It is the buzz phrase that all retail publications are discussing – omni-channel. As the notion becomes increasingly prevalent, retail businesses strive to create an omni-channel shopping experience in their own operations that improves customer service. With consumers now expecting more from retailers as a result, businesses need to find new ways to drive customer loyalty as delivering a positive buying experience is essential for encouraging repeat purchases. But what exactly is it that businesses should be doing to keep their customers happy?
Within this article, the importance of tailoring the shopping experience to your customers will be discussed and what businesses can do to personalise service in both B2C and B2B trading environments. As well as this, we look at the importance of having an omni-channel solution which helps align strategies both online and in-store to ensure consistency.
Fact – Omni-Channel Customers Are The Biggest Spenders
To begin, we should look at why businesses should be striving to be more omni-channel in their sales approach. Firstly, it is not just a case of remaining competitive and offering customers a bespoke buying experience that they will not forget, it is also to drive extra revenue. This was highlighted in a recent study by Wunderman and Penn Schoen Berland, which found that “omni-channel users are often the most dedicated, spending 4% more in physical stores and 10% more online than their single channel counterparts.” These figures can represent quite a significant additional margin on a company’s bottom line, whilst highlighting the requirement for today’s traders to fully understand the needs of their omni-channel customers. Therefore, to capitalise on this additional spending, it is important for omni-channel retailers to nurture and develop relationships across multiple platforms in order to promote customer loyalty.
Now there are a few keys to unlocking these additional sales, however at the core these all stem from omni-channel traders personalising their customer communications. In the same Wunderman and Penn Schoen Berland study, results showed that “72% of UK consumers say brands have to demonstrate they understand and care about them before they consider purchasing.” This shows that the majority of consumers want to feel that the companies they are buying from are tailoring to their requirements before they commit and invest in their brand, which further highlights the importance of delivering a personalised experience.
Aim Your Promotions At The Right Target Audience
So how can retailers begin to personalise the shopping experience for their customers?
Well it is no secret that consumers want to be kept in the know about promotions and special offers, as shoppers are always on the lookout for that perfect bargain. However, not marketing these promotions and special offers in the right way can cause frustrations that reduce sales rather than boost them. Statistics from Kantar Media’s recent research into the subject found that 42% of shoppers feel annoyed if they receive an email regarding a promotional offer irrelevant to them. Adding to this, a further 53% said that they would get annoyed if a retailer doesn’t make them aware of promotions directly. In a separate study, Collinson also found that 52% of shoppers feel frustrated when promotions aren’t aligned in-store and online.
Promotions, discounts and special offers are such an essential sales tool for omni-channel retailers, and these statistics highlight the key things businesses need to do in order to get the communication and management of these just right. Customers don’t want to be bombarded with promotional emails that have no relevance to them, instead they want to know about the offers relating to the products they have purchased or have shown an interest in previously. Additionally, customers don’t want to see a promotion regarding an offer and then walk in to store to find out it was an online exclusive. Therefore, businesses must act upon the wealth of data they have stored on a particular customer, so that they can better target their marketing campaigns. By profiling customer sales activity, looking at abandoned baskets and analysing previously quoted/sold items, businesses can easily arm their marketing team with the information they need to successfully personalise email communications.
What’s more, in order to implement a successful omni-channel sales strategy, businesses need to ensure that they have a back-end management system that will help them effectively manage and update pricing across all their online and offline sales channels. By seamlessly linking all revenue streams of a business together, retailers can successfully align customer promotions both online and in-store. By keeping pricing synchronised across platforms, retailers can not only enhance the customer journey but also build a stronger connection with their brand that promotes returned business through seamless omni-channel trading.
Bring The Omni-Channel Experience To Your B2B Trading
If companies selling B2B believe this doesn’t apply to them, then think again. As the expectations of end consumers is to interact with brands across multiple platforms for a seamless shopping experience, this outlook naturally blurs into the business world too. Therefore, businesses selling B2B must also adopt a personalised, more customer-centric sales approach when it comes to winning new and retaining custom.
To achieve this in a B2B world, tailored offers and sales communications become less paramount to delivering a personalised experience and more about simply having the information customers want to know readily available. Whether logging into their customer account online or meeting with a sales rep on the road, businesses want their suppliers to be able to deliver accurate stock figures, pricing and order updates instantly, on demand.
The key to doing this successfully is by ensuring key business data is accurately shared between departments so that better service can be delivered. By using one single database that seamlessly links online B2B trading with sales reps out on the road and all aspects of back office management, businesses can ensure customers always see and receive the correct information.
Working from one database and feeding key customer information out to sales reps and online platforms also offers other benefits. Using these details to their advantage, businesses can ensure their website and reps are pushing the right products to the right customers in order to maximise sales. By promoting previously quoted/sold items and their related products to the relevant customers, businesses can easily generate greater revenue.
Tailor Your Customer Buying Experience & See The Results
So in conclusion then, it is evident that both B2B and B2C customers are looking for a more personal touch from the brands from which they regularly buy. From targeting the right promotions at the right people and arming sales channels with accurate data, businesses can deliver the service their customers expect. By doing this regularly and effectively, it is only a matter of time before companies begin to see the results through boosted profitability.
To find out more on how OrderWise can help deliver an omni-channel solution to your business, call us on 01522 704083.