You’ve probably heard the term “omnichannel marketing” or “omnichannel retailing” to describe tactics to reach buyers across digital platforms. The idea is simple: you’re appealing to one human mind, so you need to deliver one cohesive brand experience. But consumers are getting pickier and have higher standards than ever. It’s not enough to just have an online store. Buyers expect online shopping experiences to cater to their individual needs. In fact, new data from e-tailing group says 53% of consumers say it’s important that retailers recognize them as the same person across all channels and devices that they use to shop. That’s where omnichannel personalization enters the picture and here’s how to do it, with inspiration from 3 different industries:
1. Think 'Hospitality First'
The best online experiences provide concierge-like technology and services. With this level of attention, buyers ‘go home’ happier, with products they love and strong emotional experiences with your brand. To meet this need, you need to think like the greatest minds in hospitality—a high-end hotel, for instance, that offers services like ticket-purchasing, in-room dining, customized tours, and equipment rentals for convenience.
For a good example, take a look at Redfin. This real estate website and mobile app provides a free suite of cross-platform tools that help make the homebuying process easy. Users can explore available inventory, save their favorite homes, and manage their open house schedules—and the experience is cohesive across devices.
These tools build trust while guiding buyers into a ‘buying funnel’ that includes mortgage loans and agent services. Using data from its suite of free tools, Redfin can tailor its product experiences to home buyers’ exact preferences. Hospitality provides Redfin with an opportunity to learn about its customers and deliver more tailored products and services.
2. Be Context-Driven
Consumers use different devices for different reasons. On the desktop, for instance, they are generally seeking to be productive. On mobile, they may be looking to kill time, quickly complete a task, or make more out of mini-moments. You need to make the most out of the very different contexts in which buyers are engaging with your company. With omnichannel personalization, you can strategically tailor the experience and your messaging based on intent and the device.
As one example, take a look at online auction marketplace eBay. The platform has a mobile app that buyers can use to organize their bidding activity. Using this app, shoppers can request push notifications for when auctions are about to end. Meanwhile, the site’s desktop experience makes it easy to window shop and search for specific products.
eBay has identified what makes the user experience (UX) optimal on both desktop and mobile. As a result, the company can more effectively target audiences across devices. The end goal? Provide the best customer experience across devices.
3. Be Attentive
Across browsing and buying channels, one fact holds true: shoppers want relevant, targeted information in real time, but they don’t want to feel bombarded with information or ‘over-sold.’ Rather than relying on assumptions about what your audiences want, you need to actively collect feedback to make sure that your real-time targeting and personalization strategies are on-point.
For instance, Curiosity.com’s mobile app asks its users what time of day they prefer to receive push notifications. The website specializes in connecting audiences with interesting, bite-sized learning content. But rather than assuming when and how often users want content, Curiosity prefers to listen and learn.
The takeaway from Curiosity is clear: marketers and product managers should be sensitive to their customers’ preferences and needs. This level of empathy, while subtle, can differentiate a great omnichannel personalization strategy from one that is ‘just okay.’
The Bottom Line
Omnichannel personalization is about empowering your audiences to succeed – whenever and wherever they want. Your best strategy will evolve from a process of listening and learning: empathy is everything, especially when you’re looking to deliver tailored, to-the-point messaging in real time. The experiences that you provide need to be impeccable. After all, people have one mind – your UX should take that into account. Effective omnichannel personalization forces you to think about your audiences and the context for their interactions, a prerequisite for delivering great customer experiences!