Omnichannel retail trends for transformed customer experiences
The way retailers communicate with consumers has shifted as a result of digital transformation. There are new retail trends emerging around omnichannel communications that influence how consumers are navigating the path to purchase.
Although customers are frequenting brick and mortar stores more often, they are not willing to compromise on the digital experiences that have evolved over the last few years. Omnichannel communication is therefore here to stay, and your retail business will benefit from understanding trends to transform CX in retail.
What are omnichannel communications?
This means that a customer can start a conversation with your brand on one channel and continue it seamlessly on another channel without having to repeat information – improving their overall experience.
What does omnichannel communication for the retail industry look like?
In the retail industry, omnichannel communication is a key tool for driving engagement and ROI.
Customers can interact with a retailer through the channel of their choice to get transactional or promotional messages, reminders and notifications, or any other type of message – meaning retailers can provide omnichannel shopping experiences.
Retailers can collect and analyze customer data across channels to gain insights into customer behavior and preferences. This can help them personalize their marketing and communication efforts, and better target their customers with relevant promotions and offers.
Overall, omnichannel communication is an essential strategy for retailers looking to meet the changing expectations of today’s customers, who increasingly demand a cohesive and convenient shopping experience on any channel.
Omnichannel retail statistics
We analyzed 153 billion interactions that took place on our platform in 2022 to uncover how customers and brands are using omnichannel communications in today’s landscape.
Here are the main findings we uncovered about channel usage on our platform for retail and eCommerce brands:
- WhatsApp 104% increase
- Email 155% increase
- Mobile App Messaging 276% increase
- SMS 22% increase
- Instagram Messaging 16,054% increase
Most notably, Instagram had the largest and most dramatic increase in usage, which says a lot about how modern customers want to shop – but more on that later.
More and more retail brands are adopting a variety of channels to communicate with customers, develop end-to-end journeys and enrich experiences.
The key use cases retailers use for omnichannel shopping experiences are:
- Back-in-stock alerts
- Loyalty vouchers and special offers
- Cross-sell and upsell opportunities
- Order confirmations
- Delivery notifications
- Automate answers for FAQs
How to use omnichannel communications in retail
There is a wide range of creative ways to use omnichannel communication for the retail industry. Here is an example to get you started on how one customer can interact with a brand using four different channels and experience a seamless shopping journey.
A customer sees your Instagram ad for a product that catches their attention.
Since you included a click-to-WhatsApp button on your ad, the customer starts a conversation with your brand to get more information on your offer.
Two days pass and the customer hasn’t made a purchase.
You send a WhatsApp message offering them 10% off their first purchase when they register an account and check out.
The customer registers and receives a welcome email with the promo code.
The customer adds items to their cart through your mobile app but doesn’t complete the purchase.
You send a mobile app push notification to remind them of their abandoned items.
The customer completes the purchase and gets a payment confirmation email.
After a few days, the customer reaches out to you asking when they can expect their delivery.
An agent responds promptly saying the package will arrive tomorrow, and if they would like to change any details around delivery.
The customer gets their delivery notification on WhatsApp the next day with their receipt and return information in case they might need it.
How do omnichannel communications improve retail experiences?
Businesses can build stronger relationships with their customers, increase customer satisfaction, and ultimately drive business growth by unifying data and using multiple channels for interactions.
Offer an end-to-end shopping journey
With omnichannel capabilities in place, you can build digital customer journeys from start to finish. Utilize different channels and the features of those channels to build more engaging experiences and grab your audiences’ attention.
From lead generation, to promotions, closing sales and re-engagement efforts, omnichannel communications can elevate each stage and bring a more cohesive experiences to your retail customers.
No more siloed touchpoints and data
Customers want a personalized and tailored shopping experience where retail brands demonstrate a strong understanding of their needs and individual preferences. No matter their channel of choice, customers can interact with your brand without any disjointed interactions. Retailers can collect insightful data across channels and use that information to build better experiences and remove any siloed data.
Unifying data and customer communications is essential for becoming a customer-centric retailer and transforming interactions into meaningful connections.
Elevate and improve customer service
Minimize the effort required by customers to connect with your brand, share proactive support, and provide an always-on digital experience across every channel and context – to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention.
With unified customer conversations and centralized data, retailers have the tools to evolve the contact center into a revenue-generator, capturing customer insights which can be used across the entire organization.
Omnichannel retail trends you should know
Creating an omnichannel retail strategy
Developing a strategy around how to use multiple channels to communicate with customers is essential for retailers to meet high demands. Keeping the trends and benefits discussed in this blog in mind, let’s dive into the steps required to create the right strategy for your business.
It’s clear that customer data plays a huge role in creating omnichannel communications. But how do you start using this data to your advantage?
Segment your customers based on their behaviors, preferences, demographics, and history with your brand. Doing this will help you better target the right individuals for specific marketing efforts and makes personalization much simpler.
Discover what channels your audience uses
Adopt the channels your customers actually use. Based on where they are located, how they use their messaging apps and additional data you collect on their communication preferences, you will discover which channels are worth the investment.
Use journey maps for each segment
Journey maps will help you to visualize every action and engagement taken by key customer personas to achieve their goals.
Use a customer journey map to define an omnichannel customer engagement strategy that adds value across individual journeys – based on a customer’s needs, preferred channels, context, and more.
Use cross-channel communication
Within your journey map, identify which channels are the most appropriate for which messages. Use different channels for sales, marketing, and support use cases to find the perfect combination of channels for your customers.
This is how you will start to offer better experiences online, which can transfer to in-store experiences as well.
An omnichannel strategy works best when paired with automation tools and techniques. To make your customer service agents more efficient, add automated message flows that walk customers through stages in their journey with CTA buttons or pre-defined responses.
Add a chatbot to level-up your customer support solution. When a chatbot is no longer able to assist a customer, the conversation is seamlessly transferred to an agent who picks up right where the chatbot left off.
Test and optimize
Collect data on how your messages perform on various channels, which messages gave you the most clicks, engagement rates, conversions and highest satisfaction scores.
Measure performance and optimize your engagement strategy to continually improve the customer journey, improve ROI, and deliver greater impact against your goals.
Transform customer experiences with omnichannel retail solutions
Omnichannel customer engagement solution
Use Moments to create message flows and customized templates tailored to each customer on their preferred channel.
Customer data platform
People CDP makes it easy to get to know your audience. Collect valuable customer data to create detailed customer profiles and segment audiences for targeted campaigns.
Cloud contact center
Conversations allows your agents to manage multiple conversations, on multiple channels at once with ease. Keep all customer communications and contextual conversation history on one dashboard.
Chatbot building platform
Design the perfect chatbot for your business. Whether rule-based or AI chatbot, you can offer better customer support with a virtual assistant on Answers.
The future of omnichannel retailing
Omnichannel communications for retail experiences is essential for brands to survive in a competitive landscape. Consumer behaviors and expectations have changed – from viewing the digital side of your business as just another channel, to thinking about it as the front door.
The future of omnichannel retailing will be all about making every interaction conversational which will be driven by AI and machine learning. For many retailers, this is a new realm of technology that they haven’t conquered yet.
But we’ve got you covered.
Our experience in working with retail and eCommerce businesses and expertise in customer communications gives us an in-depth understanding of the retailer’s context, challenges, objectives, market, and solutions landscape. Meaning we can help you face the challenges of today and future-proof conversational solutions for tomorrow.