There is no such thing as an omnichannel shopper
The term omnichannel is increasingly being banded around in the marketing ecosystem and consistently heralded as the number one strategy that brands and retailers need to adopt if they are going to build a more meaningful relationship with their customer.
Whilst this is arguably an effective strategy that forces organisations to evaluate the extent to which they are able to interact with their customers in a meaningful manner, and assess whether they need to invest in widening their digital footprint, it simply doesn’t go far enough.
Just because you have an active presence across a number of key channels and touchpoints, it doesn’t mean you are operating a successful omnichannel strategy, or that you ‘know’ who your customers are.
The key to success lies in the quality of the data and insight you have and how you utilise it to improve the experience your customers have when they interact with you. If you are unable to identify the specific needs of your customers your ability to extract the maximum potential value out of the channels you operate will fall flat.
Let’s not forget, the customer journey is not linear, it’s incredibly dynamic and can’t be predetermined either. Every customer will have different priorities and be influenced in different ways.
At the same time customers are typically not loyal to any particular channel and in a retail context are highly unlikely to identify themselves as being anything other than a shopper.
The concept of “the omnichannel shopper” is therefore a misleading term, which only serves to highlight a true lack of understanding about the individual relationship between a shopper and a retailer.
It may describe certain behaviours and how shoppers interact with brands but it doesn’t help explain the reasons behind the decisions they make. Nor does it change the ultimate reason for that interaction, they want to buy a specific set of items, at a particular time in the most convenient way possible and that’s the critical point.
Your omnichannel strategy should be able to positively influence the individual journey of every customer that interacts with you at any time during the purchase lifecycle. It shouldn’t define it or silo your thinking or approach. Customers don’t think that way, so why should you? If you are unable to identify each customer’s specific need then the tools you have in your armoury are not going to be able to add any value to their experience.
But why is this so important?
In the highly competitive retail landscape, businesses that adopt personalisation strategies are the big winners. It’s therefore crucial that retailers start to think beyond labelling their customers or trying to define them by their own set of rules.
Customers are customers and shoppers are shoppers. Sure the way they make their decisions or purchases may have changed but the transaction process hasn’t. There is still an emotion behind it, especially when clothes are concerned.