We live in a world where consumers want to engage with brands across multiple channels along the buyer’s journey. To satisfy the expectations of today’s customer, retailers must create a winning omnichannel customer experience if they wish to remain competitive in today’s market. The process of putting expectations first requires new systems and technologies that allow brands to create seamless customer engagements across different devices, media channels and screens.
When Brands Fail to Invest in the Omnichannel Customer Experience
Sears’ descent into bankruptcy shows what can happen when retailers fail to invest in an omnichannel customer experience (CX). The 126-year-old retail giant held steady growth for more than a century and was once the nation’s largest retailer. Sears dominated the retail market for decades with tactics like innovative product advertising, consumer education and corporate branding, even during economic downturns. But even giants fall. Despite having previously survived many market calamities throughout its history, Sears found itself in the throes of bankruptcy in late 2018, during a period of economic expansion. Sears didn’t fail because they fell behind on technology; in fact, they were one of the pioneers of the online retail space. Website functionality is certainly important for retailers, but the offline-to-online customer experience is ultimately what matters most.
In today’s highly competitive market, retailers need to meet customers where they are and get their attention.
In today’s highly competitive market, retailers need to meet customers where they are and get their attention. Customers won’t be compelled to buy from you if they don’t feel a connection with your brand. This is where Sears failed; they did a great job of staying current on technology but did little to build relationships with their multichannel customers. The downfall of Sears offers three important lessons for retailers.
Remember the Golden Rule in Retail: The Customer Is Always Right
Sears forgot the golden rule of retail: the customer is always right. Only your customers can tell you what they want from your brand, and what they want today is a personalized experience that occurs seamlessly across every channel.
A recent study by Washington University’s Olin Business School found that 40 percent of today’s Fortune 500 companies will be defunct in just 10 years. Staying in for the long haul requires brands to make omnichannel CX a top priority. That means knowing what your customers want before your competitors do.
Change the Customer Experience from Multichannel to Omnichannel
Traditional marketing uses a multichannel approach, which segments media campaigns by channel, such as linear television and digital media. The problem with this approach is that it creates silos in which data sets are disconnected from each other. Today’s brands must move toward a people-based marketing strategy, where the customer is the central focus.
A people-based marketing strategy requires you to first gain a clear picture of how your customers interact with your brand across each channel and touch point. You can find most of this information in your first party data, which comes directly from your customers. This type of data generally provides reliable information about your key audiences and how they engage with your brand. However, first party data is only as powerful as your ability to collect it, analyze it and make it actionable.
Invest in Omnichannel Marketing Technologies
New data technologies that help connect the dots between your online and offline touch points are becoming increasingly important for retailers. Systems for managing omnichannel customer data like Audience Management Platforms (AMP) give brands a complete 360-degree view of customer engagements, from your in-store traffic at brick-and-mortar locations to online shoppers visiting your e-commerce websites. These insights help retailers tailor messaging to the people who matter most – your existing and potential customers.
Interested in exploring data management solutions for your business? Download our Checklist: How to Select the Right Data Management Tools for Your Business
The Aberdeen Group reports that businesses with strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain 89 percent of their customers compared to only 33 percent for companies with weak omnichannel strategies. To be competitive in this market, brands must realign their business operations and implement infrastructure changes that can drive sales by attracting and retaining customers. Sears offers a clear example of what can happen to companies that don’t put customers first. Only time will tell if Sears can pull off the turnaround it needs to recover, but its ultimate fate now rests in the hands of former Chairman Eddie Lampert. In February 2019, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved Lampert’s $5.2 billion-dollar bid to buy Sears out of bankruptcy.
While Sears struggles to regain a foothold in the market, major competitors like Target and Walmart are doubling down on their investments in technology to connect CX across their brick-and-mortar shops and e-commerce stores. Their investments reflect how important it is for retailers to meet the expectation of today’s consumers who want a seamless CX across every channel.
Wingman media’s audience management platform, haloAMP is a powerful media planning tool that helps create an omnichannel CX across every media channel, screen and device. Contact us today to learn more about how haloAMP can supercharge your omnichannel media strategy.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column] [/et_pb_row] [/et_pb_section]