Brand Experience Adjusts for Cross-Channel & Omni-Channel Shoppers
In the retail industry, terms such as “omni-channel” and “cross-channel” have made their way into the lexicons of many retailers and experts. At tradeshows such as the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition or eTail East, it’s likely that attendees will hear these terms thrown around, and both represent a significant shift in the way many retailers are driving brand experience.
So what is the difference between the two? At the recent National Retail Federation BIG conference, an eBay panel sought to clarify what both of those terms meant, Magento’s blog recounted. Cross-channel describes engaging with a brand on a single channel while finishing on another.
For example, a customer may start shopping online but opt to head in-store to make the final purchase – that could be considered a cross-channel experience.
On the other hand, an omni-channel experience entails one brand experience across multiple touch points. In this instance, there may be no singular sales funnel – people may dip and dive between a variety of different interaction spots. Fred Argir, one of the leaders of the session, noted several retailers now have touch points going into the double digits, illustrating the desire to allow customers to shop how and where they desire.
The objective is to provide a seamless experience that accommodates customers at every step of the way. However, it’s also crucial that retailers are able to control all of these touch points and maintain a specific standard across them. After all, people want good customer service as well. Shopping is a matter of both quantity and quality.
Crafting a multi-channel brand experience
Even if retailers are predominantly web-based, they still have a lot of potential engagement opportunities. Obviously, they want to cover their mobile and online options, as that is how many people are shopping nowadays. This includes optimizing eCommerce operations for both platforms and consolidating inventory and order management across all channels.
However, that doesn’t mean those have to be the only interaction points. For example, if an online retailer wanted to reach an older audience, they it could try sending catalogs or direct mailing resources that direct recipients back to the website. Or, if they seek a tech-savvy audience, they could try a viral campaign of posting quick-response codes in public places. Once the QR codes are scanned, people would be driven to the retailer’s website or mobile app.
The key lies in consistency, good customer service and engaging customers in unique ways to support an omni-channel brand experience.