Insights 9 October 2019

Omni-Channel : Blurs the lines between Online and Offline.

Even though the digital world has made it possible for businesses and customers to connect through an online platform for an easy exchange of products and services, a singular working channel in the form of either online-only or offline-only might not always be the best functional approach. 

This stands true because in the present circumstances, the customers don’t usually choose to stick to only one platform or another. For example, they might browse online for a specific product or service they want, and then go approach the shop directly (offline) so they can make sure that the quality of the products at hand meet the specifications they were promised. On the other hand, some might go to the shops to look for the products they want, and then come back home and order them online because of the pricing or logistical advantages they might enjoy.

Therefore, putting together the advantages from both of these approaches in one place can help create an interesting seamless experience that will attract more customers. Consequently, the business can gain a competitive advantage over their peers by setting up an impressive all-encompassing system that will ensure long term customer satisfaction, which can then lead to positive word of mouth that can help propel the numbers even faster than before. By accumulating and processing all their data under a single management system, a modern business can enjoy steady growth by providing intuitive and well-informed services for their customers. 

What is “Omni – Channel”?

Omni-Channel strategy is the breaking down of the barrier between online and offline process, and blending them both together to provide the customers with a seamless, and highly effective user experience. The customers will receive their services in Real-Time – whether it be in the online or the offline platform. Ideally, the Omni-Channel experience is one that will be of the utmost convenience when it comes to accessing the products and services across different channels.

These channels will be working in unison to gather and process all the of the data and behavioural patterns of the customers so as to provide a unique experience for each customer, and reduce any form of discrepancies in the storage or processing of such data, yielding desirable results at each step of the way. The ultimate goal is to remove any sort of loopholes when it comes to the collection and analysis of customer data, to ensure successful interactions in the future. 

Omni-Channel-blurs the lines between online and offline

Things to consider when designing a fully- functional Omni-Channel experience 

Designing a fully-functioning Omni-Channel experience can be a complex undertaking. Therefore, businesses must prepare themselves in every way, and take the following precepts into consideration for the best results: 

  • Designing a working model with all round consistency

    Businesses must be aware of the information exchange that happens at each step of a transaction so as to be able to design a working model with all round consistency; such as the information needed to access the products, the platform layout, or the steps required in completing a transaction. This will ensure a uniformly working model that has constant reliability at each channel or location that is accessed. 

    For instance, if a customer decides to buy an insurance policy from an online source on their computer, they should not feel any form of nervousness or discomfort while trying to do the same thing from a mobile application; starting from filling out the basic questionnaires, making a query, or requesting the details of a particular insurance policy. The customers should feel like every channel they access is part of the same set of products and services. 

  • Utilizing Channel capabilities to bridge the gap between channels.

    Bridging the gap between each channel means that the business must focus on each step involved in the transaction so to remove any complications; consequently creating a smooth and seamless functioning experience. For instance, if a customer has contracted to purchase an insurance policy from the company website but hasn’t made the payment yet, they should be able to make the same required payment if they decided to switch over to their mobile application, without having to start the registration process all over again. 

  • Data Integration and Utilization

    All the data collected from every transaction within each channel must be rounded up and cross-referenced (integrated) so that they can be accessed and utilized in the future.

  • Using customer data to personalize their experiences. 

    By studying all the data that we collect from the customers – whether it be personal information they filled, the questionnaires they answered with the company Call Center, their browsing history, or the product trends gathered from their Live Chats in the past – a business can then fully understand their customers’ behaviors, and consequently personalize and provide the type of user experience that the customer may enjoy. There are a few ways a business can personalize the customer experience, such as offering a specific promotion based on the queries of the customers, creating a ‘favorites’ section for their regular transactions, or filling in the customer’s contact information on their behalf to avoid having them do it every time they perform a transaction. 

  • Designing IT Systems to support total integration.

    For every functioning unit to be connected, there has to be an improvement in the structure of the IT systems so as to allow each channel to access and collect data in Real-time. If the customer submits a request for changing their personal information in the CRM system with the Call Center, the changes made should appear at every interface that the customer comes in contact with; be it on the mobile application, the company website, LINE application etc. 

  • Controlling costs to maximize returns on investment.

    Controlling costs is another important aspect of investment. Since companies cannot always improve all the systems in their business at the same time, they must control their costs, prioritize, and cleverly allocate funds to the most crucial functions in their organization, so as to receive the maximum returns on their investment, and also enjoy a steadily growing customer base in the future. 

The Omni-Channel approach can change the business world by integrating online and offline systems. 

Pomelo Pick Up : This pertains to consumer behaviour when it comes to trying and selecting a dress. A customer can select their desired dress through an application, and then make their way to the outlet to either try the dress, or pick it up without having to pay in advance. Once they have tested the products, they can opt to buy only the ones that they really like. This solves the problems that arise from product unavailability and customer indecisiveness. 

Fitting Room Booking : A customer need not stand in a queue and wait to use fitting room anymore because they can go into the store and ask for a waiting ticket. While they’re waiting, they can walk around and look at other products displayed inside the store. When it’s their turn, they can then step into the fitting room and try on the clothing of their choice. This removes the problem of people leaving the store without making a purchase because of lengthy queue lines. 

Personal Stylist : This works well for customers who need assistance while making a purchase. They simply need to inform the store employee of their requirements, make an appointment with them, and they can help the customers mix & match the outfits based on their specifications. 

Digital Checkout : With Digital checkout, the customer can just use the store’s application to scan the tags on the outfits so they can pay for them without having to wait in the cashier queue or use cash. This helps in minimizing waiting time and can be carried out instantly at the customer’s convenience.  

In Conclusion: Why Omni-Channel strategy is the answer for total customer satisfaction.

What’s undeniable is that, when it comes to business transactions, it’s important to adopt a customer centric approach. In the world of stiff business competition, one can observe that in every facet of any industry, companies are always looking to develop solutions that can effectively attend to the needs of the customers – giving them the kind of user experience that is beyond anything they have ever known. Anybody who can provide such a fulfilling experience can often create a base of customers who show a great deal of brand loyalty – which adds value to the products and services of the company.

Therefore, adopting the Omni-Channel strategy for your business can prove beneficial in helping you adapt to the changing consumer trends, and it can help elevate your business to the kind of stature that keeps you well seated in the hearts of your customers.