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About the Meaning of the Omni-Channel Customer Journey

Posted by Sabina Mierzowski on Apr 27, 2017 5:13:32 PM

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Omnichannel Customer Journey minubo.jpg"Omni-Channel" has grown from an abstract buzzword to a serious development – omni-channel commerce has come to stay! For many commerce organizations, this means they now have to deal in detail with the processes and meaning that this topic brings.

With the arrival of the term omni-channel in the minds of many strategic, but also operational, roles in a commerce organization, there is a growing awareness of the focus on the customer. Especially in the omni-channel context, it is important to understand how your customers behave between, and within, the various channels, to offer them an intensive and individual shopping experience across the channels. However, companies often do not have the option to visualize this Omni-Channel Customer Journey in any way – the information required for this is contained in separate data silos and is not freely accessible per se.

But the ability to acquire this image becomes a turning point when it comes to being able to fully unlock your existing customers' purchasing potential. So far, however, there has been no solution that models the customer's journey across all touchpoints and thus across all channels. For commerce organizations, it is still difficult, in this age of omni-channel, to take advantage of the dynamics between the individual channels.Someone might argue at this point that the omni-channel customer journey is only a very abstract model with few tangible and visualizable moments, which consequently does not provide a benefit. We would like to disprove this: The image of an omni-channel customer journey has very concrete and directly assignable application areas. We have compiled three central scenarios for you:

Omni-Channel Customer Journey – Scenario 1: Maximize the Campaign ROI

The campaign planning of multichannel companies is, much like purely digital or purely offline organizations, so far characterized by the budget, coverage figures and campaign design. The result of the campaign is only moderately, or not at all, calculable and, at times, resembles a gamble rather than a strategically planned expense. The problem, however, which is increasingly recognized by many marketing managers, is the fact that knowledge about the channel preferences of the customer plays hardly any role in the current campaign planning.

If you now have the opportunity to take a more detailed look at a customer's omni-channel journey, these channel preferences can be determined precisely. For the planning and implementation of targeted marketing campaigns, this means that customers are always addressed in the channel in which they interact with particular intensity with the brand or the dealer.

Through such a targeted approach (i.e. a data-driven orientation of the marketing activities), the budget distribution no longer becomes a crucial test with an uncertain outcome. On the contrary – the budget distribution is optimized and no cent of the always-tight budget is wasted anymore on ineffective campaigns that do not reach the customers at all.

Omni-Channel Customer Journey - Scenario 2: Point-to-Point Communication

In order to survive the competition for customers, it is important, among other things, to address ones customers precisely. No customer who buys his shirts almost exclusively from the store in the city center and has downloaded their mobile app, but has not opened it once since then, will be attracted by a push message from the mobile app, let alone be highly motivated to make a purchase via the app. Unless one pursues a channel migration strategy (but in this case, such a measure must also be embedded in a comprehensive communication strategy).

Rather, it is important to place the (purchase) behavior of customers much more at the center of all communication strategies. Knowing and understanding the Omni-Channel Customer Journey of the customer and the behavior of the customer between, and within, the channels is thereby the central knowledge building block. Because only with a comprehensive image of the Journey is it possible to make the communication with the customer to the point.

Omnichannel Kundenzufriedenheit minubo.jpgWhy is this so important? Whoever follows the belief: "The main thing is that I reach the customer at all somehow!" is wrong. Customers only feel understood, cared for and valued if they are contacted exactly via the channels which they use for the central interaction with the brand or the dealer. One can even go further: not only the question of "where" to address should be the focus, but also the question of how the "where" is linked to other preferences. For example, a customer always buys bags and jewelry online, but pants only in the store – this too should be considered in the communication. To integrate the channel preferences into customer communication leads to a higher level of customer satisfaction and stronger brand loyalty.

Omni-Channel Customer Journey Scenario 3: The Perfect Shopping Experience

Nowadays, customers no longer think of channels. They focus on the brand, or the dealer, itself and on the offer, or the shopping experience, that they are provided. So, if you follow the Omni-Channel concept, the customer must be able to seamlessly transition to the purchase from the individual channels so that they do not incur any inconvenience: order online and pick up at the store, return online orders to store, order ‘no longer available articles’ directly in the app – to mention only a few examples.

With the image of their customers' Omni-Channel Customer Journey, commerce organizations get an accurate understanding of the channel interaction behavior of their customers. On this basis, the exact measures that are necessary to provide the customer with the perfect shopping experience can be derived.

If the customer mainly uses the store for purchase, but the app or the online store as a source of information, a WLAN hotspot in the store can make the shopping experience perfect. Or vice versa: If the customer can only be inspired in the store and makes all his or her purchases online, an optimized check-out process can significantly improve the shopping experience. A comprehensive picture of the Omni-Channel Customer Journey provides the knowledge.

One must also not lose sight of the fact that the design of the perfect shopping experience can usually be associated with immense investment. This is why the analysis of the Omni-Channel Customer Journey is so important – in order to be able to estimate which investment is worthwhile, knowledge about the channel interaction behavior of the customers is indispensable.

The Omni-Channel Journey of Your Customers at a Glance

Technically speaking, it is a great challenge to map the Customer Journey in the spirit of Omni-Channel. To be able to realize this, a system is needed that breaks the existing data silos in the company and merges all data from the existing channels.

At this point, minubo steps in. By breaking the data silos, minubo creates a holistic Omni-Channel database – data from the order management system, from the eCommerce platform, from the webtracking tool, as well as cash and branch data are included and collected in an Omni-Channel (OC) database, linked accordingly in the data model and then made available as complete Journeys in the front end of the Analytics & Insights App, both as an individual view and for aggregated and detailed analysis. Commerce organizations are now able to map the Journeys of customers across all touchpoints (for example, in the web, mobile, branch, and email) and thus fully understand the behavior of their customers between, and within, the different channels. Not only does this enable better customer communication, but the underlying Omni-Channel database also has a much greater significance: it is the cornerstone for the Omni-Channel selling of a commerce organization. Without this database, no processes and measures that make Omni-Channel selling possible can be initiated.

Omnichannel data at one glance minubo.jpgIndividual customers are not only viewed on each platform with which they have interacted with the brand or the dealer. Rather, minubo allows a 360° view of the individual customer: Any movements of the customer between the individual channels, as well as the behavior of the respective customer within the channels, displays and is thereby visible to the company. This knowledge and the insights about the purchasing potential of individual customers are so valuable that they can provide a commerce organization with a decisive competitive advantage over their direct competitors.

In the end, minubo offers an additional crucial advantage in this context: By working with minubo and having the ability to accurately map the customers' journeys, overall management within the Omni-Channel organization becomes possible – mistakes are detected and can be eliminated, but also positive trends will be visible and can be strengthened. This insight enables commerce organizations to recognize and capitalize on the full potential of Omni-Channel business models, as well as to closely monitor the success of new Omni-Channel strategies and processes. The structure of the Omni-Channel business is therefore always 100 percent manageable.


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Topics: Commerce News & Insights