Which is the right approach for your brand and customers: a multi channel, cross channel or omni channel experience?Remember the days when customers could only interact with a brand in one of three methods: by picking up the phone, sending mail or visiting the physical store? The Internet and emerging and advancing technologies have completely changed all of that—resulting in a multitude of new channels and devices consumers can use to interact with a brand at any given time.This has also resulted in new terminology when it comes to referring to how, where, and when a customer interacts with a brand. This terminology centers on the types of channels customers can use as a touchpoint. These can include mobile apps, social media pages, in-store experiences, websites, etc. Any method in which a customer can interact with a brand is considered a channel.
All three of these approaches have their benefits and challenges, but only one is the clear choice if you want to provide customers with the best possible experience.
A multi-channel experience provides communications across a wide variety of consumer-facing channels. This can include in-store experiences, websites, interactive voice response, email, apps—between businesses and consumers. However, this approach often focuses on providing more options because they are available rather than focusing on what makes sense from a customer standpoint.This approach often looks like disparate marketing efforts via social, mobile, where a company delivers different messages and different promotions to consumers depending on the channel.Benefits:
When compared to the multi-channel experience, cross channel is more concerned with putting the customer first. A cross-channel experience bridges the gap between the various channels businesses use to interact with customers, providing a more seamless experience.An example of a cross-channel strategy in action would be a customer who orders clothes online (via mobile app) after trying them on in-person.Benefits:
A step above cross-channel, this experience integrates the various channels and incorporates the needs and desires of the customer to determine the best mode of interaction. This allows customers the ability to act and transact how they prefer.Here’s an example of how an omni-channel experience works in action: A customer shops in the store, purchases on a mobile device, receives a request from the brand asking for feedback on the purchase (triggered by a post-purchase email), and that feedback is then used to create a more seamless experience moving forward. Service providers can use customer data to detect patterns among those customers to determine where dropoff occurs. This will enable them to proactively communicate with customers in a smart, unique way in order to prevent future dropoff.Benefits
With the rising popularity of virtual and augmented reality and other new, emerging technologies, the amount of channels available to consumers will only become increasingly more complex and dynamic in the coming years. Now is the time to transition into an omni channel approach in order to best serve the customer and provide them with the types of experiences they want.