Shopify Ecosystem

What Is An Omnichannel Customer Engagement Strategy?

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Not long ago, retail was simple. Customers interacted with brands through mass-market advertising and TV commercials. They went into the physical store to make purchases and called into businesses to place their orders. Digital communication technologies, such as the Internet, social media, and email, have completely changed the game. Today, consumers can shop from a multitude of channels including web, mobile, brick and mortar storefronts, and more. The digital and physical worlds have collided and customers have grown to expect an omnichannel experience.

In this day and age, brands can no longer solely rely on the quality of their customer service to make sure their customers keep coming back. Now, brands must focus on consistently engaging with their audiences across multiple channels. By providing multiple ways for customers to interact and engage with your brand, you are enhancing their experience and persuading them to become lifelong customers. So, what do you do when you can’t seem to maintain consistent messaging and information across your channels of choice? 

The answer: develop an omnichannel customer engagement strategy.

Definition: Omnichannel Customer Engagement

Omnichannel customer engagement focuses on increasing customer engagement by leveraging cross-channel execution techniques to deliver personalized messaging and interactions. Personalized omnichannel experiences are what customers have grown to expect from companies in a modern, digital world, and for this reason, brands must be armed with the tools necessary to deliver and capitalize on this expectation.

What is an Omnichannel Customer Engagement Strategy?

An omnichannel customer engagement strategy, in its simplest form, is a marketing strategy that focuses on creating a near-seamless transition between channels by blending them and managing them from a single, unified platform. By developing an omnichannel customer engagement strategy and leveraging a customer engagement platform, organizations can more easily manage the disconnected interactions each customer has with their brand and analyze those patterns to deliver consistent, individualized customer experiences. This will support each individual’s customer journey and help maintain consistent messaging across all channels and touchpoints.

The Challenges of Omnichannel Customer Engagement

A consistent, individualized omnichannel customer experience is necessary to reduce the rate of customer churn. However, there are a few omnichannel marketing challenges that many organizations face when developing a customer engagement strategy:

Unifying Omnichannel Customer Data

When you integrate different channels into a centralized location, you are bringing together all of the data associated with them. Oftentimes, data formats from these channels are not uniform, making it difficult to merge this data effectively. Establishing a data architecture that enables seamless integration is a challenge while creating your omnichannel strategy. However, there are tools brands can leverage to simplify integration.

Facilitating Effective Communication

In a traditional retail setting, the sales team works to build rapport with customers as they enter the store and browse through aisles. But after the customer leaves the store, that conversation usually hits a dead end. One of the biggest challenges for e-commerce marketers is: how do you facilitate communication with customers after they’ve left your website or retail store? How can you continue to connect with them on social media or other channels? It can be very challenging to find a creative way to identify your customers and successfully facilitate communication across other touchpoints in their journey with your brand.

Creating Consistent Experiences

It’s not enough to deliver an excellent experience in one channel. Rather, the customer experience must be consistent across all channels. When a customer visits a website and has a great experience, they typically expect that to translate into an amazing experience at the physical store, on social media, and via their mobile device. However, many businesses find it challenging to create a consistent experience across every touchpoint a consumer may have with their brand.

The Benefits of an Omnichannel Customer Engagement Platform

Giving your customers a reason to remain loyal to your brand is essential to building a thriving business. Here are a few of the many benefits of an omnichannel customer engagement platform:

Unified Customer Data

Customers are becoming more demanding and marketers need to put in the effort to keep up with these expectations. Ultimately, customers want and expect their needs to be met as soon as possible. The key is to create personalized experiences for customers that reflect their interactions with your brand over time. 

Data silos create gaps in your omnichannel approach and make scalable 1:1 personalization difficult to achieve. So, how can you effectively meet customer expectations and manage your data all at the same time? A customer engagement platform helps you achieve customer-centricity by synchronizing data from any source to create a single unified view of your customer data. This way, you can unlock potential growth across a range of channels and maintain agility as your business scales.

Unified Customer Profiles for 1:1 Personalization

Data and customer insights are an integral part of any marketing strategy. Data allows marketers to better understand their customers’ behavior and preferences and allows you to make informed decisions about how to deliver the best customer experience. 

Emarsys’ Customer Engagement Platform maps all touchpoints and interactions across all channels to individual customer profiles. These profiles are equipped with data-driven lifecycle and predictive indicators that allow you to make informed decisions about your customers. This way, you are able to easily deliver 1:1 omnichannel personalization based on your customers’ preferences and how they engage with your brand.

Customer Segments

Thanks to emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the ability to reach a whole new level of engagement with customers has dramatically improved. 

Predictive analytics take into account all customer actions and work to learn customer behavior. These analytics allow you to effectively segment audiences and deliver appropriate messaging based on preferences and demographics when its likely customers will churn, go inactive, or when they’re about to make a purchase. Customer Engagement Platforms show you which customer segments, channels, or strategies you should prioritize and when to optimize further.

How to Develop a Successful Omnichannel Customer Engagement Strategy

Now that you have an in-depth understanding of omnichannel customer engagement, here are 5 steps to help build your own omnichannel strategy:

1. Determine Which Channels Your Customers are Using

A successful omnichannel marketing strategy doesn’t require you to jump on every channel available. Instead, you only need to invest in the channels that your customers use. The best way to go about this is to revisit your buyer personas and determine where your customers are interacting with your brand. This will help you figure out which channels are best suited for your omnichannel strategy.

2. Map Your Customer Journey

Next, it’s important to map out your customer journey from one channel to the next so there are no gaps in your strategy. As you are mapping out your customer journeys (there are multiple!), ask yourself this: How does each channel stand on its own, and how will it lead to another channel? How does each channel ultimately get the customer to purchase?

3. Match Your Content with the Appropriate Channel

Omnichannel marketing isn’t pushing out the same messaging and communication over multiple channels. It’s important to keep your content relevant to the specific channel. For example, images do well on Instagram or Facebook, videos do well on Youtube, short texts do well on Twitter, and longer text-based content do well in your email newsletters. However, keep in mind: your messaging should all work together to reach your business goals.

4. Provide Cross-channel Customer Support

Since customers are interacting with your brand across multiple channels, it’s crucial to provide customer support at every touchpoint. Customer support is important because it helps to secure customer confidence and loyalty to your brand, so make sure your brand can handle providing support across channels.

5. Invest in Your Marketing Stack

For a successful omnichannel customer engagement strategy, you need to have a great marketing stack to help you stay organized, track your goals, and analyze data. Emarsys’ Customer Engagement Platform allows you to have all product, customer profile, interaction, and purchasing data integrated into a centralized location. That way, you can unlock growth across channels and maintain agility as your business grows. 

Final Thoughts

A successful omnichannel customer engagement strategy can be rewarding for your marketing team. It can be challenging to ensure that the customer experience is always consistent and supports customer intent across multiple channels. Rest assured that with the right omnichannel customer engagement platform, you can overcome these challenges and deliver great results for your business.

Special thanks to our friends at Emarsys for their insights on this topic.
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