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Introduction

Omnichannel commerce is a brand new approach towards sales that focuses on providing a smooth customer experience through multiple channels, be it online shopping, surfing through a mobile device, or visiting an actual store.

 

We recently held a two-day digital summit #GROWTHAsia, for marketers, company founders, product leaders, and people interested in ensuring customer satisfaction through omnichannel sales. This interactive session had many participants from brands across Asia.

In this video, experts discuss how brands can create a unique omnichannel experience for users. Moderated by Kunal Sharma, the Senior Director of Growth at MoEngage, this session features Brajesh Rawat, eCommerce Head at Marks & Spencer; Vani Dixit, Head of Customer Management at Zee5; Mahendra Dhiraj, Head of Business Analytics and Consulting at GTech Digital; and Paul Bantayan, Head of Marketing at Cashalo.

Creating a Customer-Centric 360-Degree View

How important is it to keep the customer as the focus of all your marketing efforts? Vani Dixit explains this by saying that Zee5 believes in being “consumer-centric at the DNA of the organization.” For fully digital companies, it is beneficial to observe customer footprints, how they are navigating the website, and real-time information on consumer behavior.

Building a smooth customer experience is an ongoing process that requires consistent efforts and enhancements with the help of better models, data, insights, and optimization.

Vani also explains that the use cases and needs of varied industries are different. Whereas banking stands for loyalty and longevity, OTT is more about immediate responses, personal experiences, and a higher volume of feedback. However, the underlying principle is the same, which is to drive growth and engage more people. 

Next, Mahendra Dhiraj explains how to use customer data and obtain a single, unified view to create a seamless experience. He quotes an old article that says that before a customer actually converts into a purchase, they have a minimum of seven touchpoints. Thus, a customer data platform layer plays a major role in an organization, to unify both structured and unstructured data to create a unified approach.

Paul Bantayan says that at Cashalo, a lending platform, it is a hard requirement to have a 360-degree view of the customer. Their work in both the online and offline space, this approach is a “root to the trunk” and forms the basis of every approach.

Understanding the eCommerce Dilemma

To understand the implications of an omnichannel approach in eCommerce, we must take a step back and analyze the behavior of such brands while marketing in South Asia. Initially, online channels only focused on offering discounts or liquidation purposes, which affected offline customers.

Brajesh Rawat emphasizes the need for a consistent experience in all channels, in terms of price parity and customer support. After all, it is “my customer”, no matter which channel they are coming through. Retail and lifestyle industries are evolving in this approach to focus on owning the customer experience.

Ensuring this requires a top-down approach, says Mahendra Dhiraj. For a sale through any channel, the organization should incentivize the staff and treat it as customer engagement. Secondly, all the data in silos should be compiled together and used to give a unified customer experience.

The third factor is to ensure the logistics department can support the operations. Similarly, the fintech sector should support multiple payments. All departments must come together to create this experience. The dynamics of the business must include technology and connectivity, along with unified communication from the marketing department.

Experience Personalization and Data Unification

Is experience personalization greater than data unification or are they part of the same story? Mahendra Dhiraj says that step one of experience personalization is data unification as it helps to connect all information about a customer to create an experience. “Personalization starts with data unification,” says Dhiraj.

In the OTT space, there is huge competition for the customers’ attention and keeping the loyalty scores going up is a regular marketing “problem”. Unified segmentation helps in this, so that the customer has the same experience through a laptop, smart TV, mobile, or other channels.

The next aspect of this is personalization, which is more relevant for streaming services. Marketing has to take the customer’s moods, world events, news, and other preferences into account, says Vani Dixit. 

For instance, in case of a new release that matches a customer’s preference, all marketing information should have a unified message promoting the show. Instead, if multiple shows are pitched, it might indicate confused messaging. The tone and language of the message should also be personalized, along with how receptive the user is to the marketing channel.

“You have to be where the consumer is.” Marketers have little choice in terms of marketing channels as they have to rely on the consumer’s actions. For example, if a consumer turns off push notifications, there is no way a marketer would be able to reach them through that channel.

The goal is to direct users to the desired destination through nudges on the platform. Apart from on-platform engagement, means of communication may include mobile texts, social media, and emails.

Key Performance Indicators for Omnichannel Marketing Platforms

What are some of the KPIs that are rightly justified and can be used to measure the performance of any omnichannel marketing platform or communication that is sent out?

Brajesh Rawat mentions that apart from recency, frequency, and monitoring, it is important to see a single view of the customer. This includes monitoring which channel they visit the most and which sections they like to browse. In retail, this helps in organizing geo-targeting campaigns and understanding the customer’s purchase patterns. 

Another aspect to this is cross-selling, which is ideally more effective on online channels. Sending personalized offers or mailers can help trigger customers to return to the business. 

To migrate customers between online and offline channels, the same database can be used to increase a customer’s purchase frequency and reach people in places where offline service is not available. Depending on the company’s scale and budget, tools can be availed to address marketing issues.

Leveraging Customer Segmentation Data and Creating Omnichannel Strategies

How do you leverage customer segmentation data to identify, understand, and meet each of your customer’s requirements? 

Paul Bantayan from Cashalo focuses on collecting and enriching customer data to perform risk assessments, create pricing mechanisms, and provide loans. They might start off with smaller loans and increase their offerings based on customer behavior and loyalty.

Next comes the requirement to build omnichannel strategies for a B2B product like a fleet management system. The key is to keep it nimble and scalable to integrate with the platform, and also determine where the data is to be hosted.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, businesses have had to tweak their offerings to keep customers engaged. Brajesh Rawat speaks about how Marks & Spencers has focused more on lingerie and casual wear, while keeping formal clothing aside. It is essential to grab business opportunities, whether offline or online.

An omnichannel approach helps analyze data to understand customers better and help them avail services better, like repay loans, says Paul. All customer data can be leveraged to make campaigns better.

Lastly, Vani emphasizes the benefits of segmenting customers based on language or genre in the OTT industry. The goal is to nurture the niche and help it grow, instead of recommending stuff that is not relevant to the consumer. These language and genre segments bring valuable inputs into the content strategy and help to optimize your performance.