Jan 18, 2023
Talon.One loyalty expert
8 minutes to read
As the number of platforms where customers can interact with a brand continues to grow, delivering a consistent customer experience everywhere a brand sells is more important now than ever.
Ensuring customers experience a consistent and frictionless journey requires a holistic approach – an omnichannel strategy that connects customers’ online and in-store behavior to provide them with a frictionless, integrated experience regardless of the channel they’re using.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to connect with consumers in new ways by leaning in on digital, omnichannel, and in-store technology ambitions.” McKinsey
Moving to the omnichannel environment has accelerated in recent years, with many companies across different sectors striving to create a frictionless experience for their customers. Here’s a list of 7 remarkable examples of omnichannel strategies which have led to high customer engagement and a surge in sales:
“Buy online, return in store” is a growing omnichannel functionality, allowing customers to use digital platforms to buy and use physical platforms to return the item if that’s not what they expected.
German ecommerce company Zalando is a leading company in terms of the BORIS feature. The brand allows its customers to return their shopped item at a nearby store at no cost up until 100 days after their purchase. This is very reassuring to an ecommerce brand’s users especially when the purchased item is a pair of shoes or a piece of clothing that may not fit.
Working in an omnichannel environment is gaining popularity among fintech companies.
In a recent move which strengthens its relationship with the retail industry, PayPal expanded access to the returns service it acquired last year, Happy Returns, by making it available to PayPal Checkout merchants at no extra cost.
PayPal’s omnichannel solution releases customers from the burden of visiting a separate website/app if they wish to use the return service. Instead, they begin their purchase return journey from the retailer’s website by receiving a QR code which they can take to their nearest Return Bar location along with the item. They don’t even need to package the item or have the box or label with them. The customers receive a real-time refund once their QR code is scanned. To ensure its customers will have super easy access to the return locations, PayPal has additionally partnered with Ulta Beauty to increase Return Bars to over 1,300 locations across the US.
Airlines have long offered their customers loyalty programs, known as “frequent-flyer programs,” encouraging passengers to accumulate points (also called miles) which can be later redeemed for air travel or other loyalty rewards. Some airlines, however, have moved beyond legacy FFPs to create an outstanding, frictionless customer experience.
Last year, JetBlue announced a partnership with ASAPP to add the company’s AI platform to its tech stack. The ultimate aim of the partnership was to to amplify productivity and efficiency of JetBlue customer support on digital and telephone channels.
The IA feature allows JetBlue customers to use digital messaging on their cellphones to communicate with the airline’s customer support, just like they’re texting a friend.
ASAPP’s real-time voice transcription and analytics feature enables JetBlue contact centers to provide customers with the best suggested responses and actions based on their conversations.
Self-checkouts are machines that enable customers to complete their transaction from a retailer without having to wait for a legacy staffed checkout.
Many retailers today allow customers to use the self-checkout option. This is particularly important because buyers are now more concerned about social distancing and contactless shopping. Last year, London-based market research and consultancy firm RBR anticipated that the number of self-service checkout units installed worldwide will triple by 2025.
French sporting goods retailer Decathlon has installed self-checkout units almost at all its stores. You can place the item at the checkout counter, scan your credit card or mobile payment app and that’s it. Many other retailers such as the Dutch company C&A are also welcoming self-checkout units to their stores, creating a seamless experience for their customers by linking all touchpoints during their journey.
The primary aim of any omnichannel strategy is to remove the online-offline divide for the customers. In other words, customers shouldn’t feel any friction when they decide to move from one channel to the other.
Amazon has removed the borderline between physical and digital worlds with a number of innovations including Amazon Hub. Amazon online shoppers can choose to pick up their items from Hub Counter or Hub Locker.
Amazon Hub Counter is a pick-up station where the customer’s packages are handed over to them by staff. Customers can pick up their packages at nearby locations.
Amazon Hub Locker is a secure self-service station where customers can collect their packages at a time of their choosing. Locker locations can be found in many different locations in countries such as the US, UK and Germany.
One of the key elements of the omnichannel experience is hyper-personalization. Like personalization, hyper-personalization highlights the interaction of a brand with its consumers on a customized, individual level. However, hyper-personalization goes beyond basic customer information, pulling from real-time and behavioral data to deliver highly relevant, individualized messages. AI, NLP (natural language processing) and ML (machine learning) can in particular help brands create hyper-personalized experiences for their customers.
One of the best examples of hyper-personalized omnichannel interactions with customers is Netflix’s viewing experience. No matter which device you use, Netflix provides you with a totally seamless experience. The brand also leverages AI and ML to process customer data, suggesting customized content to every individual.
Saki Takeda, director of product management at Netflix, says the omnichannel strategy is key to the company's customer experience policy. Takeda, however, warns against the blind expansion of channels:
“The top things to avoid are expanding channels blindly for the sake of ‘being omnichannel’ or ‘needing to show the brand presence’, and creating unnecessary silos by segmenting/grouping support agents per channel.”
Reinforcement learning (RL) is a machine learning paradigm that provides both qualitative and quantitative frameworks for understanding and modeling adaptive decision-making in the face of rewards and punishments.
RL can help companies design seamless, individualized customer journeys. Starbucks, for instance, has added Microsoft Azure’s RL platform to its app, generating tailor-made order suggestions based on their behavior, store inventory and other contextual elements such as weather.
Microsoft Azure’s Blockchain service has also enabled Starbucks to show its customers lots of interesting information about their order including where the coffee beans come from, how Starbucks supports farmers in those locations, where and when it was roasted, and more.
Starbucks’ digital display menus are another omnichannel move by the coffee giant. The displays are not only available to online and in-store customers, but also to the drive-thru shoppers.
The omnichannel approach enables brands to build their stacks around a core group of microservices. This allows them to meet their scalability and flexibility needs, while also giving them greater control over the cost of their stack.
Your loyalty program, as an important element of your omnichannel approach, should be scalable and flexible to be easily integrated with other components of your system. Talon.One’s loyalty solution integrates seamlessly with CRMs and other third party APIs, allowing you to get up and running quickly with a scalable, versatile and future-proof promotion solution. You can benefit from in-depth developer docs that guide you in every step of the way.
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