Evergage, instead of looking at the perspective of customers, aimed one of their surveys at—how companies witness personalization affects their internal metrics and KPIs (including conversion rates and profits).

The results were something like this—98% of marketers see how personalization advances customer relationships. Among those, 74% agree on personalization having a strong or extreme impact. Further, 53% experience increases over 10% in their main KPIs.

So, if you’ve made your decision on investing more time and efforts on omnichannel personalization—it’s a good decision made!

The unprecedented convergence of retail and eCommerce in the past years has been continually transforming how B2C brands reach, communicate and engage with the consumers.

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Consumer expectations are increasingly evolving with the availability of new and innovative channel solutions in the marketplace. Meeting consumer expectations is possible through delivering a superior experience across all channels by employing industry-specific expertise and knowledge.

In response to which, successful consumer goods and retail companies are steadily adapting by embracing omnichannel personalization in order to strengthen their relationship with shoppers across multiple channels by sharing relevant content.

This “me-commerce” or personalizing the experience for every customer, during every interaction, across every touchpoint, has become a key differentiating opportunity for businesses to get more customer-centric, boost—conversions, engagement, and lifetime value.

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What is omnichannel personalization?

Omnichannel personalization is a technique that involves offering customers a cohesive, seamlessly relevant buyer’s journey across channels:

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Increasingly, customers expect to be recognized at every step of their path to purchase, no matter where they are. This is not simply identifying your customer on a social media channel like Instagram and serving them relevant content based on the posts they’ve interacted with previously. In an omnichannel strategy, the buyer is recognized no matter where they are — be it Instagram, email, or in-store — and served content based on the sum of their interactions on other channels.

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The difference between omnichannel and multichannel

While most brands struggle to implement omnichannel, at the very least, they have a multi-channel marketing strategy. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but they’re not the same.

Multichannel Marketing

Multichannel is a strategy that emphasizes being where your customers are. That includes your website, email, certain social media platforms, specific publishers, etc. If your brand has an established presence on multiple channels, you are running a multi-channel marketing strategy.

Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichannel is a step up from multichannel marketing. With this strategy, marketers attempt to make their multichannel approach more relevant by seamlessly integrating the channels they’re present on:

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For example, if someone expresses interest in a particular product on your website, retargeting them on their favorite social media platform can draw them back. If they buy it, they may receive email promotions for similar or complementary items.

Steps to Achieve Omnichannel Personalization

In another survey ‘Power of Me’ by Epsilon (2017), it was found out that 80% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a company that offers a personalized experience.

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While each phase of omnichannel personalization can vary depending on the objectives, resources and where a business stands in their omnichannel integration, there are however some patterns on how retailers usually proceed with this approach—

Phase 1 – Web and Email Personalization

This one’s usually the quickest avenue to revenue. It is quite easy to implement web and email personalization. They also tend to have a well-defined key performance indicator and therefore can easily be the starting point.

Phase 2 – Targeted Content and Contextual Segments

Content such as hero shots, videos, blogs and offers targeted to individual customer’s interests often comes next. In a combination with this marketers also leverage contextual information to segment experiences based on several factors. These factors can be—geography, weather, etc. with which one can further target contents and offers, adding another layer to personalization.

Phase 3 – Mobile Personalization

Another thing that is often a big focus would be to hone the experience of web personalization for on-the-go shoppers by implementing mobile and tablet specific personalization strategies. The identifier captured for web and email can also be utilized to align the mobile channel. This will also allow data sharing within and across channels for a seamless experience.

Phase 4 – In-Store Personalization

With the mobile strategy in place, extending personalization in-store comes as a natural step. Arming sales associates with tablets for introducing kiosk and digital displays for the clients is one of the quickest ways to pull personalization in brick-and-mortar stores.

Phase 5 – Contact Centre Personalization

This one mostly comes in at a later stage. Here what needs to be done is—pulling online and phone-based customer service agents into the mix with a view of offers and product recommendations relevant to each customer.

Part of the value of the new digital tools and backend coordination comes in their ability to reset the informational balance to favor company associates who have been losing the informational battle to customers who are oftentimes better-informed than even a store associate about the store’s services and product line.

Ways to Improve Your Omnichannel Personalization

Speaking at Meet Magento New York, Michael Gentleman of Fresh Relevance said on omnichannel personalization—“We have to leverage what we know about our customers and develop their profiles based on what we can put together over time. Agility is challenging in marketing. Don’t get stuck trying to do ‘spot on’ marketing. Marketers tend to be two steps behind consumers – so stay focused on getting ahead of the next channel, and don’t just adapt [after the fact].”

When it comes to personalization, you, as a brand need to think big and start small. Following are given ways to give a nice boost to your omnichannel personalization strategy.

Personalize even for Unknown Visitors

It is an established observation by marketers that out of 100 visitors visiting your website at any given time, only one or two actually make a purchase. This corresponds to the average 1.2% conversion rate for e-commerce websites.

