Has It Become Inherently Harder to Know the Omnichannel Customer?

Earlier, customer journeys were simple, like a store trip. Not anymore. Modern consumers are far more connected and hyper-aware, and they come with higher expectations after traversing complex journeys and desire tailored personalized experiences. 

The Age of the Customer, an age where customer experiences are the primary influencers of profitability and business success, is upon us. This makes delivering holistic, fulfilling, intuitive, customized, and consistent experiences across all channels non-negotiable.

Customer journeys today span channels. They engage with brands in multiple ways, from social media, mobile, web applications, e-commerce, aggregator portals, etc., and are comfortable with it.

Thus, paying attention to omnichannel strategies in a relationship-centric economy to drive elevated customer experiences becomes a strategic business imperative. The demand for online experiences must match offline ones. 

The Need to Drive Unified Customer Experiences

Customer engagement is the final frontier to building and sustaining customer relationships. This becomes especially true owing to the rise of the subscription-based business model that offers customers greater flexibility and options. 

Understanding customer behavior and levels of engagement towards products and brands help businesses identify ways to keep a customer loyal. A solid customer engagement strategy needs granular insights into the customer habits, thoughts, preferences, mode of engagement, pain points, and every other factor that influences their decision-making process. 

Consider these elements:

  • The customer is exposed to far more brand voices today owing to the evolution of digital communication and the rise of multiple engagement channels.
  • Customers are buying online but opting for in-store pick-ups.
  • They are using social media to make purchases. Web and mobile apps continue to be engagement channels.
  • Most Gen Z customers do not even think of traditional channels to engage with brands and products and evaluate these based on the seamlessness of their experience. 

Based on this qualitative understanding, organizations can constantly adjust their messaging and offerings to reflect changing customer needs. They can personalize approaches, regionalize them and make them relevant in a customer-centric world. The need to drive unified customer experiences across channels is as important as keeping up with the pace of change and delivering them. But there’s a catch.

Complexity Introduced by Omnichannel Engagement

The rise of so many channels and different customer journeys of the same customer and changing demographics make it hard to map the omnichannel customer. These factors also make it harder for brands to deliver omnichannel excellence.

Omnichannel experience excellence comes from the ability to drive contextual and relevant value creation. For this, it becomes critical to understand which part of the omnichannel experience to prioritize. This can only be achieved with granular clarity into customer preferences and an understanding of how cross-channel connections influence and drive the buying experience.

Customer demands are also changing rapidly. According to the State of the Connected Customer report, 64% of customers use multiple devices to start and complete a single transaction. Be it in-store or online, more than three-quarters of customers expect a brand to speak with one voice. For businesses, this means developing the mechanisms to keep their finger on the pulse of the customer to identify value creation opportunities.

The Road Ahead

Real-time insights into the tone, sentiment, requirements, conversations, locations, preferences, and customer thoughts are critical to driving differentiated customer experiences. But it has become inherently harder to know the exact needs of omnichannel customers. 

With the business landscape becoming increasingly competitive, omnichannel personalization now must go much beyond rudimentary retargeting and lookalike segmentation. Clear digital insights are crucial to help brands thrive in a rapidly evolving digital landscape that constantly influences customer opinions, desires, and wishes.

To deliver improved, elevated, intuitive, personalized, and contextual customer experiences that deliver value, businesses must clearly understand their customers. For this, companies need to:

  • Create clear user personas based on demographics, behavior, transaction & browsing history, & enrich these cohorts with added data layers.
  • Unify all data sources to create a single view of the customer
  • Remove ambiguities in demand forecasting using technologies such as AI and ML and deliver personalized messages and offers
  • Gauge the market outlook and customer sentiments with data to identify elusive and hard-to-approach micro-cohorts of users 

Looking at the Solution

To achieve the above and gain a clear understanding of all customers, businesses need a comprehensive solution that helps them:

  • Identify where the brand stands versus where it wants to be positioned.
  • Test creatives and messaging with a closed group before launching it to the masses to get better results.
  • Identify industry trends and the evolving user needs proactively.
  • Track competitor positioning and assess what helps competitors get more customer mind space.
  • Assess if advertising and branding activities are impactful and identify the elements that are not sticking with the customers.

Altogether, a comprehensive consumer insights tool becomes a critical addition to the organizational toolkit to pick up the voice of the customer from the market, irrespective of the channel, and make informed decisions quickly. Such a tool consumer insight tool can be leveraged to create intuitive surveys and serve them as engaging advertisements to get answers to relevant questions. 

Insight tools such as Ask1 help shape products, messaging, and positioning that resonate better with the customer. With Ask1

  • Businesses save time and money to reach the audience that matters. 
  • They can leverage constantly updated, deterministic and probabilistic identifiers that capture real-time behavioral, contextual, demographic, and geographic data against 1 billion+ users. 
  • They can also employ ready-to-launch use cases already tested by brands across industries to engage with customers with greater assurance.

In a Nutshell

Today, customers’ needs evolve constantly. Digital maturity has added complexity to omnichannel engagements. Improving customer understanding with insights that matter emerges as a significant factor that drives competitive differentiation and brand loyalty and helps create brand stickiness. Those who can navigate this shift will enjoy customer fidelity and remain in the minds of the customer for all the right reasons.