Demystifying the ingredients of an Omnichannel strategy during the lockdown
Digital, undoubtedly, is a major priority for all industries and is literally getting adopted and implemented at a pace like never before. Everyone is working to achieve improved engagement with personalized end to end customer journeys. The ability to provide consumers with a ‘connected’ journey in the omnichannel world is the ‘silver bullet’ to differentiate organisations, build competitive advantage and thereby, loyalty. In the post-COVID-19 digital economy, clearly, the disrupters are the organizations which are leading with customer experience.
Surprising as it may seem even to myself, my early morning walk yesterday was enveloped in thoughts around all the buzzwords my mind had been cluttered with in the last few weeks – courtesy the webinars and material that consistently demanded involvement. Each announcing itself as ‘the’ mantra for existence in the new normal. And before I knew it, I started simplifying some of these buzzwords to what they truly meant to me.
Imagine, if the forces that ‘are’, were able to understand from my Instagram stories or my Fitbit posts, that courtesy lockdown, I was devoting an inordinate portion of my day towards getting fitter. And what we craved for (both myself as well as the folks who crossed me from a distance) – was some more snazzy sports gear and perhaps a new look. That each of us was tired of the same mundane set of clothes. And if I could be served with offers for some vibrant T-shirts or home workout equipment, there were chances that I would immediately buy – in fact accept it as manna from heaven. Aka Personalization to a Segment of One.
Perhaps what I love most when I shift from my iPad to the large screen in my bedroom at night to continue watching the Crown or my favourite Billions is the manner in which Netflix seamlessly starts me off from the point I last left off – in fact, even goes back a few seconds to repeat some of the last dialogues to refresh my memory. And screen after screen agnostic of device, channel or location, it remembers my preferences and understands my needs – it is there to serve me and provide me with that magical experience, that I so look forward to in my ‘Me’ time. Clearly a great example of an Omnichannel strategy working well.
The Professor in Money Heist – always being a few steps ahead of all others – being able to predict the next several moves based on past data gathered which got translated into insights and led him to a position of strength. It could always have a flavour of classical game theory in his case. Most akin to Predictive Analytics that we look for in the online world.
And all of this is possible only if those volumes of data that we have been talking so much about these last few years, is collated and interpreted, made sense of and used to understand who I am, what makes me tick, my preferences, my thinking and predict my next few actions.
Only if organisations can collate this data across departments or group companies, put an end to those islands and silos they have been nurturing for so long, is when a true omnichannel strategy starts to get realized in the Experience era.
And needless to say, this is easier said than done – even the biggest Digital Marketing solution providers have been struggling for years to get their data platforms right. Of course, their roadmaps and promises, continue to maintain that they will ‘definitely’ solve for it someday.
And while I accept that this holy grail is not easy to achieve, it is the most critical element of getting your digital strategy right. All of the above will only work seamlessly if you end up ‘truly knowing’ your customer in the online world and then go on to serve him with magical, mesmerizing experiences which resonate and hence build loyalty towards your brand. Essentially a true ‘Customer 360’ view.
Digital expectations from consumers have skyrocketed. They seek seamless experiences being delivered to them – be it from a financial institution or a food delivery brand. Conversely, the need for data as well as creativity of the brand is more critical than ever – organisations have to maintain a balance between the Art and the Science. Digital has become the new normal and gained an exponential impetus in the pandemic world.
Very often I have found companies investing hefty sums in Campaign management or a communication orchestration solution, spending on Personalization, segmenting their audiences / investing in a DMP. However, all of that is being done using a superficial view of data or targeting consumers with broken snippets of the truth. Whereas the right way would perhaps be to start with the data and solve for a holistic view of the customer, truly get to know the consumer and then serve them with that much sought-after customer experience, ideally in real-time or near real-time.