Omnichannel: Can you keep up with the customer?

Omnichannel: Can you keep up with the customer?
Katharine has been vice president of marketing at Celebrus Technologies since July 2011, and has over 10 years’ experience in delivering marketing campaigns across EMEA for a number of high-profile data analysis and research-led companies. Working for the research and analysis giant Gartner, Hulls spent five years developing marketing campaigns and strategies across EMEA and the UK. Further developing her analytics experience, Hulls held the senior marketing manager position for SPSS, a predictive analytics company. Most recently, while working for Experian, Hulls was responsible for planning and executing the overall EMEA marketing strategy for Experian’s Marketing Services division, including responsibility for CheetahMail, Experian’s leading email marketing service.

With the proliferation of channels and devices available to consumers nowadays, the vision of omnichannel – a seamless approach to optimising the customer experience and engagement through all available channels – seems like an impossible dream for most. 

Organisations, however, cannot afford to avoid what is fast becoming a new reality. Customers are increasingly interacting with brands in a variety of ways, via multiple devices and channels – and they expect brands to deal with this new behaviour and treat them as individuals with truly relevant, personalised messages and offers regardless of channel or device.

And all that is usually expected in real—time.  Failing to attain a clear picture will risk disenfranchising customers, but getting it right will enable organisations to tailor each individual interaction based on customer expectations and behaviour, achieving the result of increasing conversion rates across every platform.

A single individual may read emails on a smart phone on the way to work; check out the brand’s Facebook page during their lunch break on a work laptop; use the brand’s mobile app on an iPad in front of the TV and make a purchase on the home PC before going to bed. Or they may simply visit the brand’s website on all those devices during one day. 

Organisations and brands know that they must put the building blocks in place to ensure they understand how their customers are interacting with them across all of these touchpoints. In order to do this they are developing their customer analytics to gain increased understanding.

The smart organisations want to understand details such as whether smartphone users have a higher average purchase value than desktops and whether customer conversion rates are higher on tablets than on smartphones.

For example, global heat styling brand, ghd, identified that a high percentage of their customers used mobile iDevices to interact with their website. However, through analysing their customer analytics, digital marketers at ghd saw that the website had a high bounce rate with customers using iDevices.

This led to a rethink of the iDevice mobile experience, making it slicker and more user friendly, which has consequently resulted in a 40% increase in conversation rate for customers using iDevices as well as an enhanced customer experience. 

Whilst having this overall insight into the effectiveness and purpose of different channels is valuable, the real value comes from being able to piece together the puzzle for individual customers in order to more effectively engage them at each point in the purchasing lifecycle.

Digital marketing has evolved considerably over recent years and organisations are now looking for individual-level data from across multiple digital channels in order to enhance the customer experience and drive real-time personalisation for improved customer engagement.

It is essential for brands to not only have access to highly granular individual-level data from across multiple digital channels and devices in real-time, it is also crucial that they have the analytic capability which enables them to link all the devices and histories of interaction together into a single customer view – having this understanding is the first step on the omnichannel journey towards improving the customer experience, optimising marketing effectiveness and ultimately driving business and customer value.

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