19 Omnichannel Experience Examples from Top Brands
This post was originally published in July 2022 and has been updated for relevancy on Nov 29, 2022.
Front and center in any conversation about commerce are the words personalization, omnichannel, customer-centric, and experience-driven. Today’s brands (if they are paying attention) are taking note of how customers interact with their brand, and how the brand makes them feel to optimize the customer journey. Shoppers crave experience, and the way to get to an optimal experience (and the conversion), is to collect and act on the data.
The numbers (from the mouths of actual shoppers) help tell the story:
- Purchase frequency is 250% higher on omnichannel vs. single channel, and the average order value is 13% higher for omnichannel vs. single channel
- Customer retention rates are 90% higher on omnichannel vs. single channel
- Ninety-eight percent of Amercans switch between devices on a daily basis
Source: Clout Brands
The experience plays out in any number of ways, dependent on customer preference; do they want to shop entirely online and pick up in-store? Do they prefer the in-store experience but engage with an app during the buying journey? Do they want suggestions of other products of interest based on their purchases? Maybe they enjoy building up points towards offers and promos? Brands have more power than ever to meet the shopper where they are.
I don’t know about you, but I love a good app. The food kind, yes, but for these purposes, the digital kind just as much. I’m not attached so much to the in-store experience, but when I do shop in the physical realm, I like an app to play well and merge the two worlds with the end game being my convenience and confidence in the brand.
When I enter a store, I like to know where I stand in my loyalty program, any possible offers directly loaded to my account, and similar deals in-store to online – no surprises. Nothing like the frustration of finding out a deal on my favorite shampoo is only available online when I sign up for delivery.
Today’s brands are embracing the omnichannel experience and reaping the rewards: more conversions, lower bounce rates, and maintaining a healthy Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), to name a few. And how do they do that? By investing in the omnichannel experience. Here is a selection of brands raising the bar on creating differentiated experiences…
1. Best Buy
The leading electronics retailer does a few things well in the app space to refine the omnichannel experience. It’s easy to navigate and uncluttered, but packs relevant information in a well-balanced flow, with the shopping cart always within sight at the top. I can set my store by allowing the app to pin my location, or easily change stores with a tap.
Shoppers have options for checkout with curbside pickup, or of course add to cart. A particularly helpful feature is the ability to locate a product at a different store and have it shipped to the designated My Store, or have the option to pick it up where it’s available right now for pickup today.
Other convenient features include deep deals of the week on frequently purchased items like smart TVs and laptops, and seasonal sales for Back-to-School events or the high volume sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
2. Disney Experience App
For those Disney lovers out there (I’m a big fan of Moana, anyone else?), downloading the Disney Experience app makes the most of any family vacation to the Magic Kingdom or any one of their attractions and parks.
Through the dedicated app visitors are able to create a plan before entering their park of choice and use the app during their visit to engage with more of the attractions. There are many conveniences accessible through the app such as the Disney Genie to track your itinerary and make reservations. A built-in guide to make the most of your experience pre-visit, and discover more of what’s available based on your interests or the age groups within your family.
Showtimes and hours are listed daily by park on the app so you won’t miss a minute, and for some select attractions access the virtual queue prior to the park opening to get a jump on the day. With the sheer size of the parks and attractions and the high volume of visitors each day, Disney helps true fans navigate the experience with customizable features based on preference - a sure way to encourage repeat visitors and loyal fans.
Disney tracks and acts on multi-generational preferences with the ultimate goal of winning lifetime omnichannel customers:
The most critical outcomes of Disney’s pivot to providing STEM toys will be an increase in customer lifetime value (CLV) for Gen Z customers, which will be seen through the lengthening of connection between on-screen content and in-person purchases.
Source: Ivey Business Review
3. Crate & Barrel
Home goods retailer Crate & Barrel is responding to the call for streamlined omnichannel experiences regardless of channel in ways involving payment and pickup. The retailer is expanding payment options with digital wallet and Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) adoption. From an omnichannel perspective, Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) was widely adopted during pandemic restrictions and has not waned since in-person restrictions were lifted. Customers clearly like the convenience, speed, and peace-of-mind of picking up their items curbside.
