What is an omnichannel experience?
Omnichannel experience is not just a buzzword. Rather, it is a necessity for retail marketing today. Omnichannel experience is a revolutionary multichannel approach for marketing, selling, and serving customers in order to provide a cohesive customer experience. Its purpose is to create a harmonious and seamless customer experience across all touchpoints or channels – whether customers are shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone, or in a brick-and-mortar store. It is made up of several touchpoints over a range of seamlessly connected channels that allow customers to pick where they left and continue the experience on another channel. Omnichannel experience cultivates a greater sense of familiarity and relationship with the brand, creating a positive brand image and increasing retention rates.
Why is omnichannel experience important?
These days, customers love to explore and compare various products available in the market. They toggle between online and offline to research and buy products and services. For instance, one customer may start shopping on his desktop, researching the product and brand. Later, he may add a product to the cart using his mobile phone before finalizing the purchase several days later in a store. Furthermore, most of the times today, customers carry their smartphones along while shopping in physical stores. They check the prices and models in a store and then buy the same product online at a cheaper rate. These kinds of customer behaviors bring losses for companies. The panacea to these problems is an omnichannel approach.
Brands must create their own unique and adaptable omnichannel experience infrastructure that aids various departments in providing an omnichannel experience. They need to ensure that each channel works seamlessly with the other, providing customers a coherent and ideal experience regardless of the channel or device.
How Sephora provides an omnichannel experience
Due to with its innovative, competitive, and cutting-edge business and marketing strategies Sephora, a Paris-based multinational chain of personal care stores, has earned the reputation of being the number one beauty retailer in the world. It combines its e-commerce site, mobile app, and brick-and-mortar stores seamlessly to provide a par excellence shopping experience to its customers. Sephora is termed as the “store of the future” because of its omnichannel experience model.
At Sephora, the in-store experience is heavily supported by technology. Makeup artists are geared with iPads and other mobile devices to give their clients accurate and up-to-date information on the myriad of products. The icing on the cake is that if a product is out of stock, the staff can instantly place an online order and have the item directly shipped to any location that the customer wishes.
Sephora also follows the “try more, buy more” ideology. It has introduced a mobile app called ‘Sephora Virtual Artist,’ which is an augmented reality tool that lets the customer try on different looks and products virtually. Further, customers can scan their faces to get their ‘ColorIQ‘ code to find products that match their skin tone. Additionally, another app called ‘Smell O Vision‘ lets visitors smell scents, whether floral or earthy. To add to the above, Sephora’s ‘Beauty Insider Community‘ is a members-only social portal that enables users to connect with each other. It is a social platform whereby users can discuss beauty-related topics, update their personalized looks by sharing their favorite selfies, or get recommendations for the variety of products. Another app called ‘My beauty bag‘ allows customers to look at their shopping history, track rewards, and purchase products or save them for later. Further, an impact strategy that Sephora follows is building loyalty using its ‘VIB Loyalty Program’ that ensures free gifts, various event offers, and discounts to its members, also collecting data in the process.
By combining mobile apps and in-store shopping experiences, Sephora has created a heavenly experience for its customers. The primary objective of Sephora’s several mobile apps is to provide their customers with the tools that empower them in making informed purchases – either online or in a physical store – confidently. According to a study, this very thriving application of omnichannel marketing strategy has nurtured 11 million members, who spend 15 times more money on Sephora.com than the average user.
Sephora harmonizes retail and digital experiences and is the best example in implementing omnichannel marketing strategies. Here are some lessons that brands can learn from Sephora:
Imbibing technology with physical store experience
The way forward for brands today is by means of using technology effectively. By leveraging technology in its store, Sephora has succeeded in creating a customer-friendly environment that results in positive customer experience and qualified sales.
Connecting regularly with the customers
Building a rapport with customers and staying connected with them through different mobile apps or platforms such as emails, reminders, or messages is most crucial for any business. To survive the strong competition, companies must understand their customers’ needs and create an emotional connection with them.
Understanding the importance of social media brand integration
This is a must for the growth of any business. Social media integration is a marketing strategy that helps to lure customers by using different social channels as an extension of existing branding and marketing efforts. A study by digital firm L2 found that 70% of brands today use social media such as Instagram and Twitter to push sales of their products. For Sephora, the Beauty Insider Community serves the same to its digital savvy audience.
Creating loyal customers
Loyalty programs are super-powerful marketing tools. Sephora’s Beauty Insider Loyalty Program is the most popular rewards programs in both the retail and e-commerce loyalty communities. This program has helped create raving fans for the brand!
Innovating and experimenting constantly
Developing a new or improved product or service to cater to rapidly changing customer needs is most vital for surviving in the industry. Also, it is important to devise effective strategies to promote, market, and sell those products. This is required to beat the robust competition within the industry.
Which are the other brands that provide a great omnichannel experience? Do let us know!
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