Ryan Williams
Jeremy Julian

Omnichannel Commerce and Customer Expectation

March 15, 2017

Mobile devices have become so ingrained into our lives, dramatically changing the consumers’ habits. The saturation and acceptance of tablets and mobile phones has created new opportunities to enhance customer service by enabling servers to offer faster order taking and faster customer service. So how does this relate to omnichannel strategies and customer service?

 

Well, over the last several years, consumers have seen a dramatic change in retail shopping.  We’ve gone from completely separate experiences for online shopping and in-store shopping to various combinations of the two. The growth of mobile and social is also affecting retailers in ways they likely never imagined, and international ecommerce is equally affected by this change. This evolution is called the “Omnichannel experience”, and it will be a major focus for many retailers this year.

 

What does omnichannel mean?

Simply, omnichannel is a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar store.

 

You may be asking, “This is important for retail, how does this relate to my restaurant?”

 

Customer expectation.

 

If customers are growing more and more accustomed to a fully integrated experience in and out of retail stores, will they not be expecting the same thing from their favorite restaurants?

 

Our suggestion is to start evaluating your customer experience online, mobile and in-store and observe where the flow and access of information is available and where it is broken. Do you have the same information on mobile that you do in-store? Is the same brand messaging strong and communicating throughout all channels?

 

Two ways to create track customer purchases and create a more integrated experience are through loyalty programs and personalized emails.

 

Loyalty programs

Loyalty programs are designed to encourage and reward customers who purchase regularly from a retailer, restaurant, etc. Traditionally, this required a “loyalty card” that was mailed to the customer to use whenever they shopped online or purchased in-store. Today, it’s as simple as signing up online and logging in whenever a customer makes a purchase. All interactions that were once anonymous are now connected to a customer’s loyalty profile. When a customer purchases something in-store, they provide their loyalty number (or phone number or email address) and that purchase recorded.

 

Loyalty programs are a great way to keep track of customers as they shop (online or off) and offer them special deals based on their browsing and shopping habits.

 

Personalized emails

Personalized emails go hand-in-hand with loyalty programs or as standalone newsletter subscriptions. In either case you can create emails that are personalized to the customer’s location in real-time. If a customer is visiting another city where you have a actual chain, when they open their email it can be personalized to their actual location, indicating special offers or in-store deals, even providing a map to find the restaurant.

 

If your customer provided or signed up for a loyalty number while at your restaurant, a host or hostess can record things they purchased or looked at. When the customer opens the email in their home city, the offers could relate to things that they looked at in the store, or focus on special online deals as a loyalty program customer or newsletter subscriber.

 

What will you do to connect all the touch points for your customers?

 

Need to pass the time between our next post? Then check out Custom Business Solutions for all your restaurant technology needs!

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