13 data-based lessons for omnichannel

As businesses cautiously enter 2022, many are coming to terms with drastically different customer expectations.

As the fog of the COVID-accelerated rush to digital business lifts, retailers and brands are being reminded that it is not as simple as a shopper landing on a website, navigating to and buying a product and becoming a lifetime customer from that moment on.

Instead, retailers must be prepared for more complex tasks that form a journey across a variety of digital and physical channels. These span research on websites and social media, buying a product in-store and interacting with customer support over a variety of communication channels.

And the biggest realisation is that creating an ‘omnichannel’ experience in which this works together to create a seamless, personalised journey for each consumer is hard. Really hard.

However, that does not mean it is impossible.

Knowing what a successful omnichannel experience looks like – backed by data – is vital to help businesses understand why the investment is worth it. We need to start with accurately defining what an omnichannel experience is.

What Is an Omnichannel Experience?

Channels are the places where consumers interact with a business. They may include where products and services are sold (website, physical store), how they are advertised (email, direct mail, social media) and the devices used to find them (desktop, tablet, smartphone).

Providing effective omnichannel experiences means collating consumer data, using this information to develop highly relevant content and delivering this content at the best time, in the best format, on the best channels for that consumer.

The theory is that this creates smooth, personalized shopping journeys. In turn this helps increase revenue and retention.

A recent Salesforce report found that 67% of customers use several channels to complete their purchases.

In fact, 40% of customers will not do business with companies if they cannot use the channels with which they are the most comfortable.

So, the demand for omnichannel experiences is real, and the benefits of going omnichannel are just as real, as the data makes clear:

  1. Marketing campaigns with three or more channels generate 90% higher retention rates than single-channel campaigns.
  2. Harvard Business Review found that omnichannel customers make 23% more trips back to a retailer’s store than single-channel shoppers.
  3. The average order value (AOV) for a single-channel campaign is $58.70. The AOV for an omnichannel campaign is 13% higher at $66.31.
  4. For the 2021 holiday season, 65% of consumers say they will spend as much if not more than they did in 2020. Half say they plan to shop online more than in previous years and a similar percentage will use more omnichannel shopping options, such as buying online and picking up in-store.
  5. Digital sales at Target grew by almost $10 billion in 2020, thanks to a 235% increase in usage of omnichannel same-day services.
  6. Customers who give a business a high experience rating spend 140% more on average at that business — and keep shopping there for as many as six years.
  7. Marketing campaigns using three or more channels generate a purchase rate of over 12% – almost 300% higher than their single-channel counterparts.
  8. Harvard Business Review also found that omnichannel shoppers spend 10% more online and 4% more in-store than their single-channel counterparts. Every additional channel customers use corresponds to more money spent in-store.
  9. Single-channel campaigns only earn a 5.4% average engagement rate. For a campaign with three or more channels that number jumps to nearly 19%.
  10. Omnichannel shoppers are more likely to recommend their favourite retailer to friends and family than single-channel shoppers are.
  11. According to Think with Google, 70% of shoppers say it’s still important for them to be able to shop in person.
  12. Shoppers who visit a Sephora store within 24 hours of visiting the website are three times more likely to complete a purchase and spend 13% more than other customers.
  13. RetailWire’s BrainTrust members believe omnichannel services like buy online and pick up in-store are here to stay thanks to COVID-19 forcing many retailers to finally “get in the game”.

What is stopping omnichannel?

There is obviously a lot to gain from building omnichannel experiences for consumers. Yet, the Digital Marketing Maturity Benchmarks 2021 by Smart Insights and BrightTALK found that only 37% of companies have implemented an omnichannel marketing strategy.

The disconnect is because the content management system (CMS) platforms many marketing departments use are not up to the task of implementing content-powered omnichannel experiences.

The traditional, monolithic CMS tools that were once innovative can only service a limited number of channels and employees at any given time. It’s expensive, time-consuming and risky to add new technologies to these old-school platforms.

Consequently, the answer to reaping omnichannel benefits lies in a modern, agile, MACH headless CMS. “MACH” stands for microservices-based, API-connected, cloud-native and headless. A modern, agile headless CMS built using MACH principles lets businesses manage every channel from a single, unified hub.

The headless architecture separates content creation from content distribution. This allows marketers to create content that powers omnichannel experiences while developers build out delivery systems, without interfering with one another.

Robust integration capabilities also offer smart analytics, personalization tools and other helpful services so businesses can deliver omnichannel experiences via chatbot, in-store kiosk, email campaigns and more.

The opportunities for omnichannel benefits are boundless, but businesses will only get as far as their CMS allows.

To see how business can define and then refine their approach to omnichannel check out our CMS guides


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