A pharmacy favorite for many, CVS expanded their app to include many shopper conveniences. I’m able to see what prescriptions are on auto renewal and ready for pickup, or schedule delivery. I get a clean look at my loyalty rewards status, including what deals are available that week. With a tap the deal is added to my loyalty account and will appear at both in-store (both live and self-checkout kiosk) and online checkout. For those preferring the in-store experience, any CVS location allows customers to print out loyalty program coupons at a kiosk, and select locations offer self-checkout.
Another worthy pharmacy omnichannel example is the digital offering Walgreens built for their customers. To deliver a more convenient pharmacy experience, they launched a mobile app enabling customers to refill their prescriptions by scanning a barcode on their medication with a smartphone.
Customers can also access their prescription history, easily change pick-up locations, and set a pick-up time. While not groundbreaking, it’s a prime example of how pharmacies can and should be thinking about how to improve their customer omnichannel experiences.
Shoes! Handbags! Accessories! DSW has it all, including the deals. The dedicated app in my experience has been just as well-organized and friendly as the in-store experience. Again, well thought out flow of information, and plenty of personalized offers. I’m reminded of how far I have to go to reach the next membership threshold (for even deeper discounts), and my coupons are front and center with a gentle reminder to BUY THE SHOES. I can easily change my store, and when in-store I have the option for self-checkout. Simple and satisfying, like all shopping experiences should be.
7. Dunkin' Donuts
Go ahead, treat yourself to some Dunkin’. The app reflects the branding and feel you’ll see in-store, plus the meaningful extras like joining the loyalty program for freebies, and the ability to order ahead and skip long lines. They also do a great job with imagery tantalizing their fans with what’s on the menu. They offer equally satisfying experiences in-store for those who want to kick back or work, but for those on-the-go the omnichannel customer conveniences are there for those who want them.
JCPenney gets high points when it comes to omnichannel examples by offering Buy Online Pick Up in Store (BOPIS), and also offering returns on online purchases in-store (cross-channel returns). They’ve also brought their online experience in-store by having their website accessible at POS. JCPenney team members use it to check inventory at other locations and place orders. These investments add up to a better, faster, more convenient experience wherever their customers are.
A well-known retailer headquartered in Ohio, Macy’s is a standout among the more traditional department store formats who successfully weathered the retail storm by incorporating more digital assets into the customer experience. They’ve made significant investment in their app for easier product discovery and checkout, and they’ve also invested in smart fitting rooms in-store complete with wall-mounted tablets for customers or associates to scan items for availability across locations.
Another feature of the in-room tech allows a shopper to “complete the look” with access to reviews and product recommendations. The investment to scale their omnichannel experience shows in the numbers: their digital sales were up 12% in 2021 and were up 36% over 2019.
Meijer is a leading grocer in the Midwest. They offer food, clothing, electronics, home goods, toys, and a broad selection of craft beer, wine, and liquor. Talk about one-stop shopping. As a loyal Meijer customer, I have their app and I am an mPerks loyalty member. Their in-app functionality directly affects the omnichannel customer experience.
Each week I “clip” digital coupons based on my purchases (personalization), with the option of curbside pickup or delivery. One of my favorite features on the app is all my receipts are stored by date, and I have a clear picture of how much I’ve saved over a time to the cent. If for some reason I need to return an item I don’t need to find a paper receipt, the app recalls it for me. Notice how clean and personalized the interface is; their physical stores mirror this aesthetic down to the color palette and coupon layout.
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As an avid outdoors fan, REI is the place to go for everything I need to enjoy myself with the best equipment, developed by people who’ve been there. By joining the co-op for a nominal fee, I’m a lifetime member with exclusive access to discounts and promotions.
With this membership, I feel as if I’m a part of something special. REI takes a clear stance on sustainability and stewardship; for example, they’ve consistently run a social proof campaign at the holidays to encourage people to #get outdoors, instead of shopping on Black Friday. Their stores are closed on the sought-after, controlled chaos of the shopping holiday, to give their employees back the time to enjoy outside. Clearly walking the walk, REI.
Their app offers in-store pickup or cart checkout for ease, and I get a sneak peek at their Garage Sale events for co-op members only. Their blog is worth the time; so many testaments to loving the outdoors, and a full schedule of in-store events and trips designed for all season sports and an active lifestyle. They have a customer for life. The level of omnichannel customer service is well balanced from in-store experts to chat, to a dedicated customer service number, depending on customer preference.
