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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Understanding Omni-channel marketing

Cross-Channel, Omni-Channel, Multi-Channel -- all these are jargons you here in today's world especially when the discussion is around digital space. Often when we say omni channel or cross channel, we refer to the various digital  channels available for promotion of content. A recent discussion with one of the leading market players in omni-channel customer experience domain poked my interest to learn more about this industry.

What is Omni-Channel customer experience?

You get digital product shelves at a super market instead of actual ones. Customers scan the product they want using QR code. At the end of shopping, the products are delivered automatically at the cash counter! That's omni channel customer experience. You think this is a fiction? Check this video of how Tesco created a virtual supermarket in South Korea.

So Omni channel is not (just) the regular digital marketing; its about utilizing digital platforms for enhancing customer experience - be it store experience, promotional channels, post sales encounters. As you might have guesses, retail is the industry that has spearheaded this notion. With mobile becoming the new platform for everything starting from purchase to social networking; Omni-channel marketing has paved way for retailers to creatively engage with customers  and induce purchase behavior. True omni-channel marketing may start from analyzing present customer purchase behavior to call center integration to comprehensive using integrated marketing communications channels to in-store/kiosks based options. The core to managing an omni channel marketing is setting up a foundation for data flow through-out.

How do you design an omni-channel customer experience?

Starting point is to chart our the customer journey. Moments of truth or consumer touch points along the journey is another factor to bring in. Understanding the touch points is crucial to tweak the expeiecnce a consumer may encounter with (it may be technical as a mobile app or very old attitude of store manager!) Social and digital channels have moved away customer journey from a linear path to a convoluted one.  The second aspect to omni-channel marketing is providing a consistent experience through out - be it the messaging or branding. Clubbing online and offline channels to complement each other is the key. I consider omni-channel marketing to be a culmination of personalization, digital and offline experience.


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