Personalize even for Unknown Visitors
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Further, if one tries to improve conversion only by introducing website personalization, the chances are high for them to run into a brick wall. This is because the vast majority of the site visitors are anonymous—i.e. they are not logged in or are visiting the site for the first time.

This share of anonymous visitors tends to go as high as 8,095 percent. These anonymous consumers have not as yet shopped with you or haven’t even shared their data but they would still be expecting for a good experience.

As a matter of fact, this first impression needs to be greater than any (you know what they say!).

In this case, it is a good idea to use cookies to be able to determine their search behaviors and further be able to deliver an appropriate mix of personalized content. This is will help you with at least not starting from scratch.

Put the Customer Experience First

Before starting with anything else, it is important for you as a marketer to have a mindset that is committed to doing what’s best for customers rather than doing what’s best for you.

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You’ll find marketers unanimously agree on being customer-centric but this is usually in the theory because it can actually be hard to execute the idea across the company.

This is why omnichannel marketing requires you to break down silos and understand what each department in your firm is doing.

A good start can be speaking with people at your company across every level. Understand the reasoning behind each action. By being able to understand the needs of your co-workers in addition to your customers is set to put you on the path to success.

When doing this you will also get insights on how to overcome potential internal-objectives to an omnichannel approach. Use this opportunity to be able to collaborate and at the same time be ready for suggestions from other departments.

Prioritize Accurate Inventory

If you are planning to provide a seamless transition—right from online purchase to offline pick-up—simply means that you must keep your inventory accurate. In case a customer takes the time to come pick-up an item in your store—it should strictly be ensured that they don’t have to wait for it.

It is important to understand that someone has spent time on finding the product, logging-in on the website, entering their payment card details—they are expecting the product to be available for them to buy.

It is annoying to a great extent if they complete their purchase process only to receive an email in another hour saying that the product isn’t available.

Therefore, maintain a proper inventory and eliminate any such confusions that totally leads to losing a customer.

Take a Data-Driven Approach

As is pretty much clear by now—omnichannel marketing essentially is about understanding your customers. This further boils down to utilizing the data you have.

It is always a good idea to use whatever first-party data you have as you might not know to possess more data than you think. Use data to anticipate your customer’s needs and reduce churn. Compile all first-party data across multiple sources.

This is the key to understanding your customers and they interact with your brand.

After you have constructed complete customer profiles that aggregate your customers’ unique preferences, brands interaction, and habits, it is time to take that information to the next level. It is always wise not to assume to automatically know who your target market is.

Segment your Audience and Map their Journey

Now that you have an idea on the very first step of compiling data and uncovering insights into who your customers are, it is time to segment them into groups and further understand their path to purchase.

You’ll have to look for patterns. When looking for ways to the segment you can think of things like—

  • Who has lapsed and why?
  • Who is loyal? Are there any similarities in their demographics?
  • Are there any patterns in renewals and repeat purchase?
  • How often does a customer purchase? Is it once a month, or once a year?

Once you have the information as above, you can start nurturing them with messages that focus on their buying patterns.

Further, when observing a buyer’s journey, it is imperative to understand where the particular prospect is in the marketing funnel.  Meaning—if a buyer is at the top of the funnel, you can’t be sending him/her with mid-funnel messages.

Offer Help at the Right Time in the Right Way

When someone is committed to purchase, it is best to not to stand in their way. If you have already gone through with the process, you are surely aware of the pains that omnichannel personalization causes.

Businesses usually tend to ‘offer help’ under the mask of increasing their own goals. But it is important to remember that:

  • No customer wants a ‘sales pitch’ as help.
  • When they do desire help-they like it to be convenient

There exist businesses that automate the customer service process using pop-ups. This can be an example of help that is not always wanted by people.

As your product or service evolves, so will the problems customer will have to deal with. If our automated system does not give an option for help with a certain issue, you’re making your customer experience a bad one.

Many customers now seek support on social media. For an effective omnichannel experience marketers recommend integrating social media and live chat for a customer support experience that is truly supportive.strategy

You must make it easy for customers to contact you across all channels and get the assistance they need. Don’t, however, offer any help that is not wanted or needed.

Build Trust by Respecting your Customers’ Privacy

Although customers are typically ready to give their name and email to receive personalized offers, they are at the same time aware that this data is valuable to the retailers and hence expect transparency on what this information is further being used for.

Transparency is actually the key to building trust in an omnichannel world. Therefore, you need to make sure that you are articulating exactly what the data is being collected, stored and shared for.

If you need any sensitive information from the prospects you must explain why and provide protections to ensure customers feel more comfortable.

It must also be kept in mind that the more sensitive the information the lower the conversion rates. Therefore, be strategic and prioritize the information you need. This will not only help you with creating a successful omnichannel experience but also for building superior customer experience.  

Omnichannel Personalization: A Conclusion

Consumers are increasingly beginning to expect more targeted communications that are tailored to their interests, rather than a one size fits all communication that doesn’t speak to them personally.

This is easily reflected in the engagement rates on personalized emails, which are higher than batch sends. And most of the shoppers are willing to share their personal information if they benefit from it. And this benefit happens to be omnichannel personalization.

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