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The True Power of Omni-Channel

Posted on 29th August 2019 in category Blog

Customer journeys are difficult to predict and change quickly. Many traditionally built technologies force how you define the customer journey and can be further constrained by your internal systems and processes.

With Enactor, the customer journey focuses on a number of interaction points that are service based, either assisted or unassisted by your staff. Enactor easily connects e-commerce transaction information with all customer facing devices and channels.

That means your customer journeys can be defined by the customer’s desired goal or outcome, as opposed to how your company is structured.

Gartner lists Enactor in their “Digital Business Ready” applications for comprehensive unified commerce.

What’s driving omni channel adoption?

According to Google 98% of Americans switch between devices in the same day, compare that to 15 years ago when the average consumer used two touch-points when purchasing and now uses an average of almost four (Marketing Week). Google also revealed that 71% of shoppers who use smartphones for research in-store say it’s an important part of the experience.

This in turn is shaping consumer expectations, according to Zendesk 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a seamless experience, and 35% want to be able to contact a customer service representative via any channel.

Accenture found that a significant 89% of customers get frustrated having to repeat their issues to multiple representatives and PWC have stated that by 2020 the demand for an omnichannel customer experience will be amplified by the need for almost perfect execution.

Related to these expectations is the fact that 45% of shoppers expect in-store staff to be knowledgeable about online only products and 71% agree that it is important or very important to be able to view inventory information for in-store products (Forrester).

What are the implications of omni channel?

Firstly, the implications of not adopting omni channel can be significant. 39% of consumers are unlikely or very unlikely to visit a retailer’s store if the online store does not provide physical store inventory information.

27% of consumers would also be very likely to leave and visit another retailer’s store if a product is out of stock and with 21% saying they would buy online from a different retailer.

The benefits of omni channel are proven, according to the Aberdeen Group companies with a strong omni channel engagement see a 9.5% year-on-year increase in annual revenue, compared to a weak 3.4% for companies not adopting omni channel. Similarly the stronger companies see a 7.% decrease in cost per contact year-on-year compared to 0.2% for the weaker companies.

What are the challenges of delivering omni channel?

Omni channel requires the ability to access customer and product information quickly, in real-time. In order to meet consumer expectations, this has to be seamless across online and in-store and for customers and staff.

Ultimately the goal should be to eliminate uncertainty from the service experience:

“Reducing uncertainty is the one of the most impactful ways organizations can provide low-effort customer interactions in a multichannel environment,” “Uncertainty in the service experience is the underlying reason for much of the frustration and disappointment customers experience.”
Pete Slease, principal executive advisor, Gartner

According to Gartner, there are four areas that should be focused on in order to improve the customer experience:

  • Channel Consistency
  • Service Continuity
  • Customer Recognition
  • Relationship History

The difficulty in delivering these initiatives is that the underlying technology is often multi-vendor, aged and inflexible and won’t adapt to modern consumer expectations or takes too long to deliver new service offerings. Typically, organisations begin to tackle the problem with point to point integration, but this quickly becomes a maintenance challenge, and requires more and more work to adapt to new services and initiatives further reducing time to innovation.

This approach also leads to a lack of a single place to go to in order to a) define and change customer journeys and b) to find the information needed.

Micro web services offer a convenient way to build connections between online, in-store and the supply chain information. Innovative services can be quickly deployed across all customer facing channels with no limits on what information can be provided and acted upon.