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Marketing

10 Apr 2024

7 outstanding examples of omnichannel strategies

Reza Javanian

Mohammadreza Javanian

Talon.One loyalty expert

7 excellent examples of omnichannel retail strategies
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8 minutes to read

As the number of platforms where customers can interact with a brand continues to grow, delivering a seamless customer experience everywhere a brand sells is more important now than ever.

Ensuring customers experience a consistent and frictionless journey requires 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

What is omnichannel marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is a strategic approach that seamlessly integrates various communication channels, such as social media, email, retail stores, websites, and mobile apps, to provide a consistent and personalized customer experience. It aims to create a unified brand message and enable customers to engage and transact across different platforms effortlessly, ultimately enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty while driving business growth.

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.

Best omnichannel marketing strategies

Here’s a list of 7 remarkable examples of omnichannel marketing strategies which have led to high customer engagement and a surge in sales.

1. Zalando and BORIS

“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.

2. PayPal Happy Returns

Working in an omnichannel environment is gaining popularity among fintech companies.

In a recent move that 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.

image

Courtesy: happyreturns.com

3. JetBlue and AI

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 amplify the 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.

4. Self-checkout on the rise

Self-checkouts are machines that enable customers to complete their transactions from a retailer without having to wait for a legacy staffed checkout. Self-checkouts play a vital role in transforming monolithic POS systems, turning transactions into memorable customer experiences.

Self-checkouts play a crucial role in omnichannel retail by providing customers with a convenient and efficient way to complete their purchases. By allowing shoppers to scan and pay for items themselves, self-checkouts reduce checkout wait times and enhance the overall shopping experience. 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.

5. Amazon Hub

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 the 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.

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Courtesy: Amazon.de

6. Netflix and omnichannel hyper-personalization

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.”

7. Starbucks, reinforcement learning, and Blockchain

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.

Develop an omnichannel strategy for your promotions and loyalty with Talon.One

An omnichannel solution enables brands to remove the divide between online and offline channels, creating a seamless shopping experience. This seamless shopping experience not only enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty but also allows brands to gain valuable insights into consumer behavior and preferences across all touchpoints.

Your promotions and loyalty program, as important elements of your omnichannel strategy, define the shopping experience as much as your website, app, or online store. For example, the Italian fashion brand Twinset used omnichannel promotions to power its sales campaigns, enabling customers to have an integrated experience regardless of their shopping channel. 

Logo-Twinset

"With Talon.One, we’ve massively reduced the time between deciding to run a promotion and delivering it in our shops or online. Now, when we decide to run a campaign, our retail and ecommerce teams sit together and select the target shops, digital platforms, products and the time‐frame. They set up the campaign in Talon.One and that’s it. It’s a fast and efficient way of implementing a campaign."

daniele-nigro-twinset

Daniele Nigro

Chief Information Officer of Twinset

Discover Twinset's case study to see how Talon.One enabled omnichannel promotions for the Italian fashion brand.

FAQs on examples of omnichannel strategies

  • How does omnichannel marketing benefit smaller businesses or those with limited resources compared to larger corporations?

    Omnichannel marketing empowers smaller businesses by providing access to diverse customer touchpoints, leveling the playing field against larger corporations. It offers cost-effective digital platforms and automation tools, enabling smaller enterprises to reach wider audiences without hefty investments. By delivering consistent messaging across channels, smaller businesses can forge deeper connections with customers, driving loyalty and growth in competitive markets.

  • Are there any notable challenges or drawbacks associated with implementing omnichannel strategies, particularly for companies operating in niche markets?

    Implementing omnichannel strategies, particularly for niche market companies, poses challenges such as integrating disparate systems, maintaining brand consistency, and reaching target audiences effectively across channels. Limited resources and expertise in digital marketing, along with industry-specific regulations, further complicate the process. However, by focusing on unique strengths and prioritizing channels strategically, niche businesses can overcome these challenges and leverage omnichannel marketing to drive growth and success in specialized markets.

  • Can you provide examples of industries or sectors where omnichannel marketing has seen slower adoption or less success, and what factors contribute to this disparity?

    Industries such as traditional retail, furniture, and home improvement, as well as sectors like manufacturing and industrial goods, have seen slower adoption of omnichannel marketing. Factors contributing to this include challenges in integrating offline and online operations, legacy systems, and complex supply chains. Additionally, businesses in niche markets may struggle to justify the investment in omnichannel infrastructure and technology due to limited consumer demand and fragmented customer bases. Despite these hurdles, focusing on customer needs and gradually integrating digital and offline experiences can help overcome barriers to omnichannel success.

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