With the global adoption of mobile devices, expansion of IoT, and dynamic behavior of customer buying habits, it’s become more important than ever for brands to take a holistic, interconnected approach to their customer’s digital experiences.
An omnichannel approach enables businesses to deliver consistent, frictionless, and more convenient user experiences by interconnecting every customer touchpoint. To scale and stay competitive, companies need to ensure they’re meeting customers where they are, on the devices they use, and are delivering consistent messaging. Many businesses have taken the first step and adopted a multi-channel approach to engage with customers across a myriad of channels such as web or mobile. Where omnichannel differs from a multi-channel approach, is that with a multi-channel approach, each touchpoint is launched, managed, and optimized in silos.
Given the unique nature of today’s consumer, it’s vital that companies break down the silos and adopt an omnichannel strategy, whether that’s to build new customer relationships or maintain the current ones.
Speaking from personal experience, the easier it is for me to access my accounts, make purchases, manage settings, and engage with support, the happier I am. With so much technology available today, I expect to be able to do this in a manner that is the most convenient and comfortable to me.
According to the Aberdeen group, “companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement.”
Below is a list of prime omnichannel examples from eight renown brands across a variety of industries to give you an idea of how you can adapt an omnichannel strategy to your business. While some of the most noticeable are from companies you probably come across day-to-day, it’s important to highlight that you don’t need to be a B2C retailer to adopt an omnichannel strategy, or that you have to focus on the customer-facing experience to have an omnichannel approach impact your business’ bottom line.
- Starbucks & Dunkin Donuts
- Bank of America
- Zurich Insurance Group
Disney, despite being one of the world’s biggest multimedia and entertainment conglomerates, has been able to build deep, personal connections with their customers. By staying on top of today’s digital trends, focusing on the customer experience, and not sweating the small details, they’ve been able to create a global brand that people of all ages enjoy and feel an affiliation towards.
As a 30-year-old Disney fan myself, who recently attended a wine night with friends to watch the new Mulan film, I personally am a great example of just how well the brand has been able to stay connected with an older (slightly) generation.
Their omnichannel experience starts with the Disney website, which is mobile-responsive and optimized for every device, browser, and operating system. Once a Disney trip is booked, visitors can carry their travel plans over to a mobile app, the My Disney Experience App. This allows visitors to buy tickets, organize day-to-day plans, order food and beverages for a contactless dining experience, reserve tables, ask support questions, or use a virtual map to find attractions as well their wait times.
In 2016 they introduced their Magic Band Program, which allows park visitors to enter the park, manage their fast pass, check in, and unlock their hotel room. With such a truly interconnected, seamless digital experience, they are one of the top omnichannel experience examples.
I haven’t been to a Disney Park in years but can say I’m ecstatic for the opportunity to try these out the next time I go.
Starbucks & Dunkin Donuts
This new approach allows both Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts to connect with customers at a more granular, personal level and drive a more convenient user experience through loyalty programs and various, expedited payment options.
Coffee drinkers can place their order in-advance and pick up in-store, on-the-go without having to wait in line. With each order, customers can collect points to later trade for perks such as free coffee or discounts on food.
For those who do end up standing in line, customers can choose to either pay through the app, a reloadable virtual card that stores money, or scan a unique QR code connected to their loyalty ID before handing the cashier a physical card or cash. The latter ensures customers can still collect points for future rewards.
The mobile app not only gives customers a more seamless, convenient experience, but it also gives both businesses the opportunity to market drinks, deals, and discounts to their customers, and gives them the flexibility to meet new challenges, like those COVID imposed. Both Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts were able to successfully introduce contactless checkout and curbside pickup during the pandemic to allow for a safer customer experience.
One retailer who also doubled down on adding a mobile experience to their omnichannel mix is Stance, a highly popular American sock, underwear, and T-shirt brand. Stance recognized the need to improve their in-store customer experience by cutting down on long lines and wait times and realized they could solve the issue by enabling customers to checkout themselves.
