The future of the omnichannel experience

Would a single strategy work better?

Throughout 2014 we have witnessed a massive surge in digital technology, especially around mobile. As a result of these advances in digital and mobile technologies, today's businesses and brands have more marketing tools available to them than ever before.

However, these advancements are often outpacing an organisation's ability to interact, not only with their customers, but also with each other internally as there are so many tools at their disposal.

It is evident that those brands that focus on engagement via a single channel, such as email, social or mobile, can become leaders but it is this limited focus that disables a business' capabilities to provide a consistent unified experience to a consumer across a number of channels.

This year, we've seen many leading retailers strive to offer their customers a seamless omnichannel experience, investing heavily in upgrading their digital infrastructure in a bid to move closer to obtaining the mythical 'single customer view'. But is this really working in practice?

Over the past year we have seen many business that have created siloed environments, data points and analytics that drive consumer communication that is relative to just one channel, such as web, with no cross federation of customer data and profile analytics to another channel, such as the app.

For example, as a consumer, if I'm on my app, I receive communications based on what I do in my app. If I am on the website on my laptop, I receive an email, often post event, to recap on what I was looking at and suggest new things I should look at or do on the website. Occasionally l may see a pop up on the website which references what I am currently doing. Does this really sound like an omnichannel experience to you?

This apparent lack of an omnichannel experience is predominantly driven by the fact that companies are unable to "identify" users or people across all the interaction points and channels and understand what they do and what channels they use regularly in an aggregated view.

This aggregated view would allow businesses and brands to be able to instigate communications based on what users are doing across the entire digital estate. For example, if I were to do one thing via one channel, I would receive a communication across all channels or a specific channel relative to driving a marketing objective.

These interactions should take place in real time when the consumer is engaged and are accessing the brand. Of course interactions can take place "post event" but all metrics suggest real-time interactions increase conversions.

As a result, brands should be looking to create an aggregated view of their digital estate and the "people" that sit behind them, throughout 2015 and beyond. By having this information at their disposal, real personalisation can occur across channels. We believe that key to capturing the omnichannel consumer is this linked-up approach.

To ensure consistency, brands and businesses must connect multiple customer touch points and understand and communicate with people and not just the users of individual devices. All interactions will be driven by customer name not just behaviour allowing consolidation of data, CRM and analytics. This will allow true real-time and valued post event communications, which will in turn unify the experience.

By proxy this visibility will save significant investment around acquisition across channels as many times businesses and brands pay to acquire "people" that have already been acquired on another channel but just don't know it.

  • Paul Putman is the Chief Executive Officer, Donky