By: Nick Worth, chief marketing officer at Selligent.
In this new world of hyper-connected consumers, creating a seamless multichannel experience is critical. Improve how your brand engages with its customers across various screens by learning from the errors of others.
You’re in your doctor’s waiting room, browsing for flights to Los Angeles on your phone. You’ve logged in and found a flight that you want to book, but before you can reach for your credit card, the nurse calls you in for your appointment. By the time you get back to your office, you’ve forgotten most of the details and simply restarted the search on your PC. As a marketer, you intuitively know this is a missed opportunity to provide a better omnichannel experience.
Industry research shows that consumers expect consistency across multiple screens. You might have a mobile marketing strategy, use location data, and more, but your consumers are always one step ahead. To ensure your company’s multichannel capabilities fare better, start by avoiding these common mistakes:
1. You don’t recognize your customer on a different screen
If your customer jumps across screens, you need to be right there with them. Take the travel site for example – they need to know most recent searches across devices to facilitate the purchase process.
What is the typical hindrance for solving this problem? Trying to put every consumer data point into one database.
The best way to overcome such a challenge is to think small; create a single view of your customer. When creating programs to upsell loyal buyers, know that you only need their most recent purchase and browsing history – don’t worry about customer service records right away.
Ask for only a portion of a customer record from your partner marketing channels and update more frequently. If your teams can’t align, try a probabilistic partner.
2. You stink at device recognition
Ok, so now you know who is on your site, but do you know how they are accessing it or where they are?
At a basic level, if someone navigates to your site on a mobile device but the site’s pages are same size across all devices, the pages will take forever to load.
Pages that are slow to load will drive potential consumers away from your site, so it’s important the site’s design is agile enough to translate well on a variety of devices from tablets, to mobile phones, to desktop computers. Sites also must be flexible enough to adjust in ways that facilitate important activities like logging in or using drop-downs across multiple screens.
For more sophisticated marketers, knowing that a consumer is not only on their mobile device, but that they are also in your store or even in a competitor’s store, increases your odds of getting the sale.
According to a report by eMarketer, 90% of consumers report buying something on their phone while in a brick-and-mortar store. Target takes it a step further by using beacons to connect to shoppers who have opted-in by sending relevant promotions.
3. You’re not using responsive design
Every screen is different, so your pages should be too – to an extent. Google’s recent change to their algorithm provided a strong motivation for many sites to upgrade their mobile site, but not everyone has created a truly responsive site. A recent survey by Pure Oxygen Labs found that only one in five top retailers have a responsive website.
When someone opens an email, it’s great if you pull in local information to share the address of your nearest store, but what if the image is too difficult to read on most smartphones? Problems like this as well as links that are too small to actually click on, menus that are too large to fit on a screen, and videos that fail to play are all common symptoms of non-responsive sites. An unresponsive site can not only hurt your brand’s search traffic, but it also stops consumers just as they attempt to engage, which turns them off of your brand.
4. You’re not optimizing for consumer preferences
Many marketers still have yet to create fully-fledged SMS programs, in spite of the fact that consumers are reading mobile messages more often and convert more frequently via mobile offers.
Though not everyone may want texts from your brand, younger customers are more inclined to have mobile-first or mobile-only attitudes when it comes to digital brand interactions. Therefore it is likely that these customers may want to exclusively engage with you via text messaging.
Rather than having to ask, it’s best if you can track your customer’s preferences and adjust automatically. Making this change is worth it simply for the significant boost in engagement rates that you can anticipate.
5. You have lags during critical processes
Every company has a few things they need to do more efficiently; banks need to efficiently process consumer’s money and stores need to perfect the shopping cart journey.
If you’re getting POS sales data weekly, you’ve just lost a critical week to upsell with an email and you have no chance of using location-based data accurately while they’re in the store.
The key rectifying this is to determine which customer journeys are the most common, and where you’re missing opportunities to create more seamless experiences. For instance, research from Market Realist illustrates how Nordstrom aggregates all its online and offline inventory information.
Nordstrom’s approach ultimately allows its customers to instantly get the products they want, regardless of how they are interacting with the store.
By focusing on the most common consumer experience issues and starting with small changes that make large impacts, you will undoubtedly create a better multichannel experience for your consumers.
Nick Worth has more than two decades of experience as a marketing and strategy leader in the U.S. and Europe. He began his career in market research and then moved to a global management consultancy, where he specialized in B2B marketing. After participating on the Selligent Executive Advisory Board for only a year, Nick became the company’s first Chief Marketing Officer in 2014. Currently in this position, he designs global go-to-market activities. Nick is also a graduate of Harvard University and has a master’s degree from Oxford University.