April 10, 2019
Retailers and marketers know what channels are. The terms “multichannel” and “omnichannel” have been around for years. And yet most retailers still aren’t getting it right. For example, 73 percent of consumers want order tracking across all touchpoints but only 7 percent of retailers can deliver it.
What’s going on? One theory is that retailers are improving each of their touchpoints, but aren’t looking at how they all work together. Their reasoning is that individual interactions—at the store, online, in the app—will add up to a great omnichannel experience. But it doesn’t work that way. Customers don’t care about channels. Instead, they overwhelmingly prefer a cohesive and personalized experience they can access wherever they go. And increasingly that’s what they expect!
In fact, a survey of 500 leading North American retailers found that their top priorities are personalizing the customer experience (62 percent) and aligning it across mobile apps and the web (54 percent). They’re no longer looking at channels in isolation but rather how they work together. In other words, they’re creating a channel-less experience that’s centered on the customer journey.
What does a channel-less experience look and feel like?
A channel-less experience becomes a natural part of your customers’ lives. It makes shopping effortless—something they never have to think about. Every branded experience is personable, shoppable, and unified.
What exactly does that look like? Here are five characteristics of a channel-less experience:
1. It’s Portable
Wherever your customers go, your brand should be accessible. And that means a mobile experience that’s inextricably connected to your in-store experience. Your mobile experience should let customers know about deals in their local store. And sales reps should recognize online customers when they walk through the door.
For example, let’s say a customer visits an electronics store. If there’s a sale on products they’ve searched for online, they might get a push notification on their phone. Or, if they have a question about a product demo, they can contact a salesperson through their mobile rather than having to physically search the store. And that salesperson will know their preferences and order history.
2. It’s Relevant
Your customer experience should be relevant to each customer’s needs, preferences, and location. They should receive product information that looks great, speaks their language, and tells them everything they need to know. When product information is contextually relevant, consumers are significantly more likely to buy. Some research suggests it can increase conversion rates by up to 400 percent.
3. It’s Personalized
Whether they’re on their phone, on their computer, or in your store, customers want to get personal. In fact, 63 percent of customers say they want more personalized product recommendations.
This is also good news for you. A survey of 1,000 shoppers ages 18-64 suggests consumers are 80 percent more likely to buy when brands offer personalizede xperiences. Moreover, consumers who believe personalized experiences are very appealing are ten times more likely to become your most valuable customer—those who make more than 15 transactions in one year.
4. It’s Transparent
Consumers want to know where their orders are at all times. As we noted above, 73 percent of customers want order tracking across all touchpoints. And they want access to their whole history with your brand, whether they bought online, in the store or through your retail partner. Ideally, they’d like to do this through their mobile and desktop eCommerce website.
5. It’s Flexible and Responsive
Consumers want an experience that’s both flexible and responsive. No matter where they shop, customers can choose between many options for payment, shipping, and delivery. And, when things go wrong, they want brands to act quickly and provide frequent updates until the problem is resolved.
Ready to Go Channel-less?
The channel-less experience is all about building connections. Rather than treating each channel as an island, you must think of them as nodes on a network. For many omnichannel retailers, this can be a challenge because some of their channels are powered by legacy technologies that are difficult to connect into a seamless whole. But it’s not impossible, not even close.
Are you ready to create a channel-less experience? Read our "Follow the Customer" series of eBooks.