No “Customer Journey” is like the other
The decision-making process of customers all the way to the purchase completion is highly individual and varied. There are some who always seek information from stationary retailers, while others prefer the digital channel. If companies make the mistake of not positioning themselves broadly and diversified enough and not service certain purchasing or information channels, they risk the massive loss of potential customers. Potential customers either simply don’t know about your product or service, or don’t get their preferred way of purchasing. In this context, you may have encountered the terms “multi-channel,” “cross-channel,” and “omni-channel. But what is the exact difference and which one is the best for your company and to increase your sales?
Multi-channel concept: The unknown neighbours
The multi-channel concept can be compared easily to a large apartment building in the city: There are many different residents and neighbours, but you hardly ever meet. Instead of living together, you live side by side, the overlapping of life paths is rather unlikely and perhaps also unwanted.
The multi-channel concept simply means that a company advertises, offers and sells its products through several distribution channels. For example, a mail order company that accepts both catalogue and online orders. The two channels do not meet, just like the neighbours in the apartment building. They exist parallel to each other, but not significantly linked to each other.
Cross-Channel also known as: The friendly hello in the hallway
The cross-channel concept significantly extends the previous principle: there is interaction and cooperation. Your neighbours are no longer completely unknown to you, but you now know each other at least on the same floor of the building. You talk in the hallway and support each other. For your company, this means that you coordinate your various distribution channels.
A classic example is the “Click and Collect” offer: Your customer orders something on the Internet and picks it up in the shop, so he also has the option of paying in cash. This attracts customers who order a product on the Internet but cannot or do not want it delivered to their home.
Example: The furniture store IKEA offers its customers the option of selecting and ordering goods online and then picking them up at a store of their choice.
Omni-channel: Everyone knows everyone
Omni-Channel is the consistent optimization of Cross-Channel. In contrast to multiple channels, Omnichannel is all about every channel. Cross-channel strategies and concepts aim to deliver a seamless, high-quality and convenient customer experience. This is similar to the principle of 360° marketing, whose core idea is the full use of all target group-relevant communication channels.
With the Omni-Channel concept, customers can switch channels easily and at any time – even between digital and analogue channels. Ideally, your company can accompany every consumer on every step of their personal customer journey, no matter which way they choose.
Digitization Makes Omni-Channel inevitable
Nowadays, the consumer wants fast and ubiquitous availability. At the same time, however, our attention span is continuously decreasing. If, for example, a consumer experience is too slow or simply uncomfortable, the potential customer will quickly turn to your competition.
So do you exactly know the needs, wishes and preferences of your target group in order to optimally adapt the interaction of the channels accordingly?
Planning is everything
An Omni-Channel concept requires a high amount of planning, strategy and analysis. Companies often shy away from the costs and time involved. However, a Harvard Business Review study with over 46,000 participants found that shoppers spend more as they have more channels available. Restructuring is therefore rewarding in any case, as it also brings advantages over your competitors who may still be “asleep”.
An analysis of the most frequently used channels and the main points of the customer journey of your customer target group enables you to place the focus correctly and efficiently. When such concepts are redeveloped, previous ones are included and aligned with the analyzed data base. The result is a campaign composition that integrates all channels in a customer-friendly way and thus picks up the different target group segments where they inform themselves, move and ultimately buy: Whether spontaneous buyers or convinced product comparators.
Conclusion: bottom line
Omni-channel concepts allow you to pick up your customers at any point of the customer journey and thus at all touchpoints. Precise conception and analysis are the foundation for the strategic development and migration of the Omni-Channel approach. This enables you to make it convenient, comfortable and easy for your target group to interact, contact, buy and generate revenue for you on their desired channel. It’s no longer enough to be present on just one or a few channels, but to use the Omni-Channel and 360° approach. When implemented correctly, you will be rewarded.
Our 7-point list, with which you can start immediately:
- Analysis and identification of your target group
- Analysis of the most frequently used channels of your customers
- Determination of all touchpoints of the Customer Journey
- Conception of a central marketing strategy
- Linking your target group-relevant channels
- Launching your campaign
- Continuous optimization and adaptation to current developments and trends
You are convinced, but the implementation sounds too complicated?
Then feel free to contact us.