Half of brands will have failed to unify customer engagement channels by 2022

A customer being served.
Half of brands will have failed to unify customer engagement channels by 2022
Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.

By 2022, 50% of large organisations will have failed to unify engagement channels, resulting in a disjointed and siloed customer experience that lacks context.

This is according to a study by Gartner, which has urged companies around the globe to deliver frictionless omnichannel experiences to create more connected experiences for customers and further drive digital commerce.

Matt Moorut, principal analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice, said: “Frictionless omnichannel commerce provides consistent, streamlined experiences across channels throughout the customer journey, and this has increased in importance since the outbreak of the pandemic. 

“Frictionless omnichannel experiences allow organisations to not only provide customers with more purchase and fulfillment options, but also enable customers to quickly switch engagement methods in case of channel disruption. This enables marketing leaders to better protect business-critical revenue streams.”

Despite many consumers moving online to purchase goods during COVID-19 lockdowns, the perceived benefit of in-person shopping remains strong. According to Gartner’s Digital Commerce for Marketing Leaders 2021 research, this means organisations that have wide-reaching store footprints are well-positioned to leverage frictionless omnichannel experiences. Those without a brick-and-mortar presence can still tap into the benefits of frictionless omnichannel experiences by partnering with third parties, the analyst firm has suggested.

Frictionless omnichannel experiences need to go beyond just buying online, in-store pickup and curbside pickup, and enable a truly seamless experience for selling, serving, fulfilling and delivering. To do this, Gartner advised that marketing leaders must focus on the following areas when collaborating with other organisational leaders and optimising their 2021 strategy: 

Feature Fulfillment Options: Highlight customers’ fulfillment options clearly within the purchase journey to increase overall sales. For example, allow customers to choose between in-store pickup and drive-up curbside pickup for goods, with clear instructions linked from product detail pages.

Incentivise Omnichannel Sales: Test thresholds for incentivising omnichannel sales, such as offering a gift card to encourage customers to buy online and pick up in-store or curbside. This also has the added benefit of alleviating shipping pressures when completing a purchase.

Ensure Consistent Messaging: Work with customer service leaders to ensure that messaging is consistent for customers when switching among channels, including social networks, chatbots and contact centers.

Integrate Digital Inventory: Partner with supply chain leaders to push for better integration of inventory across digital touchpoints to show available inventory per store location. This informs buying decisions from any channel.

Prioritise Partnerships: Select partnerships that extend frictionless omnichannel shopping, including online marketplaces, especially where first-party options are limited.

To learn more about improving the omni-channel experience, join marketing specialist Localisto at DMWF North America West 2021 for a fireside chat, titled ‘The rise of local marketing and the inception of a true omni-channel experience’. As well as examining the current state of local marketing, Localistico will discuss the main challenges faced by retailers dealing with an omnichannel world, and how those can be tackled.

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