Amongst the regularly charting hot topics for our friendly eCommerce Directors - PPC, SEO and customer acquisition - we often hear cries for knowledge that will help to solve the mystery of the ultimate brand experience. According to Denise Lee Yohn, great brands are those that work hard at closing the gap between the real and the ideal brand experience, so that different channels (text, eCommerce site, mobile app or social media) all communicate through one unified voice, and are all considered as parts of a whole.
This is referred to as Omni-channel, as we know.
Simply put, Omni-channel highlights the undeniable importance of facilitating ever-connected consumers, wherever they are, in a seamless way. We try to add some texture to the term by referring to it as 'the united nation of retail' way of thinking, versus the 'I run the shop' and 'you manage the online space' mindset of the past.
Ultimately giving way to a stronger overall brand identity.
Importantly, it's no longer about businesses waiting for people to come knocking on their doors, but reaching out to the people in the most personalised, and appropriate ways for them.
It's extremely valuable for a brand or business to set up in a way that lets its employees think and act collectively on behalf of customers, yet rarer than it should be.
So what's holding them back?
A greater sense of consistency means that a more meaningful relationship can be forged with the customer ... This is built on an overarching understanding of how customers interact with brands including:
- The multitude of accessible channels and tendency of consumers to shift between them to perform different tasks
- The expectance of a consistent brand experience across all channels
- Jennifer Bowden, TNW Magazine.
The greatest experiences then, we can safely conclude, are those that consider the unique and desirable attributes of each channel for the consumer, and seek the most useful opportunities to promote across channels to the consumer, whilst ensuring a seamless transition between them AKA promoting social through texting, and the website through social engagement etc.
Thorough research conducted by Ebay early this year revealed that the most savvy retailers were those that understood the complimentary nature of their online and offline brand. They highlighted the importance for retailers to think about where their customers are and how best to take the opportunity to shop, to them.
The devil is in the detail.
It comes down to consistency in every sense of the word - how it looks, how it feels and how products are priced and delivered.
These components forge consumers unique experience and perception of a brand and it's that unique experience that must be translated through all of the channels they choose to engage their consumers through.
Folk Co-Founder, Joanna Cruickshanks began her career on the retail side of business, and brings her experience into what we now deliver to clients...
When it comes to the 'how' of translating our in-store excellence online, we must first know our purpose.
Our purpose, our passion, our mantra - whatever we call it - this is essentially what defines the excellence that we offer our consumers, and this should guide the 'how'.
Is it that you're passionate about a range of choice, particular colour ways, tailoring details, or that your products all echo one particular style?
It's important to take time to really plot out what constitutes that uniqueness about your brand.
Then, and only then, can you determine what it is that needs to be translated into a digital experience.
In the same way, a consistent approach to translating your brand into multi-channel is dependent on a deep understanding of your 'why?'.
We believe if you take the time to truly understand why you do what you do, you will create one experience across any variety of channels, effortlessly.
Because all of your ideas come from one central source, they come more naturally, rather than having to conjure up different ideas for different channels.
The problem-free transition Net-A-Porter demonstrated moving into the 'physical' realm with their shoppable magazine, Porter, is a great example.
In order to craft a consistent customer journey across channels, we must create one united experience that enables consumers to shop with ease, at speed, and through the most useful means.
We recognise that every touchpoint is an opportunity to connect with a consumer, and you should too.
But big changes like Omni-channel can only happen with the vision to change it.
Leadership is not something that's taught, it's a quality we all need a little encouragement to discover within ourselves.
So, if you want to experience the inspiration necessary to help you draw out your capacity for leadership and cultivating change, join us at Fibre.
More information and tickets available from www.fibre2014.uk