While a multichannel experience is offering more than one way to pay, an omnichannel experience is one that ties all of a brand’s channels together to ensure that the entire experience is cohesive – from browsing to purchasing to post-buying.
The modern customer has grown comfortable with seamless connections and instant gratification and will align themselves with brands that provide that. Businesses that are not implementing an omnichannel system will risk losing sales or worse, alienating customers.
Let’s take a look at six omnichannel superstars.
Despite its 1920s inception, Disney is settling in comfortably in the digital age. They are an omnichannel pioneer because they consider the entire experience, from pre-trip to post-trip. After you book your vacation, you’ll receive pertinent information like park details and restaurant options. A month before the trip, visitors will receive their personalized MagicBands with their names etched on. These handy bands are RFID-enabled, linked to individual profiles, and act as visitors’ hotel key, park ticket, food ordering tool, and more. With the mobile app, visitors can view wait times or locate attractions they want to visit. Disney also sends thank-you messages, ride photos, and invitations to share on social platforms post-trip. Disney does a fantastic job of connecting the online, mobile, and in-park experiences.
Leading the wave of on-demand services is ride-share app Uber. Uber is not only convenient but gives the customer the control they crave. When the app is open, GPS-tracking identifies the rider’s location and nearby cars. Once a car is booked, users can track the car’s progression to their location or view a countdown clock. For those that don’t want to monitor the progress down to the second, riders get a text from the driver when they’ve arrived. Information such as the driver’s profile and the car details are right at riders’ fingertips before they even get in. Want to DJ the ride? Link a Spotify playlist to the driver’s radio and choose the own tunes. No need for the pesky payment process – pay right from the app post-ride. Uber created an omnichannel, on-demand experience that puts the control right in the hands of the customers.
Starbucks is one of the most prolific omnichannel companies. They’ve built an intuitive ecosystem around their rewards card. Customers can check and reload cards on their phone, online, in-store, or through the app, and changes are tracked in real-time. Reload your card while you’re in line, and it’s updated by the time you pay. When it comes to paying, customers can pay with their rewards card or the app via their phone, and the new balance is reflected across all channels.
A fashion brand that excels at the omnichannel experience is Rebecca Minkoff. In partnership with eBay, the brand’s connected stores allow customers to interact with touchscreen mirrors that help them browse products or look books and order beverages to sip and shop. In the dressing rooms, RFID tags recognize which items are brought in and allow shoppers to pull up information like styling suggestions as well as sizes and color options on the mirrors. On the analytics side, this is brilliant because the technology will record what people try on, what they buy, and what they leave behind to provide information that helps businesses understand habits and preferences.
The eyewear powerhouse was once an exclusively-online company, so they know that online shoppers don’t have the luxury of trying on glasses in-store. They offer customers the option to order five different pairs of glasses, pick the one they like, and send the rest back for free. They also have programs that allow people to virtually try on glasses to see how they would look. They eventually expanded into physical locations because they recognized that many consumers these days are webrooming and showrooming. The eyewear brand has cultivated a strong community with their active social media presence. Consumers are encouraged to share their virtual fit on social media to ask for their friends’ opinions before buying. Warby Parker also has photo booths in their locations to further encourage social sharing. The eyewear brand has worked hard to bridge the gap between the online and physical.
Like many other major banks, Royal Bank has a robust mobile app. With the app, users can do anything they can on the desktop site like pay bills, transfer funds, and access up-to-date account information. With the app, users can also perform additional actions like deposit a cheque simply by snapping a photo of it. The Royal Bank app also has a social media feed embedded into the app for people who want to connect with the bank on social channels.
An omnichannel experience is particularly popular with younger shoppers because they are tech-savvy, used to instant and reliable data, and often prefer a self-serve model. These examples are only a peek at the companies incorporating omnichannel into their business practices. It will soon become redundant to define the term because it’s rapidly becoming how retailers interact with customers.