As technology continues to enhance the way we conduct business, e-commerce sites are continuing to adopt an omni-channel approach to create an integrated, seamless customer experience across multiple platforms and touch points when marketing to and communicating with customers.
As such, the customer journey has become somewhat more complicated, as consumers now feel empowered both online and offline to engage with companies before they’re even thinking about making a purchase. That’s largely because the way people shop these days is so fragmented.
For example, they jump from site to site and from device to device, which is why it’s important you have a firm grasp on your omni-channel marketing approach. Here’s a look at the omni-channel approach and how it can benefit your e-commerce business.
What is the Omni-channel Approach?
An omni-channel approach is a cross-channel content strategy that organizations use to improve their user experience. For example, it means social media and chatbots can be used not only for helping to generate sales, but also assist with customer support efforts. Not to mention other channels like email, text, phone and more can be used by customers to contact you.
These days, consumers’ shopping habits and patterns are constantly changing — and e-commerce sites need to adapt by being in-tune with their needs and desires. In fact, a 2018 study by eMarketer and Accenture indicated nearly 40 percent of the projected $1.35 trillion in global e-commerce sales would be made using smartphones.
Let’s explore how e-commerce companies are moving to an omni-channel approach to offer a better customer experience, increase engagement and realize a boost in revenue.
How e-Commerce Businesses Use the Omni-channel Approach
1. Implement IVR
One of the channels businesses should think about implementing is an IVR system. This technology can predict callers’ intent, provide context for live agents and proactively call customers before a problem arises. Additionally, IVR comes with helpful features like in-queue self-service (allowing customers to receive a callback instead of waiting on hold) and mobile IVR solutions to make using this technology even easier.
Moreover, IVR can help you preserve customer context across a slew of channels like email, social media, live chat and more, so it’s definitely worth considering. In addition, you can add capabilities and features like virtual receptionists, telephone surveys, information retrieval, emergency notifications, order status, voice verification and conferencing solutions.
2. Take Advantage of Social Media
Social media has been an explosive benefit for e-commerce sales, because not only can you place ads on these platforms, but you can also use it to communicate with customers and prospects. As mentioned above, customers are in contact with brands before they decide to make a purchase.
Thus, having a fluid social media presence can help you deliver better customer care. E-commerce brands use social media to make the customer journey somewhat more unified so customers can interact with them in any space they occupy online. If they need to DM you on Twitter to ask you a question about a new coffee maker, they’re thinking about buying, they can do it quickly and easily.
3. Create Mobile Apps
A mobile app can help your customers shop anytime and from anywhere in the world, regardless of location. Increasingly, customers are shopping on mobile apps — even when they’re walking through brick-and-mortar storefronts. Having a mobile app allows your customers to check inventory and product specifications and shop on the go.
A mobile app can be used to help facilitate a purchase by providing a simplistic shopping experience that gives them everything they need right from the mobile app. Your customers may begin shopping on the mobile app, put a few things in their e-cart, and then put their smartphone down to make dinner with intentions to come back to it later.
With an omni-channel approach, your agents can see what’s in their cart so they’ll be more prepared to gently guide your customers toward the sale.
4. Use Email
Email is still a great way to reach customers and prospects, as people tend to spend a majority of their time on smartphones and tablets. If that’s the case, you can reach customers instantly by shooting them a quick email about a sale or discount, or pick up where you left off since the last interaction as long as all of your channels are unified.
According to Allied Wallet, 33 percent of consumers use smartphones to look for sales. So, if your business is holding an online sale, don’t be reluctant to send a promotional email to your customers to get them started on the journey to making a purchase. Even if they don’t make a purchase right away, you’ll know exactly how to coax them into the next phase of the buyer’s journey.
Now that you know the benefits of taking an omnichannel approach to the new e-commerce journey, you can begin to think about the tools you’ll use to catapult your company to success. By incorporating text, email, social media, IVR and mobile apps into your strategy, you’ll get a unified customer and agent experience and a simplified customer journey for your target audience. So, if your e-commerce business could use a boost, consider implementing an omni-channel approach to marketing.