To win customer loyalty today, you must provide a compelling customer experience that merges the physical and digital worlds. Why is it important? Multichannel customers spend three to four times more than single-channel customers.

But many companies have not dramatically changed their business processes and technologies to adjust to this reality.

Multichannel marketing is best understood as an operating model in which all of your channels are aligned so that you present a single face to the customer: a consistent, channel-independent way of doing business. This strategy replaces the many views of the customer with a unified view, enabling you to anticipate and proactively respond in a reliable, dependable way to customers’ ever-changing needs and higher expectations.

Embrace a true multichannel marketing strategy

Because customers have more choices and more power, you’ll need new approaches and capabilities. You need to be ready, wherever your customers may want to engage with you.

Here are four multichannel strategies you can employ to make it easy for your customers to engage, buy and be loyal to you:

Optimize your brand’s digital presence. Make sure you are continuously optimizing web pages and A/B testing everything. Simply put, A/B testing compares two options in an empirical way to determine which is more effective. By testing various hypotheses, you can gather real data about customer behavior and then quickly make the changes to improve performance across digital touch points. The goal of A/B testing is an improved customer experience.

Don’t underestimate the power of mobile. You should also consider all the ways customers are reaching your site and optimize your pages accordingly. The mobile web has strengthened brands’ ability to connect and reach consumers at any time of the day. Want to connect better with your mobile customers? Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Encourage shoppers to scan products via your mobile app while brick-and-mortar shopping. Your annual digital plan should focus heavily on mobile as you seek to close the gap between store, desktop and mobile.
  • Another way to enhance your mobile focus is to deploy in-store touch-screen shopping options to let customers self-checkout or perform simple but critical tasks like price checks and item availability.
  • Some big retailers have adopted a multichannel strategy that centers on adding a “store pickup” mobile app as part of their online shopping options to enhance the brick-and-mortar experience.

Leverage analytics to improve customer engagement. Data management will allow you to create a unified platform, and analytics will enable you to create, maintain and act upon a single view of the customer across all your channels. These technologies will help you support a continuous dialogue across the customer decision journey to:

  • Create richer customer profiles based on online and store data so you can make customer-specific offers.
  • Optimize each customer interaction by seeing the variables that provide a more successful outcome for you and your customer.
  • Automate your multichannel campaigns to make them more trackable and repeatable.

Optimize your content for context and strategic intent. Your customers enter your store with all of your content (and that of your competitors) ensconced in their smartphones. And, more importantly, content from others about you in the form of reviews, tweets and other social media. You should optimize your content for context and strategic intent with a goal of enhancing the value of every customer interaction, and supporting a wide range of tactics to address branding, customer experience and performance objectives. This will help your customers to eliminate the noise and focus on relevant, pertinent content that truly aids them in their buying journey.

Customer Experience Rules!

Customer experience is fast becoming a key differentiator for competitive businesses. In fact, Deloitte reports that 92 percent of organizations that view customer experience as a differentiator offer multiple contact channels. To win, organizations must profitably shape the path to purchase and brand loyalty by embracing this new multichannel reality and gaining a detailed understanding of each customer’s journey.

To this end, successful customer experience leaders are the ones who view data, analytics and technologies as a unified digital business capability – to mirror the customer expectations of a unified relationship with the company, regardless of channels.

This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of Direct Marketing.

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Wilson Raj

Wilson Raj is the Global Director of Customer Intelligence at SAS. His responsibilities include collaborating with industry leaders, customers, alliances, sales, marketing and product teams to establish, evolve and evangelize SAS’s growth strategy for analytics-driven marketing capabilities.

With twenty years of experience in multiple industries, Raj has built data-driven brand value, engagement, and loyalty through expertise in integrating advertising, digital marketing, social media, multi-channel relationship marketing and public relations. He has held global leadership positions in marketing at Fortune Global 500® companies such as Microsoft, Novell. Medtronic, Philips, Ameritech (now AT&T Midwest). He also served in digital strategy roles at Publicis and also at VML and Wunderman—as part of Young & Rubicam Group at WPP.

Raj holds a B.A. in English and an M.B.A. from Brigham Young University, and a Certificate-in-Education from the Institute of Education in Singapore.

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