Chapter 3: Key Features of An Omni-channel Strategy


A brand that feels familiar, across every channel and device.

Consistent branding is important because it helps create a sense of connection between your users and you. At its best, it creates a sense of familiarity that in turn creates more loyal users. If a customer is accessing your business through multiple experiences but the difference between them is jarring, you’re creating confusion--and distrust--that could keep users from engaging again.

  1. Maintain your message: product and brand positioning. Who you are, what you do for your users, what sets you apart from your competitors--you might say it differently depending on the channel, but your fundamental story should never change.
  2. Colors, logos, visual style.  Visual cues are one of the strongest tools you have to remind users that they’re in the right place, with a brand they can trust.
  3. Voice and tone. The voice and persona you’ve created in one space--say, you’re website--should be recognizable on your social media and support properties, too.

The best way to do it? Clear, detailed, and accessible brand guidelines. No matter how or where your users interact with you, brand consistency is reassuring and reminds them that they’re in the right place, with a brand they trust. 

One of the most obvious examples is Apple, of course. 

 
 

 


From their stores, to their site, to every piece of software and hardware Apple creates: they all maintain certain design elements, while being optimized for the audience and the purpose they were created for. Minimalistic, streamlined design and a matter-of-fact yet friendly tone are present in all of them.

 

Consistent user experience.

A clean, simple UI on the web and mobile app is crucial for users to orient themselves, and establishes your credibility. Make sure the content is complementary across all your channels, too.

Button placement, headline alignment--keep them as consistent as possible across all experiences. It’s reassuring to your user to be able to correctly predict where they’ll find what they need. 

 
 


Tidal has a mobile-first design that seamlessly extends to their desktop experience. The modular design, left-hand menu that extends out, right-hand search bar and control bar across the bottom of the screen are present no matter what device a user is using to play their latest favorite song.
 

Slack deserves a shout out as well. You can customize your sidebar for any Slack team you join, and no matter how you log in--desktop, web, or mobile--your custom theme and recent conversations will be ready for you to pick up right where you left off. 


Context optimization. Consistency doesn’t mean you don’t adjust user experience according to device (context). Think about what your user’s priorities are based on the device they’re using. Starbucks’ website emphasizes joining their rewards program, and seasonal announcements; while the app prioritizes ordering and streamlines the process of adding money to their card.


Centralized user data.

When it comes to omnichannel marketing, your CRM is your best friend. Capturing customer data and recording your interactions with users over time is critical to understanding their relationship with your brand, and fine-tuning your messaging. That’s how you can ensure the right message is getting to the right user, at the right time

Cross-Channel Customer Service

If a customer can buy, or register, or other interact with your brand across channels, they expect to be able to reach your support team on any channel, too. But it’s important that the support isn’t siloed. If you need to refer a customer to another channel, making them repeat their dilemma is a great way to increase their frustration. How do you do cross-channel customer service effectively?

  • Maintain a user profile.
    Having the information you need about a user lets you get to the problem faster.
  • Record interactions. 
  • Make user data accessible to your team. 
    Often, it’s not only a customer success manager who’s in touch with a customer while working through an issue. If you’re able to keep record data about customer outreach, make sure employees can easily access it when they need to. 


Personalized, seamless experience.

Amazon’s been perfecting this for years. Homepage content is tailored to your purchase and search history; and items in your cart appear whether you’re using the app, Amazon’s mobile site, or the desktop site. Every user has their own Amazon.

Amazon’s Dash buttons are one of their more recent omni-channel innovations. Dash buttons pair with the Amazon app. Like any traditional Amazon purchase, confirmation communications, receipts, and tracking is managed through email in additional to the app. 

Dash buttons, for the repeat Amazon order. 


But bigger than Dash buttons is the influence of the Amazon Echo. Alexa is a virtual assistant who remembers your last Amazon order, and can pick up right where you left off in your Kindle, and read it out loud to you. The easy access to an exhaustive amount of user data lets the Echo and Google Home offer the kind of individualized experience that users clearly value: over 5.1 million Echos have been sold over the past 2 years

Amazon is creating app integrations on the B2B side, too. 


Hi, Alexa. We’re out of paper towels. 


The ease of easily re-ordering or referring back to products you’ve placed in your cart speaks to a key feature of a successful omni-channel strategy: carrying user carts across devices and channels. Tracking customer tracking customer data and offering a streamlined checkout process across access points is how you align with your users expectations: when they’re shopping, or looking for event tickets, or booking a hotel, they consider it a singular experience--no matter how many devices they use. 


In-Store 

Beacons are devices in brick-and-mortar stores that send targeted messages when an app user is detected nearby. Barney’s, the upscale department store, implemented them throughout their flagship store in New York City. Barneys uses the beacons to send personalized product recommendations to customers via their app, as well relevant editorial content and recommendations from Barney’s website. 

 
 

Beacons aren’t just a powerful tool for retail. In 2016, 86% of events were expected to utilize a mobile app. And considering location-aware apps see a 235% increase in engagement over other apps, that’s a good move

In 2016 the TriBeCa Film Festival used over 50 beacons to send targeted push notifications about upcoming showtimes, sell tickets, and events happening during the festival. By placing beacons by the exits of venues showing films, the festival could ask for feedback at the best possible time--when the film was still fresh in attendees’ minds.

 
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Localization

Brands may operate globally, but their customers are thinking locally. No marketing campaign will convert as well as when it’s targeted to the culture and taste of the customer.

Language. 75% of customers prefer to make purchases in their native language. Apps available in a market’s native language saw a 128% increase in downloads.

But for omni-channel, that means making as many of your customer touch points available in their native language as possible. So email marketing, support, digital creative--for a truly holistic, omni-channel experience, you’ll want to maintain language consistency.

Content.  86% of localized creative sees higher click-through and conversion rates. If you’re looking to boost metrics in a particular area, review your creative and see how you can further customize it to that area. (Think of how sites may reference events specific to your area.) 

Looking to localize your app?

For iOS, Apple has your guide right here. Android developers, Google has a guide for you too