Branding, OMNI channels and key user experiences – what this all means? - Information portal

Branding, OMNI channels and key user experiences – what this all means?

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12.12.2017 Количество просмотров 142 views

121_б.pngZukhra Pontey, International Business Director Identica

In the last 5 years we have seen a surge in growing amount of Russian businesses adding OMNI channel proposition to their distribution network. But what does it mean for your brand? And why we often mix multi channel experiences with the omni channel experience.

Multi-channel experiences describe customers who use different channels for engagement with a product or service. Omni-channel extends multi-channel engagements so the experience ‘loops’ continuously across channels in-line with the customer’s motivation and habits. With Omni-channel experiences, the customer may use multiple channels at the same time. For example, the customer may check product information on line in store while placing a purchase order, or go on the social media forum to review information about the product or services with the decision to buy through on-line facility. Both are very different scenarios.

The need for omni-channel has arisen because connected consumers are now interacting with brands in evermore varied and unpredictable ways, often transitioning between channels throughout a single purchase and throughout the product or service lifecycle relationship with the brand.

So how do Russian brands behave during these transitions and what is missed during the rash to become an Omni channel business.

The one words comes to mind is the SEMLESS BRAND EXPERIENCE.

What this means in practical terms.

1. Consistency

Users expect a consistent and meaningful experience in every interaction point with the brand. I’m not just referring to the brand consistency, which is a must, rather something much broader: screens being familiar, buttons being where they are expected, a homogeneous tone of voice, and uniformed functionality. When consistency is lacking, your credibility may suffer.

2. Availability

Availability is about offering choice. With omni-channel an initial consideration is the website then mobile application and lately offline interactive solution that allows customers to use their time in a manner they feel fit to gain an end result.

It’s not enough to offer multiple channels or even to create a great experience in each, often it is interaction and availability to jump from website to mobile app, provide the product information offline offers that “delight” factor the creates greater loyalty within the brand.

images.jpegThere are exceptions where this isn’t possible, or really doesn’t make sense, in which case users need to be transitioned to the appropriate channel as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Amazon’s Kindle app does this brilliantly. As well as letting users purchase Kindle tablets and purchase books there, it allows users to buy eBooks on the main Amazon website and send them to the Kindle device. The brand even released multiple apps for iOS and Android devices meaning that the customer can engage with the product and service, regardless of the device they are on.

3. Channel-Effectiveness

When we talk about the brand it is important to have strategic point of view on how website functionality would be reflected in the mobile phone application, often in the rush to create consistency this may become key hinder to the brand ‘likeness’ factor. But it can have equally far-reaching implications on the customer experience. Take, for example, Tesco’s app that enables you to use your Clubcard even when you've left it at home. While it doesn’t seem to offer the physical coupons and money back offers (besides alerts), Tesco does seem to be adopting a channel-neutral approach to add further customer value.

The key word is here to identity core values why consumers use the brand and transfer these key benefits to all touch points through customer journey.

4. Context-Optimisation

As if to directly contradict the previous point, context-optimisation enables you to really maximize the value of an omni-channel approach. It can also offer the opportunity to differentiate yourself and enhance customer engagement by leveraging the specific technological capabilities of each channel (e.g. cameras, GPS, in-store kiosks, and printing).

Starbucks_0771-2_tcm78-30962_w1024_n.jpgA great example is the Starbucks website allowing users to load up their Starbucks loyalty card, while their mobile app enables them to pay for their coffee on the fly. Similarly, a mobile banking app might be optimized for a user to check their balance and locate the nearest branch, whereas the desktop website might emphasise setting up a direct debit or creating a new savings account.

By utilizing the technology of each channel and by considering how different channels might be better suited to different interactions, omni-channel can take the user experience to a whole new level.

5. Seamlessness

With omni-channel, the same basket data, inventory, promotions, customer account information, and purchase history should be available in all channels.

Customers should be able to pause an activity (whether that’s purchasing, returning an item, or conversing with your customer service department) and resume it later from an alternative touchpoint. This seamlessness between channels requires a holistic, real-time view of the customer and back-end integration between all channels.

Disney-MagicBands-Park-Ticket.jpgStarbucks, for instance, blurs the lines between the digital world and the physical world by geo-fencing the membership card to appear on the customer’s smartphone the minute they enter pre-selected coffee shops. Similarly, Disney’s smartphone app allows park guests to check attraction wait times so they can improve their own experience in real-time. They even offer “MagicBands”—connected bracelets that act as a painless central link between everything from purchasing food to unlocking hotel doors.


Conclusion

Omni-channel experiences should aim to provide 360-degree engagement between brands and their customers across all channels and touch-points. While many stand-alone websites, social media pages, and apps are strong by themselves, it’s important to remember that a true omni-channel experience needs to be designed around people and their needs.

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