Imagine you’re on your phone sitting patiently in a waiting room, scrolling through your favorite retail site. You find a couple of things you like and put those items in the online shopping cart.  But, of course, your name gets called before you can hit the purchase button, and you shutdown your phone… items still in the cart.

Later, you take out your iPad and remember that same shopping cart, loaded with goodies that you still want to buy. Unfortunately, when you go to the site on your iPad, the items are no longer in the cart. You shrug and figure, “ehh, it’s probably better to save the money anyway.” SALE LOST!

Consumers Change Their Minds at the Drop of a Hat

In considering the previous scenario: do you think the outcome would be different if those items had remained in the cart?  Likely, it would be. If those items were still in the cart upon your return, you, as a customer, (probably) would have purchased them.

This is the type of situation that today’s marketers need to take into great consideration. There is a very high probability that the hypothetical sale mentioned above would have been saved if all of the company’s platforms and devices had been in sync. This is the difference between multi-channel marketing and an omni-channel experience.

With advertising advancements leading away from traditional marketing tactics, businesses have begun using multiple digital channels to provide customers with information about goods and services. But, if your business’s digital channels are not in sync, you will lose sales.

Omnichannel marketing integrated experiences provide customers with the following:

  • Convenience
  • Consistency
  • Relevance
  • Empowerment
  • Agility

Want to see examples of omni-channel done right? Check out these Four Companies with Omni-Channel Experiences That Will Make You Jealous:

Disney

Disney’s omni-channel experience is so complete that it includes even the tiniest of details, resulting in a user experience that is essentially seamless.  They have a mobile responsive website, and their My Disney Experience allows customers to:

    1. Plan their trips
    2. Book dining reservations
    3. Secure FastPasses
    4. Manage MagicBands, which act as:
      – A hotel room key
      – A photo storage device for photos taken with Disney characters
      – A food ordering tool

Everything works together so that customers can find exactly what they need exactly when they need it – no matter what device they are using. This focus on omni-channel is what makes Disney magical!

REI

REI is an outdoor clothing company that excels in providing clear communication across every touch point for their consumers. Their information is up-to-date and accurate, regardless of how the consumer is interacting with their brand.

So, if a customer needs a product, whether they ask a store associate or search online to see if it’s in-stock, they will get the same exact answer. By ensuring that their internal communication is consistent across all channels, REI guarantees that every interaction with their company is a positive one.

Bank of America

Bank of America takes its omni-channel focus to the financial services industry in a genius fashion. Because they have diligently sewn all channels together, customers are able to use whatever device is at their disposal to do the following:

  • Deposit checks
  • Schedule appointments
  • Interact with personal bankers by video
  • Share documents
  • Experience real-time expense tracking
  • Make mobile purchases

Starbucks

Ask most any omni-channel pro, and they’ll tell you that Starbucks is the master when it comes to omni-channel experiences.  For example, customers receive a free rewards card when they sign-up for the Starbucks app, but, unlike other cards, Starbucks cards can be checked and reloaded by phone, on their website, in their store, or on the app itself.

The impressive part of this, however, is that any change on that card is made in real-time. So, you can reload your card while on your phone (literally) standing in line, and the cashier will be able to use that reload by the time you get to the front of the line. Those Starbucks people don’t skip a beat!

Streamlined shopping experiences for today’s consumers are essential. Businesses can’t simply think in terms of the multiple channels that they use – they need to make ALL of those channels work together ALL OF THE TIME.

The concept of omni-channel is a “holistic” approach to marketing. It’s a realization that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Everything must work together like a well-oiled-machine so that there is no downtime or snag during transition.

Businesses must always be mindful of the platforms and devices that their customers are using, and then be certain that everything aligns to create a seamless user experience. This is done by standardizing the brand message, goals, objectives, and design across each channel and device.

If you aren’t using an omni-channel mindset for your business, you’re already falling behind. Take the examples above and get started now!

For more great benchmarks of omni-channel businesses, visit:
https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/omni-channel-user-experience-examples#sm.00000sw7bsf2meeokpu8ukh0tvtxn

Want to learn even more? Check out our post about Omnichannel Marketing: Explained