Omnichannel marketing is still far from omnipresent

disciplines nMarketers might talk a good game on omnichannel marketing but few are actually cracking it, with a new Gartner study warning that half of even the biggest global firms are failing to unify engagement channels, resulting in a disjointed and siloed customer experience that lacks context.

Gartner, which is now urging companies to deliver frictionless omnichannel experiences to further drive digital commerce, insists that businesses also need to offer more than simply buying online, in-store pickup and pavement pickup to enable a truly seamless experience for selling, serving, fulfilling and delivering.

Despite many consumers moving online to purchase goods during Covid lockdowns, the perceived benefit of in-person shopping remains strong.

According to Gartner’s Digital Commerce for Marketing Leaders 2021 research, businesses that have wide-reaching store footprints are well-positioned to offer frictionless omnichannel experiences.

Those without a bricks-and-mortar presence can still tap into the benefits of frictionless omnichannel experiences by partnering with third parties, Gartner suggests, but marketers must focus on a number of areas when collaborating with other leaders and optimising their 2021 strategy.

– Feature fulfillment options: Highlight customers’ fulfillment options clearly within the purchase journey to increase overall sales. For example, allow customers to choose between in-store pickup and drive-up pavement pickup for goods, with clear instructions linked from product detail pages.

– Incentivise omnichannel sales: Test thresholds for incentivising omnichannel sales, such as offering a gift card to encourage customers to buy online and pick up in-store or from click and collect hubs. This also has the added benefit of alleviating shipping pressures when completing a purchase.

– Ensure consistent messaging: Work with customer service leaders to ensure that messaging is consistent for customers when switching among channels, including social networks, chatbots and contact centres.

– Integrate digital inventory: Partner with supply chain leaders to push for better integration of inventory across digital touchpoints to show available inventory per store location. This informs buying decisions from any channel.

– Prioritise partnerships: Select partnerships that extend frictionless omnichannel shopping, including online marketplaces, especially where first-party options are limited.

Gartner Marketing practice principal analyst Matt Moorut said: “Frictionless omnichannel commerce provides consistent, streamlined experiences across channels throughout the customer journey, and this has increased in importance since the outbreak of the pandemic.

“It allows organisations to not only provide customers with more purchase and fulfillment options, but also enable customers to quickly switch engagement methods in case of channel disruption. This enables marketing leaders to better protect business-critical revenue streams.”

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