2024 is the Year of the Omnichannel Customer Experience
Consumer spending, especially online and in particular via mobile devices, hit record highs during the 2023 holiday season. But are retailers ready to ride this momentum into 2024?
One recent study found that 73 percent of customers are likely to switch to a competitor after just one poor experience. Especially during the new year, when consumers are setting budgets and when competition between retailers is fierce, you can’t afford to lose a single customer. With this in mind, retailers need a solution that unifies everything from in-store experiences to personalized online shopping recommendations — thereby increasing the chances of delivering a seamless customer experience and securing future customer loyalty. On the flip side, retailers that aren’t already offering consumers an omnichannel experience are at risk of getting left behind in this new year.
To succeed in 2024, retailers need to prepare — and stick to — a few New Year’s resolutions:
Meet Customers Where They Are
Retailers can use omnichannel tactics to personalize the way they reach customers. Text messaging and email enable consistent digital engagement that can complement ad spots or the presence of brick-and-mortar stores. Interestingly, SMS is currently underutilized, even though texts have six times the conversion rate as compared to email. Demographics also play a role in understanding how brands can best connect with their customers. For instance, Gen Z widely prefers communicating via social media or other digital means, while older generations are more likely to prefer mailers or speaking to human representatives. If retailers ignore channel preferences and don’t meet customers where they are, they sacrifice stickiness and longevity in the customer journey.
Real-time recommendations can keep customers coming back for more. For instance, location data can allow you to serve up suggestions based on purchases made by other users in the area. While shopping in person, a user can open the store’s app and receive personalized recommendations catered to the store they're physically standing in. This omnichannel strategy allows for separate experiences to be unified into one holistic experience, no matter where a consumer chooses to shop. Furthermore, past clicks can feed into “if you liked” recommendations, which build on a journey the customer has already taken, while generative artificial intelligence can scale personalized recommendations to the next level.
With the right omnichannel solutions, retailers can tailor their approaches based on consumer data. Retailers that track trends in segment spending habits and behavior can understand and predict where demand will be, enabling them to fine-tune inventory and staffing to meet the needs of their customers.
What’s more, when using data gathered across the customer journey to predict what a consumer may want, organizations have seen a 65 percent increase in clickthrough rate. This level of understanding gets retailers ahead of future stress so they can focus on staying competitive in the new year.
With these resolutions in mind for an omnichannel approach, retailers can create extraordinary shopping experiences that stand out in 2024. Retailers and consumers alike will be able to reach a mutual end goal: a completed purchase, a positive experience, and the beginning of a loyal relationship.
Mark Smith is senior vice president of customer experience at CSG, a leader in innovative customer engagement, revenue management and payments solutions.
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As senior vice president of customer experience at CSG, a leader in innovative customer engagement, revenue management and payments solutions, Mark Smith helps businesses make ordinary customer experiences extraordinary. Smith is an industry pioneer regarding the analytics of customer behavior and orchestration of customer journeys.
Mark is a CX veteran with 20-plus years of global experience in marketing applications and analytical CRM. He founded Quadstone, the first data mining company to focus explicitly on the analytics of customer behavior, and later Kitewheel, a leading provider for customer journey orchestration and analytics.