According to Aberdeen, companies with extremely strong omni-channel customer engagement retain, on average, 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omni-channel engagement.

However, delivering on the omni-channel promise is extremely difficult. In fact, it’s a complete cultural shift for most companies.

It’s all about integration and execution.

The key to harnessing the full promise of the omni-channel lies in operational execution and integration. This requires a significant long-term commitment to perfecting execution of service, increasing your capacity to scale and laser focusing on management, measurement and optimization. If we’re being pragmatic, we suggest that you start small, start now and don’t lose sight of the end game.

Omni-channel requires viewing your business through the lens of retail, despite the markets you serve, the products or services you sell, or the channels you deliver them through. You’ll need to make architectural changes that allow you to share data and analytics across the organization and create a strategy that incorporates both digital and traditional channels. The development of personas and customer journey mapping will be vital to creating personalized experiences that truly put the customer first, while ensuring that your brand is consistent across all of the channels and throughout the entire lifecycle.

Integrating and optimizing operations.

Fulfilling the omni-channel promise also means integrating and coordinating your internal operations so that the entire experience feels cohesive. A fully integrated supply chain that’s able to meet the complex logistical demands of product fulfillment is critical. Conversely, a lack of consistency across channels confuses customers, creates dissatisfaction, and negatively impacts your brand and sales. When customers see a single brand, they expect a unified shopping experience with “branded” promotions, packaging, pricing and policies across all channels. Apple probably does this better than most with their simplistic (and small) product catalog, a laser focused marketing strategy and – most importantly – a well integrated back end.

Capture more customer insights.

Having an optimized omni-channel helps businesses better analyze the information that customers provide and then use these insights to personalize interactions with them. That last feature is key. Shoppers increasingly demand a more personalized and customized experience. Already an integral part of shopping online, personalization addresses customers in a way that’s timely and relevant to them, increasing their loyalty and engagement with your brand. This can be done by targeting customers with offers for products in which they’ve already expressed interest or have a buying history. For example, Kroger (a large grocery store retailer) does a good job of customization by sending their loyalty customers coupons for the exact items they routinely purchase.

Your customers want the process of interacting with you to be easy, personal, immediate and valuable regardless of the channel.

A successful omni channel experience requires clarity and common goals across the organization.

Though it’s harder for larger and logistically complex organizations, omni channel is in fact an attainable goal for any sized outfit. The more successful businesses hoping to achieve an omni channel experience start with a focused strategy that includes:

  • Developing a single view of the customer
  • Get better clarity across the organization
  • Integrating the supply chain, inventory and order management systems
  • Leveraging old technologies or upgrading systems to produce real-time data
  • Implementing CRM integration for a single view of the customer and item data initiatives

In other words, your business is going to need more than just a cool looking website.