Retailing behemoth Target continues to go all in on the omnichannel experience with exceptional results. Their Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) usage increased exponentially during the height of pandemic restrictions (nearly 500%) and has remained a top priority for the retailer. Customers enjoy the convenience of ordering basics online and having the order fulfilled and loaded into their car by Target team members in under 2 hours from time of order placement. BOPIS is seen as a safer option for customers who have limited physical capabilities and may not be able to lift heavier items into a vehicle without injury. A win for accessibility for all.
A global luxury jeweler since 1998, Romania-based Teilor needed more of an omnichannel experience to connect with customers given pandemic restrictions. The traditional in-store experience had to be rethought. Elastic Path was eager to help them transition the experience with the expertise of systems integration partner Orium, formerly Myplanet.
Managing three child brands across numerous catalogs, and expansion into multiple locations required a simplification of sorts onto a single platform using Elastic Path Pre-Composed Solutions (™) for a quick launch.
Read their case study for more of the Teilor omnichannel story.
You may have heard of this beauty giant in the retail space, offering live demos from hair and makeup stylists. What I love about the app experience is how I can get the same treatment from wherever. They have a virtual beauty assistant of sorts, where I snap a pic with my phone and see how a bronzer or lip gloss shade will look on me prior to purchase. It’s like being in-store without messy testers. I can schedule an appointment at my nearest location, and as you can see from the screen grab, they keep me informed of my purchase history across channels.
I know many have mixed feelings on phone carriers, but I do enjoy the Verizon in-app and in-store omnichannel experiences in equal parts. The few times I’ve been in a store, I’ve had great service and not felt pushed to buy add-ons I don’t need. That might be luck, but for the in-app experience it’s been consistently helpful and easy. From the app I can manage and order existing and new devices, chat with the help desk, get deals and offers, and make changes to my account like Auto Pay.
A particular feature has also strangely pleased me. In my settings I can set a name of what I like to be called. It’s touching (and a prime example of personalization), to open the app and see first thing, “Hi, Em.” Well done, Verizon. You got me.
16. Dick's Sporting Goods
With about 600 stores in the eastern U.S., Dick’s also owns Golf Galaxy, and operates specialty stores True Runner and Field & Stream. Where Dick’s gets their omnichannel wins are through the in-store experience in how they equip their team members. Referred to as an “endless aisle” experience, associates have handheld devices to assist shoppers with real time inventory and product information.
17. Sierra Trading Post
If you know this company, much like another name in their retail family, TJ Maxx, you probably know that its shoppers are price-conscious. It’s a key driver in their value proposition. To deliver on this proposition just as items are tagged in store with a comparison price, the same information is available for online shoppers. Additionally they offer Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS), consistent pricing across channels, a shared cart across devices, and three ways to contact customer service: phone, email, or chat.
They’ve essentially written the book on omnichannel experience and making the path to purchase as seamless as possible across channels, and while they were at it, revolutionized the way we access and purchase music.
From talking to an expert live in-store, to chatting online and purchasing for contactless delivery, they’ve reimagined the commerce experience. They were industry leaders in launching Apple physical locations that allow customers to interact with their products live before purchase - Apple stores set the bar for in-store discovery. After initially browsing and asking questions, shoppers are free to either purchase in-store or complete the purchase from any device.
As long as we’re talking about behemoths, I’d be remiss not to include Amazon. They’ve set the bar for eCommerce best practices, but have not let the in-store experience fall by the wayside given there is appetite for it. With their Amazon Go stores they’ve expanded the physical store to connect with the online experience by enabling zero contact checkout.
For those Whole Foods shoppers, in-store checkout is connected to your Amazon account to access discounts and create more opportunities for personalization with product discovery. You may have also seen Amazon pop-up stores in airports and shopping centers using the Amazon Go model, for those busy travelers on the go. As omnichannel experiences become more relevant due to customer demand, look to Amazon as a thought leader in the space.
This is by no means a complete list, but it does give you an idea of how much the best omnichannel retailers (big and small) are investing in omnichannel. It’s no longer a nice to have, but a must to stay competitive. Looking for more insights? Check out our guide to Implementing an Omnichannel Strategy.
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