Look Before You Leap: Improving the Multichannel Experience

We’ve all done it: on the train, in the waiting area, enjoying a cup of coffee, or while browsing our phones. Then we go back to our desktop (or laptop) to make a purchase. According to the Accenture Seamless Retail Study, we’re not alone: 91% of shoppers find the experience of shopping in a physical store to be “easy or very easy” while only 32% of consumers shopping via mobile feel the same way. So why the disconnect?

Simply put, in-store, online, and mobile shopping experiences are missing that common thread that syncs up the customer experience. And the more customers jump from one platform to the next in the same engagement (or purchase), the more gaps there are for them to fall through—and never return. Here are a few areas where marketers can do a little housekeeping and improve the success of an expanding channel experience:

Understand the purchase decision

Leverage the data from every customer channel and understand the complete buying process. Using attribution platforms, understand which part of the process really drove the purchase—was it browsing on the Web, the sale at the retail location, some of both? Using testing and analytics, it should be clear to everyone how each consumer segment is walking through the purchase process.

The offer

If customers can’t get past the offer, neither can you. In this bargain-saturated information age, making sure the same offer on your mobile site is carried over into your other channels is critical to earning—and retaining—customers. You’re already competing against other businesses when it comes to offers, don’t make matters worse by competing with yourself.

Make your channels self-sufficient

Cross-channel optimization is critical for some customers, but it’s also important to make each channel works well on its own. That is, a customer shouldn’t be forced to go to a desktop version to make a purchase because your mobile site lacks some cart capability or only displays some products. Make each channel its own delightful experience.

Take tips from your sales team

What about the in-store experience trumps the mobile experience? Is it the likeability of the sales personnel? Probably not. It’s more likely that some consumers like to touch and feel a product, ask questions, look at the price tag, or see products compared against each other, etc. Think about how to include those experiences in your mobile platform.

Most of all, use your own technology. Go in there like a consumer, click around, and see how it feels—because marketers are consumers, too.

Mike Caccavale is CEO of Pluris Marketing and an expert in cross-channel offer optimization.

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