.
By understanding their target market, they know how to appeal to them and how to take care of them. It’s one thing to know who you’re marketing to, it’s another thing to know how to make sure they have the best experience possible when it comes to communicating with you.
Paul Vaughn, director of Orvis’ user experience, saw that the team was quickly crumbling because they weren’t collaborating. There was no unified goal or communication. By focusing on the customer experience, however, and unifying the teams, Vaughn was able to breathe life into the company once again.
Even though the brand doesn’t target millennials who are glued to their phones, they made a way to market successfully to their older demographic who still love fishing and outdoor goods and are adapting to the digital age. They’re communicative and listen to their consumers and what they want, making everything convenient for them. They also personalise customers’ preferences and predict what they’d like next.
IKEA is well-known for its vibrant showrooms and its furniture. It almost feels impossible to lay out a room as nice as IKEA does, but with their mind-blowing technology, they are able to let people access a virtual world where they could create their own rooms, too.
The IKEA home planner lets you create your dream living rooms, kitchens, or bedrooms and allows you to design what you want it to look like.
It even allows you to order those pieces that very day using the IKEA family card that offers additional benefits and perks. You can access these features through any platform—desktop, smartphone, or tablet, making the experience accessible and convenient.
Sephora has always been on top of the digital game, offering users the option to try on lip or foundation colors through their phone or tablet cameras to see if the shades match through augmented reality. It also provides you with personal recommendations based on your previous purchases or what you’ve viewed.
Even their bricks and mortar stores have the same fantastic experience, with their friendly, trained guides showing you exactly what you’re looking for and suggesting similar products that you might like based on your preferences. They’ve expanded to having iPad stations with makeup tutorials and tips.
Stepping into a Sephora or simply jumping on the app already promises a seamless experience.
Why an omni-channel experience works
Omni-channel experiences are effective because people are more dependent on the digital landscape and the mobile experience. Everything is quicker and more efficient, and people expect the products and services they want to purchase to adjust to that on-the-go lifestyle, especially when engaging online. The faster a brand grows and responds, the more they succeed.
The seven brands we mentioned have all adapted to what their customers want and the kinds of lives they’re living. They analysed their target markets, saw that they were quickly transitioning to the online sphere, and followed them there to make their experiences better. They even adjusted their physical spaces by integrating technology on every platform to make things more convenient and personalised.
Humanising your brand and making efforts to make a customer feel cared for is one of the most important things you can do as a business.
It’s simple: Humans trust other humans. And when you’re showing concern and taking the time to cater to your target market, you become more trustworthy and they’ll become more loyal to you. By telling your story through different platforms, you can best capture the attention of your customers.
Omni-channel experiences can make your client base happier and more loyal to you in the long run. By making things convenient and hassle-free, you ensure your customer has an excellent experience with your brand and is more likely to purchase your product or service again.