This article was written by;
|Paul Theunissen, Managing Partner at ITvisors|
The quest for receiving consumer attention has become an art. With the influx of new technologies, user expectations are changing. They expect smart, easy to use, personalized products and services—not to mention a digital solution for every point of contact with your business. These new expectations present new challenges to earn user loyalty. However, emerging technology also presents new opportunities and possibilities for better omnichannel user experience.
Emerging technology presents new opportunities and possibilities for better omnichannel user experience.”
The challenge is around delivering unique, high-quality customer experiences, attracting buyers to interact with you on every channel, during all the steps of the customer journey. An omnichannel strategy is all about creating the best user experience for users so they want to interact and transact with your business. And while innovation continues and new engagement models arise, sometimes disruption occurs. It is a never-ending journey.
An Omnichannel Strategy Focuses on the Following Themes:
- Establish your Brand experience: Be unique and likable
- Focus on merging the physical and digital worlds. Create a consistent experience between the store, the website and your mobile channels. Transactions, data and history should be continuous across channels for a better customer journey.
- Create unified, seamless and effortless, high-quality customer experiences that occur within and between contact channels
- Be wherever, whenever, however the customer needs you
- Be aligned and integrated: Deliver more personalized and relevant experiences by using content and deep analytics in every channel, and throughout the whole customer journey
An important question to answer is: Do you want to take a risk with new technologies to deliver leading edge solutions and multichannel options? Or will you allow your business to fall behind or become a follower in your market?
Successful multi-channel solutions depend on which market you operate in. For example, consumer markets like air travel, insurance, banking, and electronics have shifted largely to online products and services. Many smaller suppliers who did not follow suit have disappeared. The winners are investing continuously in creating omnichannel user experiences.
However, in the automotive space, cars are still sold at physical locations, while the research and selection phase is largely online. In consumer food and beverage, online retailing is still marginal (but growing), except for special products (like draft beer), where the brand experience can be tailored to customer journeys via online retailing with direct access to large consumer markets.
Different markets have different stages of omnichannel adoption, but whatever the pace a market takes, there is always change and innovation, and sometimes even disruption.
Customer expectations will continue to change rapidly:
- They want more convenience: They are looking for Smart Apps that can deliver intelligent, personalized and contextual experiences.
- They expect that digital interactions stay current: Always in modern design look and feel
- They enjoy diverse ways of communicating: Voice recognition/chatbots/selfservice/in-store apps/mobile apps/app2app/
- They expect that no interaction will be left behind: Frictionless experiences that empower your customers to move seamlessly between digital and physical interactions
- They look for new things: Shorter products and promotion cycles need new go-to-market approaches, content, channel, and product visualizations
- They are starting to require more services: Artificial Intelligence and robotics is entering in this space. Analytics will become more important to feed into these innovations.
What does this mean for your omnichannel strategy:
- Always focus on the customer – It sounds like a platitude, but starting with customer experience and working backwards towards technology is the predominant driver for change
- Round out the customer journey – Have you addressed all aspects of the customer journey? Are there opportunities for new products and services?
- Become Agile and strengthen innovation – Adapt agile processes, organization, and systems. Experiment with minimal viable products, and then scale.
- Use Analytics to steer and adapt based on KPIs – Success (or failure) can and should be measured.
- Adapt your organization’s internal processes – Implementing Omnichannel is not a one-time event. It has significant impact on the internal organization (and their systems) in order to achieve the objectives.
These characteristics and dynamics of an omnichannel user experience require the following for IT:
- Best of breed rather than one monolith – You need to innovate. Take the best and future-proof applications for each area fitting your requirements creating a microservices architecture.
- API open architecture – Omnichannel processes and systems require seamless integration—not just between the applications you use yourself but also the partners of your network need integration.
- Model-driven, low-code development – Collaboration between IT and Business is essential to continuously innovate, adapt, and scale. Development is needed between and on top of the best-of-breed applications to unify and integrate these platforms, creating unique solutions and deploying them on different (mobile) devices
- Agile ways of working to support business innovation cycles – The methods and tools IT provides the business should promote an innovative, agile culture with short cycles and continuous one-click deployments.
- Mode 2 operating model with some mode 1 essentials – Omnichannel needs continuous innovation. However, when business expands, the systems become more critical. Reliability, Scalability, Security and Maintainability are also important. It is not just about “design to change” but also about “build to last”.
Your omnichannel strategy will require continuous IT innovation. Mendix, as a low code development platform, is an ideal component in enabling an omnichannel architecture. The platform ensures the close collaboration between business and IT that is necessary to accelerate innovation and deployment.