Instead of building a designated app, Stance built and launched a web-based self-checkout experience that users could access through their smartphone, without having to download anything. Given the number of apps I have on my phone (some of which are native and you can’t get rid of no matter how hard you try), I can fully appreciate the thought Stance put into their shopper’s experience and the approach they took to enabling mobile-self-checkout.
Sephora, a leading beauty brand, seamlessly connects customers in-store with their online shopping cart, Sephora’s Beauty Bag, through well-placed tablets.
Accessing their online account on-the spot, in-store, allows customers to look up product details, add products to their wish list, and purchase whichever they desire. Customers shopping at home can download the Sephora app and virtually try on hundreds of the brand’s makeup products with one of the world’s newest, “try-before-you-buy” experience.
Sephora offers such a wide array of products to choose from so it’s that they enable customers to find the product that fits their personal style. The brand realized early on just how important it was to integrate their consumer channels to improve their customer’s experience and scale their success and adopted an omnichannel approach. number of apps I have on my phone (some of which are native and you can’t get rid of no matter how hard you try), I can fully appreciate the thought Stance put into their shopper’s experience and the approach they took to enabling mobile-self-checkout.
Another good omnichannel ecommerce example is the digital pharmaceutical experience that Walgreens built for their customers. They realized that a vast number of their customers were shopping and accessing their store and products on mobile devices. To deliver a more convenient pharmacy experience, they launched a mobile product that enables customers to refill their prescriptions by scanning the bar code on their medication with their smartphone camera.
Customers can also access their prescription history, easily change pick-up locations, and set a pick-up time. While not groundbreaking, it’s a great example of how pharmacies can and should be thinking about how to improve their customer experiences.
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Bank of America
Banking is yet another industry that has been forced to undergo a drastic digital makeover in the last few decades, with Bank of America as one of the top brands leading the pack. Trust is critical in building brand relationships, especially where customer’s finances are involved, and Bank of America has stepped up its omnichannel development to meet those needs.
Their secure mobile and desktop apps allow customers to digitally deposit checks, send recurring checks without having to physically write them, check account statuses, manage transfers and book appointments – all without having to get on the phone or go in-person. It wasn’t too long ago when people still had to walk to an ATM to deposit their paychecks. It was an inconvenient experience, but how else were you supposed to get your money?
With this omnichannel strategy in place, Bank of America customers can bank on their time, at their convenience.
In case anyone is curious, some banks today still actually use pneumatic tubes. For those who don’t know, it’s the banking version of a drive through where you pull up in your car, put your paperwork, cash, or checks, in a small container that then shoots through a tube to a desk clerk inside the bank who will then complete your objective.
Zurich Insurance Group
The last omnichannel example I’ll share is that of the Zurich Insurance Group, as the experience they built is less focused on the customer-facing experience as it on the experience of their internal staff.
The Zurich Insurance Group is a global insurance company based in Switzerland that offers a variety of general, property, and life insurance products and solutions for everyone from individuals to multi-national corporations.
The company’s agents in Portugal had previously been using a monolithic, outdated system to manage policies and claims, handle receipts, and deal with customer information. It was a clunky and difficult system that inevitably hindered Zurich Insurance Group from being able to hire and onboard new agents.
They ended up building an online portal, dedicated to improving the agent’s experience. The portal can be accessed on any device, including an app built for both smartphones and tablets. The new portal can quickly give company employees a complete view of their customer’s activities, send automatic notifications, and even leverages the new fingerprint scanning security feature.
As a result, the Zurich Insurance Group ended up seeing a sharp uptick in policy business and were able to improve employee satisfaction.
This is a great example of how leveraging an interconnected omnichannel digital solution to consolidate data and improve sales and internal employee experiences can be just as important to a business as ensuring the customer experience is flawless. At the end of the day, it also means that customers get faster, more accurate service, which is something everyone wants.