Four multichannel marketing strategies that deliver exceptional customer experiences

By Wilson Raj, Global Director for Customer Intelligence, SAS

To win customer loyalty today, you must provide a compelling customer experience that merges the physical and digital worlds. Why is it important? Multichannel customers spend three to four times more than single-channel customers.

But many companies have not dramatically changed their business processes and technologies to adjust to this reality.

Multichannel marketing is best understood as an operating model in which all of your channels are aligned so that you present a single face to the customer: a consistent, channel-independent way of doing business. This strategy replaces the many views of the customer with a unified view, enabling you to anticipate and proactively respond in a reliable, dependable way to customers’ ever-changing needs and higher expectations.

Shift from 'any-old-channel' marketing to true multichannel marketing

Because customers have more choices and more power, you’ll need new approaches and capabilities. You need to be ready, wherever your customers may want to engage with you.

Here are four multichannel strategies you can employ to make it easy for your customers to engage, buy and be loyal to you:

  • Aggregate and refine your brand’s digital presence. Make sure you are continuously optimizing web pages and A/B testing everything. Simply put, A/B testing compares two options in an empirical way to determine which is more effective. By testing various hypotheses, you can gather real data about customer behavior and then quickly make the changes to improve performance across digital touch points. The goal of A/B testing is an improved customer experience.       
  • Use mobile to connect the dots. You should also consider all the ways customers are reaching your site and optimize your pages accordingly. The mobile web has strengthened brands’ ability to connect and reach consumers at any time of the day. Want to connect better with your mobile customers? Here are some ideas to consider:
    • Encourage shoppers to scan products via your mobile app while brick-and-mortar shopping. Your annual digital marketing plan should focus heavily on mobile as you seek to close the gap between store, desktop and mobile.
    • Another way to enhance your mobile focus is to deploy in-store touch-screen shopping options to let customers self-checkout or perform simple but critical tasks like price checks and item availability.
    • Some big retailers have adopted a multichannel strategy that centers on adding a “store pickup” mobile app as part of their online shopping options to enhance the brick-and-mortar experience.
  • Invest in analytics and an operational platform geared to customer engagement. Data management will allow you to create a unified platform, and analytics will enable you to create, maintain and act upon a single view of the customer across all your channels. These technologies will help you support a continuous dialogue across the customer decision journey to:
    • Create richer customer profiles based on online and store data so you can make customer-specific offers.
    • Optimize each customer interaction by seeing the variables that provide a more successful outcome for you and your customer.
    • Automate your multichannel campaigns to make them more trackable and repeatable.
  • Create rich content. Your customers enter your store with all of your content (and that of your competitors) ensconced in their smartphones. And, more importantly, content from others about you in the form of reviews, tweets and other social media. You should optimize your content for context and strategic intent with a goal of enhancing the value of every customer interaction, and supporting a wide range of tactics to address branding, customer experience and performance objectives. This will help your customers to eliminate the noise and focus on relevant, pertinent content that truly aids them in their buying journey.

It’s all about the experience

Customer experience is fast becoming a key differentiator for competitive businesses. In fact, Deloitte reports that 92 percent of organizations that view customer experience as a differentiator offer multiple contact channels. To win, organizations must profitably shape the path to purchase and brand loyalty by embracing this new multichannel reality and gaining a detailed understanding of each customer’s journey.

To this end, successful customer experience leaders are the ones who view data, analytics and technologies as a unified digital business capability – to mirror the customer expectations of a unified relationship with the company, regardless of channels.

Wilson Raj is global customer intelligence director at SAS. He is responsible for collaborating with industry leaders, customers, and alliances, and sales, marketing, and product teams, to establish and evangelize SAS' customer intelligence solutions.

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