5 ways to improve omnichannel customer experience in the retail industry

Topic: Customer Service, Marketing, Retail

It’s no secret that the customer experience has drastically changed. With Covid-19 spurring an average daily closure of 48 shops, restaurants and other leisure and hospitality venues in 2020 alone, retailers cannot ignore these shifts. 

However, with so many different ways for businesses to communicate with customers – from email to SMS, WhatsApp to social media – it can be challenging to know how to get it right. So how can retailers entice customers back to brick and mortar stores after a year of online shopping? 

The key is to create an omnichannel customer experience. 

The state of retail in 2021

It’s not surprising that the retail industry has been one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing closures and a tidal wave of uncertainty. With traditional stores unable to open for much of the pandemic, the shift towards digital commerce has been exponential. Retailers are investing heavily in digital channels and cater to new consumer habits that are likely to stay. 

So, to best serve customers’ needs, retailers need to put their time, effort and money into providing an exceptional customer experience that works across all channels. 

What is an omnichannel customer experience?  

From researching to purchasing, customers are likely to use several different devices and methods before deciding to make a purchase. An effective way to improve customer satisfaction, an omnichannel customer experience includes a range of touchpoints across various channels. It is designed to provide a seamless experience and service whether clients are shopping in-store or online.

Are there any key considerations?

The benefits of creating an omnichannel customer experience are clear – from a better experience to an increase in traffic and sales. But, there are a few things to consider:

  • Digital is key: with an increasing number of consumers choosing digital over in-person shopping, retailers must offer a well-rounded communication strategy that focuses on digital channels – whether via chatbots, emails, or even in-store technology.
  • Don’t forget about branding: customers expect a unified experience, so it’s crucial to implement cohesive branding. From logos to imagery, colours to tone of voice, this should be consistent across all channels.
Our top 5 ways to improve omnichannel customer experience
  1. Understand target audiences

While creating an omnichannel strategy is great, there’s no point if it’s not in a suitable format. Don’t make assumptions about audiences. Instead, businesses need to research precisely how they like to shop, where they spend their time, and their needs so they can interact with them more naturally.

To improve experiences and increase sales, map out the customer journey from start to finish – from identifying the stages of cart abandonment to highlighting the various touchpoints along the way.

  1. Omnichannel customer support is key

Did you know that 85% of smartphone users prefer mobile messages to emails or calls when it comes to getting in touch with businesses? 

Offering customers an exceptional experience is essentialy for improving loyalty, but if they can’t get fast and effective help when and where they need it, they’re likely to shop elsewhere. Omnichannel chat is one example of implementing omnichannel customer support. It encompasses various channels to allow customer service teams to connect with customers clearly and effectively, whether through SMS, WhatsApp messaging, or more. This will enable brands to handle multiple conversations easily and means customers can get support without having to switch to a different platform or device.

  1. Connect with customers by using the right content at the right time

From initial order through to delivery, it’s important to communicate with customers at every stage of their journey. Creating the right content that captures their attention and makes their shopping experience more enjoyable is key. Customers expect to be kept up to date instantly, so things like order confirmations and stock updates are crucial in keeping customers engaged, maintaining loyalty, and offering peace of mind. 

  1. Ask customers for feedback across all channels

Omnichannel retail has to be built with customer experience in mind. Businesses should regularly reach out to customers to ask for feedback on services and experiences to understand exactly where and why purchases aren’t being made or where services and expectations fall short. There are so many ways retailers can do this, from rating live chat support agents to SMS surveys and Voice forms.  

  1. Test and improve your strategy constantly

For retailers, strategies need to be constantly tested and tweaked to best serve customers. Keeping a close eye on data and customer feedback can help retailers to ensure they’re implementing the right changes to keep customer satisfaction levels up.

Contact us now to find out more about how we can help your retail business or, if you’ve enjoyed reading about our 5 ways to improve omnichannel customer experience, take a look at our blog now for more inspiration and advice. 

Author Avatar
James Bosley

I'm James, Marketing Manager for the UK and Ireland at Esendex. I have experience in creating technical, informative, and educational content across a range of industries. I'm passionate about helping brands build better relationships with their customers through effective and engaging communication. I hope you find our blog helpful, and feedback is always welcome!